Flashback Friday: The Blue Jays’ First Ever Trade in Franchise History

The Toronto Blue Jays have made plenty of trades over the course of their 37-year franchise history. Just this week alone, the Jays made two of the biggest trades in recent memory. But there was one trade made in the fall of 1976 which set everything in motion

For this week’s Flashback Friday, we take a look at the very first trade ever made by the Toronto Blue Jays franchise.

On October 21st 1976, the Toronto Blue Jays swung their very first trade for veteran catcher, Phil Roof. The Blue Jays traded a player to be named later (eventually Larry Anderson) to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Roof.


In actuality, Phil Roof  became the first ever player for the Toronto Blue Jays as they had yet to begin filling out their roster through the expansion draft in November of 1976.

I wonder how the 12-year veteran in Roof felt about being shipped off to Toronto; an upstart expansion team which at the time was devoid of any veteran players.

Phil Roof only started two games for the Blue Jays in 1977, as the Blue Jays also acquired Alan Ashby from the Cleveland Indians for one of their draft picks, Al Fitzmorris.

Ashby ultimately caught the bulk of the games for the Jays that year, starting 120 games behind the plate. Ernie Whitt and Rick Cerone split the backup catching duties, while Phil Roof spent only a short stint with the club.

Roof’s last start with the Blue Jays was May 30th 1977, and he retired shortly thereafter.

Phil Roof’s time with the Toronto Blue Jays may not have been all that glamorous, but he still has the distinction of being the first player the club ever traded for, and thus the first official player for the Blue Jays.

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.

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