By Bob Elliott
When he left following the 2001 season his departure was described by many as the franchise’s greatest loss either by trade or free agency.
We’re not discussing either part of the left side of the Blue Jays infield.
Shortstop Alex Gonzalez was dealt to the Chicago Cubs and third baseman Tony Batista was claimed on waivers by the Baltimore Orioles. Felipe Lopez and Eric Hinske took over on opening day at Fenway Park.
The new-look, new-listen, Blue Jays opened 2002 in Boston without broadcaster Dan Shulman, who departed for ESPN.
From 1995 to 2001 Buck Martinez and Shulman teamed up to provide excellent coverage for Jays fans.
Now, Sporstnet is putting the band back together.
Shulman, a Toronto native, will work 30 Jays games a season in 2016-17 along with Pat Tabler and Martinez.
Some games he’ll replace an announcer on holidays, while other games there will be three men in the booth.
Shulman will continue his Sunday Night Baseball and NCAA hoops broadcasts, his regular hits at TSN, Sportsnet’s rival. In other words he could be on the air almost as much as Don Cherry used to be.
Twice Shulman won Sports Media Canada Broadcaster of the Year (2000, 2007) and he earned the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Sportscaster of the Year in 2011.
Shulman and Martinez were as smooth in the booth delivering information and insight as shortstop Omar Vizquel and second baseman Robbie Alomar around the second base bag when they were together with the Cleveland Indians.
Starting his radio career at CKBB in Barrie in 1990, Shulman joined The FAN 1430 in Toronto in 1991 and is a former host of Prime Time Sports.
Whether it was on Prime Time with the late Jim Hunt or in the booth with Martinez, Shulman always had the knack to draw out stories, asked questions an informed fan would ask, as well as asking for a reference points to what was going on and its place in history.