Thursday, April 14, 2011

Toronto Professional Baseball

1. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs were a minor league baseball club that played from 1896 to 1967.

Maple Leaf Stadium (opened 1927) was located at the corner of Bathurst and Lakeshore Blvd.

The cover below from the Toronto Maple Leaf Baseball Club was mailed in 1950 to the Postmaster General, Canberra, Australia:

Toronto to Canberra, March 11, 1950
50 cents paying the double weight step to Australia

In 1950, the AAA International League Maple Leafs had a 60 and 90 season. On May 7, 1950, the Maple Leafs made history by playing in Toronto's first ever sporting evening to be played on a Sunday. Almost 18,000 fans watched the home team lose both games of a double header.

1950 Maple Leafs Programme

One of the notable players on the Maple Leafs 1950 squad was 21 year-old right-handed pitcher Steve Ridzik who went on to play 12 major league seasons finishing his career with a 39-38 record.

The team was sold the following year to Jack Kent Cook. Under Cooke's ownership, the Leafs were one of the top franchises of the International League, leading the league in attendance every year from 1952–1956. In 1960, the pennant-winning Leafs won 100 games with a league-record 32 shutouts. Future Baseball Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson joined the team in 1960 as a middle infielder. In 1964, at the age of 30, Anderson accepted Cooke's offer to manage the Leafs. Cooke sold the team in 1964. Despite consecutive championship seasons in 1965 and 1966 under another future Baseball Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams, attendance was dropping and team was losing money. At the end of the 1967 season moved to Louisville, Kentucky. Toronto was without professional baseball from 1968–1976.

2. Toronto Blue Jays

Professional baseball returned to Toronto in 1977 with the Blue Jays, an American League expansion team. Roy Hartsfield, pictured on the Texaco advertising card below, was the team's first manager. The card was mailed from Dunedin, Florida, "winter home of the Toronto Blue Jays", a few days before the first pitch was to be thrown at Exhibition Stadium.

Roy Hartsfield was a successful manager at top levels of minor league baseball before he was hired as the first Blue Jays' manager. Hartsfield managed the Jays from 1977 to 1979.

Dunedin to Don Mills, April 1, 1977

The Blue Jays played their first game on April 7, 1977, against the Chicago White Sox ,winning 9-5. Fans will never forget the minor snowstorm that began prior to the game.

1978 Pre-season Mailing

The cover below contained ticket order information for the 1978 season.

Toronto, January 13, 1978
6 cents bulk mail rate

1978 Ticket Prices:

$6.50 for the best seats in the house!

Exhibition Stadium : Home of the Blue Jays 1977 -1989

In 1989, the Blue Jays moved from Exhibition stadium to Skydome, a park with a retractable roof. The next five years would be the most successful in Jays history, culminating in World Series victories in 1992 and 1993.

Canada Post helped celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Blue Jays with the release of a 47 cent commemorative stamp on April 9, 2001.

CL cachet

Toronto to Huntsville, May 22, 2001
47 cents domestic letter rate

3. Major League Baseball All-Star Game 1991

The 1991 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was held on July 9, 1991 at Skydome, Toronto. The American League defeated the National League 4-2.

Colorano "Silk" cachets
Toronto, July 9, 1991

4. World Series Victories : 1992 and 1993


 The Toronto Blue Jays won their first World Series championship in 1992, defeating the Atlanta Braves four games to two.

Game 3, October 20, 1992

Game 4, October 21, 1992

 Game 5, October 22, 1992

The Blue Jays won the final game of the World Series 4-2 in eleven innings in Atlanta on October 24, 1992.


The Blue Jays triumphed again in 1993, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 4 games to 2.  With Toronto ahead three games to two in the Series, Joe Carter hit a game-winning three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 6 to win the series for Toronto.

Game 1, October 16, 1993

Game 2, October 17, 1993

 Game 6, October 23, 1993

Joe Carter looking at the incoming ball before hitting his amazing walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth, October 23, 1993.