Flashback Friday: The Oft-Forgotten Willie Canate

When you think back to the 1993 World Series Champion Toronto Blue Jays, there are many names that come to mind; Carter, Alomar, Molitor, Ward, Stewart and Henderson to name a few.

But have you ever tried to name all the players on that squad? Trying to name the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays World Series roster is actually much more difficult than one could imagine.

This week’s Flashback Friday is focused on one of those oft-forgotten members of the 1993 World Series Champion squad … none other than Willie Canate.


Canate came by way of the Cincinnati Reds, who sold his rights to the Toronto Blue Jays in early 1993. He was called up and made his big league debut on April 16th 1993, but collected just seven at bats over two months before going on the DL.

Willie Canate rejoined the Blue Jays just prior to the All-Star Break and hit .250/.354/.325 in 40 at bats the remainder of the season. Wanting to have a fourth outfielder and some speed on the bench, the Blue Jays opted to keep Willie Canate on their playoff roster.

Willie Canate’s claim to fame was he got caught in a rundown during Game  5 of the World Series. He was tagged out by Phillies third baseman Dave Hollins. Canate made one pinch run appearance in the series … and that was it.

And for his troubles on the basepaths, he received a World Series ring. However, Willie Canate never played another game in the Major Leagues after 1993.

Canate has the distinction of being the Blue Jays’ position player equivalent of Gary Lavelle; Lavelle made a postseason appearance but failed to record an out, while Canate did not make an at bat, but entered the game as a pinch runner.

Canate spent 1994 and 1995 in the Blue Jays minor league system before playing for the Mexican League in 1997 and subsequently jumped over to the Italian Baseball League from 2002-2005.

But to many, he’ll be remembered for that famous rundown on the basepaths.

Images courtesy of 500 Level Fan and Getty Images

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.