Though it isn’t exactly a marquee matchup, Wednesday’s would-be game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox is an event baseball fans across the country would’ve circled on their calendars.
Canada Day is usually a time for fans to pack the Rogers Centre, watch the Blue Jays don unique jerseys and celebrate our nation’s birthday.
Despite the lack of baseball this year, let’s take a look back at the Blue Jays’ statistical highs and lows on the holiday (with a major assist from Sportsnet Stats).
.182: Why should MLB’s lone Canadian team play on the road for Canada Day? I don’t have the answer for that, but their road win percentage speaks for itself. Toronto hasn’t played a July 1 game away from home since 2010, mind you, so perhaps the schedulers figured it out. Here’s the weird part: the Blue Jays’ two biggest blowout wins in Canada Day history (2004, 14-0 over Tampa Bay; 2005, 15-2 over Boston) came on the road. Go figure.
.366: The Blue Jays’ overall Canada Day win percentage is substantially better than their road mark. But that’s really not saying much. And it’s still well below their franchise win percentage (.495), quelling any theory that an influx of red-and-white garb breeds success.
2: What if I told you the Blue Jays have had two complete games in Canada Day history — and both guys lost! First it was Jim Clancy in 1980, with six hits, a walk and two earned runs allowed against the Orioles. Eight years later, Dave Stieb had an eerily similar line (same number of hits, walks and earned runs allowed) against the Athletics that yielded the same result. Kill the win.
4: Jesse Barfield isn’t the only Blue Jay to tally four hits on Canada Day — there have been six, in fact — but only Barfield did so without recording an out. In a 1984 win over Oakland, Barfield went 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double, four RBIs and three runs scored. He came up in the seventh inning with a chance at the cycle and hit the go-ahead homer instead. Oops.
19: Though not their longest game by time, the Blue Jays’ 2016 Canada Day bout with Cleveland tied a franchise record by lasting 19 innings. It took six hours and 13 minutes for the Indians to emerge with a 2-1 victory, which at one point included 12 consecutive scoreless innings. Toronto infielder Darwin Barney served as the team’s 10th pitcher of the game and allowed a solo shot in the 19th to take the loss. It was the only pitching performance of his career.
41: If the 2020 season actually happens, it’ll mark the 44th year of Blue Jays baseball. There have been 41 Canada Day games for Toronto, so any math wizard out there knows we’ve had a baseball-less holiday before. The players’ strike in the summer of 1981 was one culprit, while the cause of the 1993 Canada Day absence is unknown (though it appears to be a Thursday off-day in a road trip). Then, of course, there’s 2020. Baseball is dearly missed — perhaps even more on Canada Day. Hopefully it never has to be this way again.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and Sportsnet Stats.