Former relief pitcher Bob File spent parts of three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays between 2001 and 2004. Due to injuries his time was cut short with the Jays and we never got to see what could have been after his stellar rookie season that resulted in a 3.27 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 74.1 innings pitched.
Despite File’s short time with the team he gained somewhat of a cult status among friends and fans who called themselves the ‘Filecabinet’. Today we get the privilege to catch up with Bob File and look back on his time with the Blue Jays.
First off, thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions and supporting my blog ‘Some Thoughts on Baseball’! Now let’s get to it:
Question: The last thing that most Jays fans remember about you was that you signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005, but never actually pitched for them during the regular season. Can you update us as to what happened in St. Louis and what you are doing today?
Bob File: St. Louis was a great organization and team to be a part of for the short time I was there. I went through spring training with a solid shot of making the team. The day before opening day, I had injured my lower back during exercise and it wound up being three herniated discs and spondolythesis. Knowing that I would be out for the majority of the season and unable to even walk, I decided to retire. Injuries were not only affecting my baseball career but my personal life as well. Today I am currently the pitching coach at La Salle University in Philadelphia, a division I Atlantic-10 baseball team.
Question: Among some fans, your Jays debut was long awaited and if memory serves me correctly in your first appearance you threw one pitch and got a vulture win. What was the highlight of your time with the Jays now that you look back?
Bob File: The highlight for me as a Jay I most remember is pitching 4 innings against the NY Yankees in the 17-inning game at the Skydome. Even though I got the loss that was the outing where I knew I could pitch in the major leagues facing one of the best teams of my lifetime so far. Also, pitching in Philadelphia and getting ejected for hitting a batter was a great experience.
Question: Do you still keep in touch with anyone from your Blue Jay days, say guys like Justin Miller and Josh Towers? And please fill us in on any good embarrassing stories that they would not want us to know.
Bob File: Yes I still keep in touch with Justin and many others. I am always looking to reconnect with former teammates since I did make some solid friendships over the years. Maybe one day I’ll share some stories, but many of them are just too crazy…
Question: You were a pretty good hitter during your days at Philadelphia University, which didn’t quite translate during your only at bat in the majors. Can you take us through that at bat and what your team mates might have said to you afterwards?
Bob File: I remember that at-bat very well, it was in San Francisco facing Kirk Rueter who was throwing about 85 miles an hour. I hadn’t hit live pitching in almost 6 years at the time, so I grabbed the lightest bat I could find, Reed Johnson’s bat, and went up there. First of all, the first pitch to me was a very high fastball at my chest that was called a strike. A.J. Pierzynski was the catcher and as many know in baseball, not the most cordial opponent. So after that pitch I knew I was going down swinging, so I took some hacks and back to the dugout I went.
Question: Do you still follow the Blue Jays now and if so what do you think of the current team and what do they need to compete with the AL Beasts from NY and Boston?
Bob File: I do still follow the Jays since they did give me my first chance in MLB as a pitcher. Even though most of the guys I played with are now gone, the team faces a lot of challenges on the business side to be competitive in the AL East. They have a good thing going there with the management they have and the new manager is really good from what I hear as a baseball man.
Question: What did it mean to you to have such strong support from your friends and fans, aka the Filecabinet?
Bob File: It was a lot of fun and wish I could still be there pitching for the Jays. I’ll never forget when a few fans had a huge sign in Philadelphia that said the ‘File-Cabinet’ is here from Toronto. A lot of fun memories with the fans in Toronto.
Question: During your time with the Jays, the Filecabinet caused quite a bit of havoc on Blue Jay team web sites, blogs and message boards. At one point I was told that you actually anonymously made a post yourself. How often do major league players make anonymous posts or responses to comments or stories on Internet fan sites?
Bob File: As for posts on websites, I never did that as a player. I just didn’t get involved with all that. I would read them from time to time and friends would send me things, but that was it.
Question: Fans have mixed opinions about Blue Jays former General Manager JP Ricciardi's time with the team. How was your relationship with him and do you think he often gets unfairly criticized, or is it well deserved?
Bob File: I think he gets criticized a little unfairly, although we did not win much when he was there and as a GM your job is to win. I have nothing but great things to say of J.P. since he stuck with me through injuries much longer than many GM’s might have. He is a very bright man when it comes to baseball and the NY Mets are now lucky to have him.
Question: Some people believe the injuries you suffered are a direct result of mismanagement and over use by your former manager Buck Martinez during your rookie season. Do you feel that anyone is responsible for the injuries, or is it just a case of bad luck or things happen?
Bob File: I think it was just some bad luck and over training on my part. I always wanted to work 10 times harder then the next guy, so looking back I may have over did it a little causing injury. I would never say Buck overused me or anything like that, if anything I wanted to pitch more in my rookie year. Buck gave me my first chance in the major leagues and I will always remember him for that.
Question: Since you’re from Philadelphia you must have been pretty stoked when the Philly’s acquired Roy Halladay. Can you tell us a little about your experience as his team mate?
Bob File: I think that Roy is the definition of a major league baseball player. We would occasionally train together and I always felt that if anyone worked as hard as I did of the field, I respected them. Roy does what any young kid would think a major league player should do to perform at the highest level.
Question: Finally, with Roberto Alomar going into the Hall of Fame there is a current debate going on in the Toronto Star as to who is the all time greatest Jay, currently the leading candidates appear to be Dave Stieb, Carlos Delgado and Roy Halladay. Who would your vote go to?
Bob File: I think that is a strong class of Jays to pick one out of. I never played with Dave Stieb but what I have heard he was a great athlete and pitcher. Having played with Delgado when he was still in his prime, my vote would be for him. The things he could do were just amazing and his knowledge of the game and pitchers is something that does not get reported. He was one of the best pure hitters I have ever seen.
Thanks again Bob, I’m sure all Jays fans appreciate you taking the time to catch up with them!