By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Who was the first player to record 1,000 hits as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays?
This is one of those questions that might trick even the most diehard Blue Jays fan.
I think the majority of us who have followed the Blue Jays since the 1980s would say Tony Fernandez. That’s the first name that popped into my head.
But that answer is wrong.
On July 10, 1986, second baseman Damaso Garcia singled in the third inning off Oakland A’s starter Eric Plunk to register his 1,000th hit as a Blue Jay to become the first player to reach that milestone.
When I think about it, that makes sense. Garcia became the Blue Jays’ regular second baseman in 1980 and was the club’s primary leadoff hitter from 1982 through 1985.
Fernandez, on the other hand, didn’t make his big league debut until 1983 and wasn’t the club’s regular shortstop until 1985. He wouldn’t register his 1,000th hit with the Blue Jays until 1990.
For the record, the second Blue Jay to reach 1,000 hits was Lloyd Moseby when he singled off New York Yankees left-hander Dennis Rasmussen in the first inning of a Blue Jays’ 15-14 loss at Exhibition Stadium on June 29, 1987.
In parts of seven seasons with the Blue Jays, Garcia finished with 1,028 hits, which ranks him ninth on the Blue Jays’ all-time list.
Here’s a list of the Blue Jays’ all-time hit leaders:
1. Tony Fernandez, 1,583 hits
2. Vernon Wells, 1,529 hits
3. Carlos Delgado, 1,413 hits
4. Lloyd Moseby, 1,319 hits
5. George Bell, 1,294 hits
6, Jose Bautista, 1,103 hits
7. Shannon Stewart, 1,082 hits
8. Joe Carter, 1,051 hits
9. Damaso Garcia, 1,028 hits
10. Willie Upshaw, 982 hits