Vernon Wells takes as much pride in his defense as he does in his offense...and always has. Saving a run with a great defensive play can be just as meaningful as providing a base hit or home run.

It is precisely that dedication to being a complete baseball player that ultimately attracted the Angels and had made Vernon a foundation of the Toronto Blue Jays organization as the starting centerfielder for nine seasons.

He tasted his first major league action in 1999 when he hit .261 in just 24 games. He was a September call-up for the next few years. His next major action came in 2001 when he showed much more patience as a hitter and delivered a .313 average in 30 games. At the end of the 2001 season, Vernon knew he had a great shot at making the team coming out of Spring Training. After a strong spring and with a great attitude and clear dedication to the game, the Toronto Blue Jays gave Vernon Wells the shot he'd been waiting for as the new centerfielder.

In his first full year as a starter, Vernon made his mark as a hitter and showed versatility in the lineup batting in either the five, six or seven slot. He didn't just make his mark either, he burst onto the scene. During the first week of the season, he homered in two consecutive games against the perennial powerhouse New York Yankees. Vernon wrapped up that first season batting .275 with 23 homeruns, 100 RBIs and 87 runs scored. He not only had solidified his starting job but had rewarded the Blue Jays for their investment.

In 2003, Vernon's development as a professional player continued. He raised his batting average 42 points from his rookie year, finishing at .317 overall, which was good for 4th in the American League. He also once again delivered as run producer, finishing 3rd in the AL in both RBIs with 177 and runs scored with 118. His remarkable second full season also saw him lead the American League with 215 hits, 49 doubles and 373 total bases. He finished eighth in voting for the American League MVP.

The 2004 season was marked by ups and down for Vernon and the Blue Jays team. Injuries to teammates Roy Hallday and Carlos Delgado hurt the pitching and hitting. Vernon himself saw time on the disabled list for the first time in his career. Despite the highs and lows, Vernon stayed focused on improving and playing his hardest every time he stepped on the field. Although his offensive numbers fell, he still contined to improve defensively and was awarded the first of his three Gold Gloves.

Vernon rededicated himself after that season and prepared for a comeback in 2005. His hard work paid off as he once again put up impressive numbers despite less protection in the lineup. He took on more responsibility for the team's offensive production and delivered 28 homeruns, 97 RBIs and 78 runs. He also once again contributed a great deal on the defensive end, pulling in his second Gold Glove.
In 2006, Vernon delivered another strong season displaying his ability to hit both for average and power. His final line was a .303 batting average, 32 homeruns and 106 RBI's with 91 runs scored and a career high 17 stolen baess. One of the many highlights that year was a three-homerun game against the Boston Red Sox, two of which came off Cy Young winner Josh Beckett. Vernon's center field work was honored with his third Gold Glove and his second trip to the MLB All-Star Game.

In 2007, the Toronto Blue Jays were a team in transition and Vernon was challenged as a part of a line-up of other talented young players who were struggling. In addition, he battled a shoulder injury he suffered early in the season which significantly affected his power and approach at the plate. Still, Vernon had some outstanding career achievements during the 2007 season, including scoring the 500th run of his career and delivering his 1000th hit. The hit came in Vernon's 890th game of his Blue Jay career, making him the third fastest in club history to reach this milestone. Finally, Vernon surpassed the 150 career homerun mark, placing him 5th on the all-time list of Blue Jay homerun hitters.

2008 was bittersweet for Vernon and the Blue Jays. They had a strong run at the playoffs in one of the most competitive divisions in baseball. Vernon was off to a great start before he broke his wrist on May 8 while making a diving catch. He returned June 7 with a hot bat, only to find himself back on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. In all, injuries robbed Vernon of more than 50 games. Even after missing more than two months of the season, he still managed to hit 20 homeruns, (an accomplishment in five of his last six seasons,) a .300 batting average and 78 RBIs in just 108 games. Project his level of production out to a full 162 game season, Vernon could have delivered a stat line of .300, 33 homeruns, 117 RBIs and 92 run scored.

Vernon rebounded in a big way for the Blue Jays in both 2009 and 2010, playing nearly full seasons both years. In fact, 2010 proved to be one of Vernon's better seasons in his overall career. His batting average was .273, an increase from a 2009 mark of .260. His home run total climbed to 31 - seventh in the American League - while his RBIs went up to 88 and his slugging percentage went from .400 to .515, the ninth best among all American Leaguers. He also logged 78 extra-base hits, fourth best for the league. Defensively, Vernon led all American League centerfielders in fielding percentage. Together those accomplishments earned him All-Star recognition in 2010.

Vernon's injuries during the 2011 and 2012 seasons have proven to be a challenge. However, his perseverance and dedication to the game and to his team showcase the character of the proud ballplayer.

Vernon Wells takes as much pride in his defense as he does in his offense.
Saving a run with a great defensive play can be just as meaningful to a team's success as driving a runner home.
It's his dedication to being a complete baseball player that made Vernon a foundation of the Toronto Blue Jays organization for many years and keeps him a valuable player for the New York Yankees.
Through his charitable organization, the Perfect 10 Charity, Vernon and his wife, Charlene, strive to support and protect children in need.