Jose Bautista will join the Toronto Blue Jays Level of Excellence.
The former Blue Jays slugger will be honoured in a pre-game ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 12 when Toronto takes on the Chicago Cubs.
Bautista joins George Bell, Dave Stieb, Joe Carter, Cito Gaston, Tony Fernandez, Pat Gillick, Tom Cheek, Paul Beeston, Carlos Delgado, and Roy Halladay on the Level of Excellence.
“Jose Bautista captured hearts and ignited a fan base as part of the team that brought Toronto back to the post-season for the first time in 22 years. His on-field achievements propelled the team to greatness, and he undoubtedly belongs on the Blue Jays Level of Excellence,” said president Mark Shapiro in a statement. “On behalf of the organization, we are proud to honour José and his remarkable career with Blue Jays fans in August.”
The Blue Jays acquired Bautista in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2008. He would go on to set the Blue Jays’ single-season home run record, finishing the year with an MLB-leading 54 home runs in a breakout campaign in 2010.
Bautista finished his time in Toronto with 288 home runs, trailing only Joe Carter for the most in club history. He hit more home runs than any other player in MLB from 2010 to 2015 and would go on to win three Silver Slugger Awards (2010, 2011, 2014) and appear in six straight MLB All-Star Games.
His most famous moment with the Blue Jays came during Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS against the Texas Rangers, when his home run and bat flip in the sixth inning led to Toronto to a series victory. It was also the first time in 22 years that the franchise reached the MLB playoffs.
The first 15,000 fans to enter the ballpark on Aug. 12 will receive a Jose Bautista Bat Flip Bobblehead.