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LEVEL OF EXCELLENCE

The Level of Excellence is an award bestowed by the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club, recognizing tremendous individual achievement. The names and, in some cases, uniform numbers of each of the honourees are displayed on large banners hanging in Rogers Centre’s 500 Level. The recipients of this prestigious award are as follows: Roberto Alomar (April 4, 2008), Paul Beeston (April 4, 2008), George Bell (April 9, 1996), Joe Carter (July 30, 1999), Tom Cheek (August 29, 2004), Tony Fernandez (September 23, 2001), Cito Gaston (July 30, 1999), Pat Gillick (August 7, 2002) & Dave Stieb (April 9, 1996).

George Bell
Outfielder George Bell spent nine seasons with Toronto and ranks third in Club history in total bases (2201), second in RBI (740) and third in extra base hits (471). Only Carlos Delgado and Joe Carter have hit more home runs in a Toronto uniform than Bell who clubbed 202 homers in his Blue Jay career. In 1987 he was named the American League MVP as he set franchise marks in home runs (47) and extra base hits (83). Bell made his first of two All Star appearances in 1987 when he became the first Blue Jay ever voted to the starting line-up. During his nine seasons Bell was a four-time club MVP, the Sporting News AL and Major League Player of the year in 1987, a three-time Sporting News Silver Slugger, a two-time Sporting News All Star team selection and the American League Player of the Week eight times. The 6'1" right hand batter also set a Major League record hitting three home runs on Opening Day, April 4, 1988 at Kansas City.
Dave Stieb
Dave Stieb is the franchise leader in wins (175), innings pitched (2873.0), strikeouts (1658), starts (408), shutouts (30) and complete games (103). Stieb spent 15 seasons with Toronto, longer than any player in franchise history. Stieb appeared in an American League record seven All Star games and was the starting pitcher in both 1983 and 1984. Dave Stieb also recorded the only no-hitter in Blue Jays history on September 2 1990 against the Indians in Cleveland. In 1982 he was named the Sporting News Pitcher of the Year after a 17-14 season with a 3.25 ERA and led the league in innings pitched (288) and complete games (20). Stieb was the Blue Jays Pitcher of the Year six times, a three-time winner of the American League Pitcher of the Month and a three-time winner of the American League Player of the Week.
Joe Carter
Joe Carter Outfielder Joe Carter is second in franchise history in home runs with 203 but will forever be remembered for just one, the ninth inning blast on October 23 to win the 1993 World Series. In 1,039 games from 1991 to 1997 with Toronto,Carter hit .257 with 578 runs scored, 218 doubles, 28 triples, 203 home runs with 736 RBI and 78 stolen bases. In his seven seasons he represented Toronto in five All-Star Games including 1991 in Toronto, his first season with the Blue Jays after he was acquired from San Diego along with Roberto Alomar on December 5, 1990 in exchange for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff his tremendous on-field accomplishments Joe and his wife were active off the field as the Diana & Joe Carter Foundation operated the "Jumpin' with Joe" program which provided needy children throughout the Toronto area with a day at Teen-Ranch, Christian Youth Camp and tickets for a Toronto Blue Jay game where Joe would speak to all of the children. He worked with many other charities including Ronald McDonald House and also hosted an annual charity golf tournament. In his 16 year major league career Carter hit .259 with 432 doubles, 396 home runs and 1,445 RBI while playing for the Chicago Cubs (1983), the Cleveland Indians (1984-1989), the San Diego Padres (1990), the Toronto Blue Jays (1991-1997), the Baltimore Orioles (1998) and the San Francisco Giants (1998).
Cito Gaston
Cito Gaston Cito Gaston led the Blue Jays to two World Championships, two American League Championships, four American League East titles in nine seasons as the Manager from 1989 to 1997. Gaston started as the Blue Jays hitting coach in 1981 where he groomed many young players including George Bell, Lloyd Moseby, Cecil Fielder, Jesse Barfield and Fred McGriff. In 1989 he served as the interim manager of the club before he was named the fifth manager in club history on May 31, 1989. He had the privilege of Managing in two All-Star games, 1993 and 1994. During his years as manager Cito gave much of his time to charity events throughout Toronto including the annual Cito Gaston Golf Classic. Gaston returned to the Blue Jays for two seasons as hitting coach in 2000 and 2001. Was named Club Ambassador and Special Assistant to the President and CEO, along with former Blue Jay right-hander Pat Hentgen, in early 2007. On June 20, 2008 was named Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, his 2nd stint as the Clubs skipper. Has a Franchise high 828 victories as the Blue Jays manager. Entering the 2010 season has an overall record of 828-773.
Tony Fernandez
Tony Fernandez Tony Fernandez is the franchise leader in games (1,450), at-bats (5,335), hits (1,583), triples (72), second in doubles (291), fourth in runs (704), total bases (2,198), and average (.297), walks (439) stolen bases (172). Fernandez had four separate stints with the Blue Jays resulting in 12 seasons and was a member of the 1993 World Series Champions where he led the team with nine RBI and batted .333 in the six WS games. Fernandez was selected to play on five All-Star Teams, including four with Toronto, and won four straight AL Gold Glove Awards at shortstop from 1986-1989 with the Blue Jays. Fernandez is fourth on the All-Time hits list for a Dominican born player. He was selected as the shortstop on the 25th season Blue Jays All-Time Roster and in 2001 set Club single season pinch-hit records with 16 hits and 10 RBI.
