Induction year: 2009
Born (date, year, place): June 13, 1952 in Detroit, Michigan
Primary Position: Catcher
Years Played: 1976 to 1978, 1980 to 1991
Teams Played: Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles
After being selected from the Boston Red Sox in the 1976 expansion draft, Ernie Whitt evolved into one of the most popular players in Toronto Blue Jays history. From 1977 to 1989, the beloved Jays mainstay toiled in 1,218 games for the club, the fourth most in franchise history.
A reliable defensive catcher, the Michigan native established himself as an offensive threat in 1982, when he belted 11 home runs, the first of eight consecutive seasons in which he slugged more than 10 homers. The nine-time Jays’ Opening Day catcher enjoyed one of his finest seasons in 1985, when he blasted 19 homers, was named to the all-star team and helped propel the club to its first division title. Another career highlight occurred on September 14, 1987, when Whitt slugged three home runs in a contest that saw the Jays set a major league record with ten round-trippers. In his 12 seasons playing in Toronto, Whitt collected 888 hits, socked 131 homers and drove in 518 runs. He finished his playing career with the Atlanta Braves in 1990 and Baltimore Orioles in 1991.
After retiring as a player, he coached and managed in the Jays organization for parts of 12 seasons. The popular ex-backstop has also enjoyed a very successful tenure as manager with Team Canada. In his first stint as Canada’s field boss at the 1999 Pan-American games in Winnipeg, Whitt’s Canadian squad upset the U.S. on the way to a bronze medal finish. In 2003, Whitt managed Canada past the U.S. in securing one of two 2004 Olympic berths. Under his leadership, Canada would finish fourth at the 2004 Olympics. In 2006, Whitt was in charge for arguably Canada’s biggest win in history, as the Canuck squad defeated the U.S. in the inaugural World Baseball Classic.
Career Major League Statistics
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