Toronto Blue Jays

1977 – Present

Created in the 1976 American League expansion draft, the Blue Jays won their inaugural game amid snow flurries on April 7, 1977, as Doug Ault hit two home runs. The Jays finished last in each of their first five seasons while building a strong franchise with young talent. Future stars like George Bell (1987 AL MVP) and Willie Upshaw were acquired through the major league draft and Tom Henke (1987 AL saves leader) was acquired in the free-agent compensation pool. Jesse Barfield (1986 AL home run champ), Dave Stieb (1985 AL ERA leader), Tony Fernandez (Gold Glove shortstop 1986-87), and Jimmy Key (1987 AL ERA leader) came up quickly through the farm system. The Blue Jays played their home games in Exhibition Stadium – a converted football field – until June 19, 1989, when they moved into the extravagant and ultra-modern SkyDome. The appointment of Cito Gaston as manager spurred the team to the 1989 division title.