Carlos Delgado didn't retire as a Toronto Blue Jay. But he'll forever be remembered as one after the franchise inducts him into its Level of Excellence on Sunday before the team's game with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Delgado will be the 10th member of the Level of Excellence, joining fellow players such as Hall of Famer and fellow Puerto Rican Roberto Alomar and World Series hero Joe Carter and Hall of Fame executive Pat Gillick.
"This is a tremendous honor," Delgado said. "When I became a Blue Jay I never thought an honor of this nature would be possible. I am grateful to the Blue Jays organization."
Delgado played 12 seasons in Toronto before leaving for the Marlins as a free agent in 2005. A year later the Marlins, who had told Delgado they wouldn't trade him, did just that, sending the left-hand-hitting first baseman to the Mets.
Although Delgado hit 38 home runs and drove in more than 110 runs twice in his four seasons in New York, he had his best years in Toronto, hitting 30 or more homers in eight straight seasons while averaging 108 RBIs.
In 2003 Delgado hit a career-high .302 with 42 homers and 145 RBIs to finish second to Alex Rodriguez in voting for the American League MVP award.
A decade after leaving Toronto, Delgado remains the franchise leader in home runs (336), RBIs (1,058), walks (827), slugging percentage (.556), OPS (.949), runs (889), total bases (2,786), doubles (343) and extra-base hits (690).
"Not only was he one of the best hitters in club history, he was one of the finest first basemen of his generation. More importantly, Carlos was a tremendous ambassador for the Blue Jays organization and the city of Toronto," said Blue Jays President Paul Beeston. "His fun-loving attitude was infectious and his tireless work in the community were truly his greatest assets."