The Toronto Blue Jays home opener is around the corner! On Monday, April 8th the Jays will take to Rogers Centre for the first time this season and in honour of the special day, I thought we could take a look back at the Toronto Blue Jays history that got us here.

Let’s get into it.

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The start of the Blue Jays

exhibition stadium
Image via City of Toronto Archives

The City of Toronto was awarded a franchise in the American League on March 26th, 1976 and on August 12th of that same year, the “Blue Jays” was selected by directors from over 4,000 names and 30,000 entries in a “Name the Team” contest.

While April 8th is opening day, April 7th is the 47th anniversary of when the birds played their first game.

The Blue Jays originally played at Exhibition Stadium where 44,649 fans braved the SNOW for Toronto’s first game against the Chicago White Sox.

Toronto won the match up 9-5.

The Jays started solidifying their stance around 1983 which was the year the Blue Jays finished over .500 for the first time in franchise history with an 89-73 record, ranking 4th place – just nine games out of first.

The SkyDome

On May 28th, 1989, the Blue Jays played their final game at Exhibition Stadium and moved into the brand new SkyDome on June 5th losing a 5-3 meeting with the Milwaukee Brewers.

1992 was the year Toronto made its first World Series appearance taking on the Atlanta Braves.

In the 11th inning of Game 6, Dave Winfield doubled down the left-field line to drive in two runs and when Mike Timlin tossed an Otis Nixon bunt to Joe Carter, the Jays were officially champions for the first time.

The Blue Jays brought back-to-back championships to Canada, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games in 1993.

In Game 6 Toronto was down 6-5 entering the bottom of the 9th but it was Joe Carter that ended the series with a three-run homer to left field.

The, “Touch ‘em all, Joe! You’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life,” quote was made famous by Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek that day.

Rogers Centre and the bat flip 

The year 2000 marked a new millennium and the year Rogers Communications assumed control of the franchise.

It wasn’t until February 2nd, 2005 when the SkyDome was renamed Rogers Centre but according to Rogers Centre, “Structurally, Rogers Centre remains the same today as it was when it opened in 1989 with the exception of several key cosmetic changes over the years.”

While Toronto has yet to win another World Series, there have been some cool moments including one major event that happened at Rogers Centre.

October 14th, 2015 marked the day the Blue Jays defeated the Texas Rangers in the best-of-five Division Series after trailing 2-0.

In the finale, Jose Bautista crushed a three-run homer in the 7th inning to break a 3-3 tie, flipping his bat in what would turn out to be one of the most iconic moments in franchise history.

Well, I don’t know about you this Toronto Blue Jays history lesson has me pretty pumped for the 2024 season! Let’s go Jays!