Now that Edwin Encarnacion has moved on greener pastures, signing a three-year deal with the Cleveland Indians, fans of the Blue Jays should take some time and reflect on his many great moments in the seven-plus seasons he spent with the Blue Jays.
The man who was traded to the Blue Jays by the Cincinnati Reds as part of a package for Scott Rolen, and later waived by Jays in 2010, ends his time in Toronto at #3 on the Blue Jays all-time home runs list with 239, behind only Carlos Delgado (336) and Jose Bautista (265).
In celebration of Edwin Encarnacion’s great career as a Toronto Blue Jay, let’s countdown some of his great hits.
The longest home run of Encarnacion’s career came in 2012 as J.P. Howell served up a pitch that left Edwin’s bat at a ridiculous 118.9 mph.
The best part? It was an 80 mph off-speed pitch and he still hit it 488 feet.
Edwin hit the ball so hard, the force of it knocked Howell off the mound.
This home run was the first of many for Encarnacion as a member of the Blue Jays. It’s special because it was his first, but also because it came off the greatest closer of all-time in Mariano Rivera, dead centre into Monument Park at Yankee Stadium against a first place division rival.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
What makes this home run even more impressive is that he did it while wearing one of those horrific Angry Jay uniforms that seemed to be dangerously close to running out of space for his last name.
For most players, hitting 16 home runs constitutes a quality season. When a player hits 16 home runs in a month, your name gets etched into the record books beside the likes of Mickey Mantle.
Encarnacion’s home run binge in May of 2014 also included five multi-homer games. To put his hot streak into context, half of the 32 hits he had in the month went for home runs.
You can’t have a countdown of Edwin’s greatest contributions as a Blue Jay without mentioning the thing that has spawned t-shirts, signs and countless other pieces of merchandise. The Edwing.
Some say it started with a first base coach leaving him hanging after an attempt on a high-five, others say it was born out of an airplane celebration gone wrong, but one thing we all can agree on is that when Edwin takes the parrot for a walk, it means time to celebrate.
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in August of 2015, Edwin Encarnacion gave Toronto fans something that is usually reserved for opposing teams at the Air Canada Centre; a hat trick.
Edwin victimized three Tigers pitchers for three home runs en route to a nine-RBI day as the Blue Jays continued their surge toward their first playoff appearance since 1993.
An inning before that inning when you-know-what happened, Encarnacion ignited a nervous Rogers Centre crowd with a no-doubter off of Rangers hired gun Cole Hamels.
Edwin’s first career post-season home run couldn’t have come at a better time, as the momentum from it carried over into the seventh inning, where the Blue Jays would score four more to take the ALDS over Texas.
Fun fact: I was moving into my house while game five was happening and I knew something had happened because I could hear my next door neighbour screaming from his basement.
Much like most of the home runs on this list, was there ever any doubt?
I can never decide what I like most about this remarkable moment in Blue Jays history. Is it the roar of the crowd? Or Edwin’s reaction knowing what he had just done? Maybe Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold watching as his season gets washed away?
Who am I kidding? It’s definitely Orioles catcher Matt Wieters.