Fwd: Tommy McTaggart


alan skeoch
april 21, 2022


SCOTT BARTLE sent this picture today (April 21,2022)a.  Impossible to forget those halcyon days of

1992 and 1993 when our Bluejys won back to back Baseball World Series championships.

Back then I was a member of the tiny Parkdale Rotary Club … a club that made up for
its size in spirit a lot of which was generated by Scott Bartle although he would insist
that was not the case.   

“Rotarians, I have a plan whereby we can make a little money and have a good time doing it.”
“You have a plan?”
“We can sell Blue J’s at the stadium…got clearance to do so.:
“What is a Blue J ?”
“Exactly what it says it is…a Blue J, made of foam rubber, about 2 feet long and 2 inches thick…soft as a baby’s bottom.”
“Who would buy them?”
“Fans…we are in the World Series for the second time…some would want a souvenir…others would want something soft
to put their bums on…either way they will sell and we’l get a percentage for community work.”
“Final game …need everybody out selling.”
“Can Marjorie come as well?”
“Need all the help we can get.”

Home Page | Rotary Club of Parkdale-High Park Humber

Recent picture of Scott Bartle with a Paul Harris Rotary award.


(NOTE: Scott Bartle, Frank Gagne and Bruce Conrad invented the Blue J concept and then
produced them.  The market was never big enough so the Blue J moment in history 
was short but a lot of fun.)

And so the adventure began.  Our principal, Bob Putnam, had joined the Parkdale Rotary Club as part of his
community outreach.  Then the Board of Education shuffled him off to Western Tech.  And I took
his place with the Rotarians.  This was not easy.  Teaching full time does not leave much time for
community work.  But it was important.  Parkdale was a needy community.  Still is today.  Needed
the Rotarians.  I felt strongly that the community that paid my salary should get something back…same
feeling as the example set by Bob Putnam.  But how to get the time?  

And now expected to sell Blue J’s at our baseball stadium.  Like selling popcorn and peanuts.  Rather
demeaning.  Lessons to prepare, papers to mark…where will I find the time? Time was found. Good time.

So glad we made time for this adventure.
I will never forget the  game.  Nice warm sunny day with thousands of people streaming into
the place.  We…our whole club with wives and others…intercepted the crowd inside.  “Get your Blue J…only $5”
“GET A BLUE J…TO SIT ON”  “GET a Blue J to wave the team on to victory.”  “Better than popcorn.” (and other assorted yells)

Scott had a truckload of the Blue J’s ready.  

I am writing this note on April 21, 2022. Someevents are fuzzy.  but I remember much that day back in 1993 as
if it was yesterday.  “Get your Blue J…now…Before we are sold out.” (a huckster’s lie). 

Two incidents come to mind in particular.

1): “Alan, look over there.  That’s Mike Harris from North Bay.  I’m going over to say
hello…knew his mom and dad well, Hope and Dean were raised near Parkdale before moving to North Bay
…I even had a date with his older brother Sid…back
then Mike was just a little boy but he might remember.”’’
“Well, how did it go?”
“Failed…he would not even look at me.”

Marjorie tried…failed.
“Alan, he would not even look at me.”
“Must have been the Blue J’s you were holding…maybe he did not have five bucks.”
…maybe he thought you wanted his signature on the Blue J?
“He just lost my vote.”

2)  “Alan,” said Scott, “You take the centre aisle that runs from the bleachers right down to home plate.”
“Just me?”
“Marjorie and you.”
So I nabbed the prize aisle.  From the people with no money in the gods to the
the moneybag bunch behind home plate. “Get Your Blue J … Five Bucks”
I sold a bunch but was surprised at the response from some of the front
line fans.  “Get out of the way!” “For God’s sake sit down!” “I paid to see the goddman name…not to see a huckster like you”
“Do you have a permit?””You son of a bitch, I missed that pitch.” “Prick!”  Kind remarks like that…lots of them.  What was I to do?”

The answer was obvious.  Answer given by the fans.  “Sit Down!”  So I sat down on the cement steps
just above the catcher…direct line from the pitcher.  Comfortable on my pile of Blue Js.  Marjorie was selling at the top and
doing well.  I was not needed.  Hoped that Scott did not see me.”

An indescribable thing': 25 years later, Jays fan recalls 'euphoria' of 2nd  straight World Series win | CBC NewsOn the field for Joe Carter's World Series-winning home run - Sportsnet.caOn the field for Joe Carter's World Series-winning home run - Sportsnet.caThe glory past of the Toronto Blue Jays - Obiter DictaToday in Blue Jays History: Joe Carter Touches Them All - Bluebird Banter
Strange.  I have searched through many pictures of the fans in 1993.  Lots of
pictures of Joe Carter and Pau Molitor but no picture of fans waving a Blue J.
Why is that?  Maybe Blue Jay management expected a cut of our small community

POST SCRIPT:  I Write this in memory of Tommy MacTaggart, Rotarian, whose memorial will be celebrated in Aliston on May 15.

POST SCRPT:  IF you can find an old 1993 copy of Sports Illustrated you will find us waving and selling our Blue J’s…even
a pic of me sitting down behind home plate.  

POST SCRIPT:  AT one point I was treasurer of our Rotary Club.  That was an eye opener.  Up until
then I thought Rotarians were all well healed business people.  Nor so.  Most were just people of modest means
who wanted to help other people.   Much of the money raised went to help support the Redwood shelter for women
fleeing abusive relationships.

alan skeoch
april 21,2022

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