Pat Gillick
Pat Gillick Pat Gillick, who was instrumental in building the organization from an expansion team in 1977 to World Series Champions in 1992 and 1993, was the sixth man to be honoured by the Toronto Blue Jays to the Level of Excellence. Gillick began his exceptional career with the Blue Jays in 1976 as the Vice President of Player Personnel. Through his work during the early years with the organization, he developed what many referred to as the "blueprint for developing an expansion franchise." Gillick was responsible for the development of players like Dave Stieb, Jesse Barfield and Jimmy Key through the draft and utilized the Major League Rule 5 draft to secure talents such as Willie Upshaw, George Bell, Jim Gott and Kelly Gruber. Gillick was also known for completing shrewd trades to acquire the likes of Alfredo Griffin, Damaso Garcia and Fred McGriff and assembling talent like Tom Henke, Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar, Devon White, Dave Winfield, Jack Morris and Paul Molitor. During his tenure, the Blue Jays produced 11 consecutive winning seasons from 1983 to 1993 and in that span, the Toronto Blue Jays brought five American League East Division titles to Toronto, two American League Championships and World Series victories in 1992 and 1993.
Tom Cheek
Tom Cheek Tom Cheek passed away on October 9, 2005 after a lengthy and brave battle with brain cancer. Cheek stood as the radio voice of the Blue Jays and, as one fan wrote, the "soundtrack of summer in Toronto" since the Club's inception through 2004. He broadcast 4,306 consecutive regular season games (and an additional 41 postseason contests) from 1977 through the midway point of the 2004 season when he was called away from the booth first by the sudden and ultimately passing of his father and later by his own personal health problems. The banner in the Level of Excellence bearing his name, first unveiled in formal ceremonies held on August 29, 2004, is adorned with the number 4, 306. That pays tribute to his longevity as the iron-man of baseball broadcasting. A veteran of the radio industry, Cheek first joined the Blue Jays prior to the Club's inaugural season after spending three seasons working on Montreal Expos broadcasts. He's been calling the balls, strikes and home runs ever since, starting with Doug Ault's big blasts on Opening Day in 1977. His call of Joe Carter's dramatic home run to win the 1993 World Series –"Touch 'em all Joe, you'll never hit a bigger home run in your life!"–stands as one of the most memorable and famous moments in Canadian sports broadcasting history. In 2004, Cheek was included among the ten finalists for the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award, recognizing broadcasting excellence. He was one of three finalists voted on to the ballot through online voting by fans conducted by the Cooperstown-based museum. In 2012, Cheek won this prestigious award.
Roberto Alomar
Roberto AlomarRoberto Alomar was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on January 5, 2011 - first player in franchise history to achieve that honour. On July 24, 2011 was inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown along with the person who brought him over to Toronto from San Diego back in 1990, former Blue Jays GM Pat Gillick & RHP Bert Blylevin. Was selected on 90 percent of the ballots. Was acquired by Toronto along with OF Joe Carter in exchange for SS Tony Fernandez & 1B Fred McGriff from the San Diego Padres on December 5, 1990. Played five seasons in Toronto from 1990-1995, batted .307 with 55 HR, 342 RBI & 206 SB. In his time with the Blue Jays won two World Series Championships (’92 & ’93), named the ALCS MVP in ’92 vs. Oakland, appeared in five all-star games (’91-’95), won five gold gloves (’91-’95) and awarded a Silver Slugger in 1992. Appeared in 29 post-season games with the Blue Jays & batted .373 (44-118) with 18 runs, nine XBH, 18 RBI & 18 SB. Among the all-time Blue Jays second basemen ranks 1st in runs (447), 3B (35), RBI (338), AVG (.308), XBH (241) & SB (206). In 17 major league seasons with San Diego, Toronto, Baltimore, Cleveland, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox & Arizona, batted .300 with 2724 hits, 210 HR, 1134 RBI & 474 SB. In 58 post season contests, batted .313 with four HR and 33 RBI.
Paul Beeston
Roberto Alomar Paul Beeston a Welland, ON native, is one of the Toronto Blue Jays founding fathers. Was the first employee of the Toronto Blue Jays, joining the Club on May 10, 1976 only a month and a half after the granting of the Franchise. He became Vice-President of Business Operations in 1977, Executive Vice-President, Business in 1984, President and Chief Operating Officer in 1989 & Chief Executive Officer in 1991. His hard work and dedication have been recognized by many & in 1988, was named a Member of the Order of Canada. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998 & then in 2002 was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. From 1997 until 2002, Paul was President & COO of Major League Baseball in New York City. Beeston then returned to Toronto in 2002 & serves on the board of a number of philanthropic endeavours. On October 14, was appointed CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays on an interim basis, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the baseball club & Rogers Centre. On October 27, 2009 had the interim tag lifted and was appointed CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers Centre.