Toronto Mike

Our Cliff Johnson Passed by Our Matt Stairs


On June 13, 1986, the Jays lost to the Tigers 10-5 at Exhibition Stadium.  This game was note-worthy for two reasons.  Cannon-armed Jesse Barfield threw out Dwight Lowry at home plate which was my favourite mid-80s Jays play and Cliff Johnson pinch-hit for Rick Leach and went deep.

Cliff friggin' Johnson.  I loved that guy.  He always had the perfect scowl, seemed perfectly old school and just a little pissed off.  I remember he left and came back, and on this night, he hit his 20th career home run as a pinch-hitter.  That was a major league record.

Cliff Johnson held that record for 24 years.  That's a long time.  Yesterday, former Jay Matt Stairs, who's also a good Canadian boy, hit his 21st homer as a pinch-hitter to break Cliffy's record.

I'm happy for Stairs, who I always liked, but I must admit I always liked Cliff Johnson owning that record.

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