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The Toronto Star

Carlos Bangs Homer No.42; Delgado Ends It With Grand Slam First Jay To Top Majors In RBIs

By Allan Ryan

September 29, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Toronto Star. All rights reserved. 

Carlos Delgado took leave of his terrific season yesterday and the man sure knows how to make an exit.

With Blue Jay (stage) manager Carlos Tosca intervening, Delgado saw precisely one solitary pitch, took one final rip.

And, if, as some sometimes say, you're only as good as your last at-bat, well ...

"It'll be cool," said Delgado, about an hour after Jays shut it all down with a 6-2 win over Cleveland. "For the next six months, I can say I hit a grand slam."

Yes, it was something. Bases loaded, none out and, on lefty Cliff Lee's 20th pitch of his fateful first, Delgado delivering homer No.42, RBIs Nos.141 through 145 - the final punctuation on his very real MVP credentials.

He returned to his patrol at first base to start the second but, after handling the warm-up tosses, Tosca gave him the rest of the season off. This, of course, afforded Delgado a final standing O from the crowd of 22,000-plus as he trotted across the field to a welcoming dugout.

"We were going to do that at some point and that just seemed the perfect opportunity," said Tosca.

"He'd sat down next to me (after the slam) and said, 'Well, what d'ya think?' I said, 'Yeah, go back out there, then we'll call you in.' The timing was just so good."

The maybe/maybe not retiring Mike Bordick, who handled short until his sixth inning warm-up throws, and Vernon Wells was in centre to start the ninth - only to jog back in before Trever Miller and Aquilino Lopez closed it out.

Wells, who took an 0 for 3, went that long since Tosca didn't want to be reading this morning's boxscores to find, say, Ichiro Suzuki had rapped out four or five in Seattle.

As it was, Suzuki managed one while Albert Pujols was going 2 for 4 for the Cardinals and Wells wound up leading the majors with a franchise record 215 hits - three more than the other two.

Delgado became the first Jay to top all of baseball in RBIs, doing so by collecting 15 over his final eight games to nose out Colorado's Preston Wilson, who had gone into yesterday tied at 141 but didn't play.

So, now, soon, home to Puerto Rico.

"I'm just gonna chill," said Delgado. "That's one of the good things about living in a small town - not a lot of reporters around."

Well, he may be hearing from reporters a couple of weeks after the World Series - the MVP announcements.

"If they call, they call," he said, meaning major league baseball. "If they don't ... well, I'm pretty happy with the way things went. I still want to win the whole thing, but it was a fun year."

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