Ernie Whitt was one of the most popular players in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays. His development from a marginal prospect into an All-Star backstop paralleled the Blue Jays’ development from a hapless expansion team into a pennant contender. Taken by the Blue Jays in the 1976 expansion draft, Whitt ended up with the longest tenure of any Blue Jay selected. Only Jim Fregosi played more games with the team that selected him than Whitt.
A good defensive catcher and handler of pitchers, Whitt was platooned through most of his career. He became a pull hitter with power, and hit three of the Blue Jays’ major league record ten home runs against Baltimore on September 14, 1987.
Whitt’s injury while trying to break up a double play in the final week of the 1987 season was an important factor in the AL East pennant race. Playing without Whitt, a Michigan native who had played some of his best ball at Tiger Stadium, Toronto lost the pennant to Detroit on the final weekend of the season.