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Former outfield trio signs autographs for fans

George Bell, Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moseby draw large crowd

TORONTO -- A trio of popular outfielders from the 1980s -- George Bell, Jesse Barfield and Lloyd Moseby -- were at the Blue Jays Shop at the Toronto Eaton Centre on Friday signing autographs for a large contingency of fans that came to meet their favorite players.

The turnout was large, as hundreds of people waited in a line, which wrapped around outside the store on Yonge Street, beginning as early as 7 a.m. for a chance at an autograph.

Bell, Barfield and Moseby are considered the best outfield the Blue Jays have ever assembled and were considered the gold standard in all of baseball during their prime years in the mid-80s.

The power guy in left field was Bell, who captured Toronto's first and only MVP award during his 47-homer 1987 season.

"That '87 season, I remember playing with the three best outfielders in the game," Bell said. "It was too bad we didn't make it to the playoffs. We did all we could to win, have a great year, but disappointed we didn't even win."

Moseby had the wheels, as the center fielder swiped 30-plus bases in five consecutive seasons from 1984-88. Barfield, meanwhile, had the arm and was feared by opposing players who dared run on him in right.

"I told him not to throw it, and then he would throw it and I would say, 'Yeah, I told you to throw it,' Moseby said, joking about Barfield's arm strength. "He had a rifle. Some guys have a good arm, but he had a cannon."

The three of them helped bring the Blue Jays to respectability and made them one of the American League powerhouses not long after their expansion season in 1977. Moseby made his Major League debut with the Blue Jays in 1980, and Barfield and Bell were right behind, joining him in the '81 season.

Led by the threesome, the Blue Jays won their first division title and reached the playoffs for the first time in 1985. The 99 wins the Blue Jays recorded in '85 remains a club record.

When asked what his best memory as a member of the Blue Jays was, Barfield said: "The way we hung in there as a team and came together when it counted and won a division in '85, by far. It was all of us, homegrown."

But the season didn't end the way Toronto envisioned. Up 3-1 in the American League Championship Series to the Kansas City Royals, the Blue Jays ended up losing the best-of-seven series and fell one game short of reaching the World Series for the first time.

Kansas City went on to defeat the Cardinals in seven games to win the Fall Classic.

"I still see Frank White and George Brett walk around the country with the ring on and I don't like that, because that is our ring," Barfield said about the former Royals.

"We gave them that [series]. St. Louis had no chance. We were going to kill those guys. That pitching staff didn't match up against us. No chance."

Moseby hasn't stopped thinking about it.

"That was awful, still a bad feeling," Moseby said.

The Blue Jays remained a force following their departure and went on to win the World Series in 1992 and 1993, but it was the trio that helped put the Blue Jays on the baseball map.

"I was jealous, I'm just joking. I was happy. They are our family," Barfield said about the Blue Jays winning back-to-back championships.

On Friday, Blue Jays fans showed the trio that they are still heroes in Toronto.

Chris Toman is an associate reporter for
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