Dave Stieb was a undoubtedly key component of the Toronto Blue Jays’ rise up the MLB ranks, delivering many memorable moments during his career.
Stieb was drafted by the Blue Jays in 1979, and subsequently established himself as one of the finest pitchers of his generation.
He still holds the records for wins, starts, innings pitched, shut-outs, strike-outs and complete games with the Blue Jays.
Stieb was renowned for being fiercely competitive and wasn’t helped by the general lack of quality around him during his early years in Toronto.
However, Stieb remained patient and was eventually rewarded as he led the team to their first-ever post-season campaign in 1985.
He was the star of the show in the opening play-off game, pitching eight shut-out innings as Toronto defeated the Kansas City Royals 6-1.
The Royals eventually battled back to win the series 4-3, but Stieb says that the Game 1 victory was the biggest achievement of his career.
“That ranks top because that’ll never change, that’ll never be erased, and it was a one-time opportunity,” he told Betway.
“It was a great achievement, for both the organisation and for me personally.”
While Stieb’s performance against the Royals was truly memorable, many people have argued that it was not his finest moment in MLB.
In September 1990 he pitched the first no-hitter in Blue Jays history, helping the team record a 3-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians 3–0.
He had previously come close to recording no-hitters on four previous occasions, including a couple with two outs and two strikes in the ninth on consecutive starts
However, Stieb believes that it takes plenty of luck to achieve the feat and does not rate it as the standout moment of his illustrious career.
“A lot of great pitchers have never thrown a no-hitter,” he added. “That tells you what kind of luck it takes to throw one.”
“It didn’t make me any greater a pitcher by doing that. Obviously, it says a lot when you contain the game to that degree, but it takes a lot of luck.”
Although Stieb cemented his status as a Blue Jays’ legend, he was ultimately left frustrated as the franchise finally claimed their first World Series title in 1992.
A series of injuries saw his season cut short, and he was forced to watch from the sidelines as Toronto ran out 4-2 winners against the Atlanta Braves.
Despite missing the series Stieb was awarded a winners’ ring, something he says he still cherishes to this day.
“That whole thing was bittersweet, as you can well understand – it was very bitter,” he said.
“The fact that I played all those years, and we finally had a great team that was going to the World Series, and I had to watch – it was hard.
“It was great to get that ring and have a trophy for all those years I played there, but it really stings that I wasn’t able to contribute that year.
“But I’ll never give my ring back. Nope, I’ll take that, thank you.”