He wasn’t here for a long time, but he was here for a good time. When Josh Donaldson played for the Toronto Blue Jays, he was one of the best to ever to put on the uniform.
Although he only played in Toronto for three-plus seasons, the Bringer of Rain owns the second highest slugging percentage in franchise history and the second highest OPS in franchise history. Only Carlos Delgado owns better career numbers as a Blue Jay in those two categories.
Donaldson was like a comet that shot through the Blue Jays organization; he burned brilliant for a short period, but then he was gone almost as quickly as he arrived. Here are some of his best plays, in no particular order, as a Blue Jay:
1. The Donaldson Dash (2016)
This is the quintessential Donaldson moment. Not only did it take a tremendous about of baseball IQ to pull off this play, it too sheer guts.
During Game 3 of the 2016 ALDS, Russell Martin grounded into an innocent-looking double play. But as Mitch Moreland bobbled the ball at first base, Donaldson saw an opportunity and made the mad dash for home.
He was called safe and the Blue Jays punched their ticket to the ALCS for the second consecutive season.
2. Donaldson’s dive into the stands (2015)
Again, this is the type of play only a handful of defenders attempt, let alone pull off. As Marco Estrada was in the midst of throwing a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays, Donaldson gave up his body and dove into the stands to haul in this pop-up.
Miraculously, he came up with the ball and even more impressively, he didn’t hurt himself hurling himself into the first two rows.
3. JD’s daring score on a short fly ball (2015)
There’s a bit of a theme going on here. Typically, it’s against baseball code to attempt to tag up and score on an extremely shallow fly ball. Donaldson is definitely wired differently; he takes risks other baseball players don’t and therefore he makes plays that most others can only dream of.
Troy Tulowitzki barely hit a ball out of the infield, but Donaldson saw this as an opportunity to challenge Jason Kipnis’ arm and he barely dove past the catcher Yan Gomes. It’s like JD was Neo and he played baseball in “The Matrix”.
4. Donaldson walks off the Rays at home (2015)
The final home game of the regular season – that may have been when Donaldson cemented his status as the Most Valuable Player in the American League that year.
With the game tied, in the bottom of the ninth, the Donaldson delivered a walk-off home run in front of a sold-out crowd at the Rogers Centre. His teammates practically undressed him at home plate in celebration of the Blue Jays’ 90th win of the 2015 season.
5. Donaldson’s home run hat trick (2016)
Only 17 players in Toronto Blue Jays franchise history have hit three or more home runs in a single game. JD is one of the very few to go yard three times in one game and get showered with hats on the field.
It was the end of August of 2016 as the Jays played the Minnesota Twins and Donaldson was on fire that game. In total, he collected three home runs that day, drew a walk, and drove in four runs en route to the Blue Jays’ 9-6 win.