Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #28, Josh Donaldson

Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #28, Josh Donaldson

Our annual ranking of the people whose smarts, connections and clout are changing the city as we know it

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Josh Donaldson

Toronto Blue Jays

28 The trade that brought ­Donaldson to Toronto (in exchange for Brett Lawrie and a few ho-hum prospects to Oakland) is widely considered the most egregious rip-off in recent history. Fortunately, it was in our favour. Donaldson was first on the Jays in runs, home runs, runs batted in, doubles, hits and extra-base hits, and helped lead the team to the post-season for the first time in 22 years. On defence, he instilled a grittiness the team desperately needed. In the best defensive play of the year, he launched himself two rows deep into the stands to catch a ball and preserve his pitcher’s perfect game bid in the process. That sort of hustle earned him the admiration of Don Cherry and Arrow star ­Stephen Amell, both of whom led the campaign to get Donaldson votes for the all-star game. Their efforts were ­probably unnecessary: Donaldson ended up with 14 million fan votes, the most of any player. At home, he quickly became a public darling—his jersey was the team’s bestseller. As the city and country embraced him (Roots signed him as a spokesperson), he embraced us back, hosting a charity bowling tournament in late August for the Jays Care Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters that raised $80,000.

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Donaldson is in his prime and is under contract for the next three years. The Jays paid him $4.3 million in 2015; he’ll likely fetch nearly triple that in 2016.

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