My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:
• When Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) doubled off of right-hander Buck Farmer in the third inning of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 8-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers on August 13, he became the 13th Canadian to collect 1,000 hits in their big league career. He also became the first Canuck catcher to record 1,000 hits in the big leagues.
• In three starts with the triple-A Buffalo Bisons, Blue Jays prized pitching prospect Daniel Norris has posted a 1.08 ERA and has struck out 32 batters in 16-2/3 innings. The 21-year-old lefty, who was a second-round pick in the 2011 MLB amateur draft, owns a combined 12-1 record and has fanned 157 in 118-1/3 innings between Class-A, double-A and triple-A this season. If the Blue Jays truly want to field their best team for their remaining 32 games, they have to call him up, don’t they?
• As a tour guide at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, I’m often asked trivia questions by our visitors. But one of the most challenging trivia questions was sent to the Hall via email earlier this week. The Hall was asked who is the only pitcher to register a win in each of Jarry Park, Olympic Stadium, Exhibition Stadium and the SkyDome/Rogers Centre (the four home parks that Canada’s major league teams have competed in)? If you have a guess, please submit it in the Comments section below. I’ll monitor your guesses. If no one gets it right, I’ll provide the answer in next week’s column.
• Condolences go out to the family of former Montreal Royals catcher Dick Teed who passed away last Sunday in Newport, Rhode Island at the age of 88. Born in Springfield, Mass., in 1926, Teed played parts of five of his 17 minor league seasons with the Royals (1950, 1955, 1958, 1959, 1960). His sole big league game came with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953. Following his playing career, he scouted for the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers until 1994 and was elected to the National Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame in 2001.
• Newmarket, Ont., native Pete Orr has likely earned himself a September call-up with the Milwaukee Brewers. The 35-year-old Canadian infielder, who has played parts of eight big league seasons with the Braves, Nationals and Phillies, is batting .302 and has rapped out 20 doubles and six triples in 105 games for the Brewers’ triple-A Nashville Sounds.
• Yesterday was the anniversary of an inning that the Toronto Blue Jays would like to forget. Thirty-one years ago yesterday, Baltimore Orioles left-hander Tippy Martinez picked off Barry Bonnell, Dave Collins and Willie Upshaw in succession in the 10th inning of a game at Memorial Stadium. In the thick of a pennant race for the first time, the Jays were trying to capitalize on the fact that infielder Lenn Sakata had been pushed into emergency catching duties. With this in mind, each of the Jays players that reached base took a substantial lead before being picked off. Sakata also got the last laugh in the bottom of the inning, when he hit a three-run, walk-off home run to give the Orioles a 7-4 win. You can watch footage of the pickoffs here.
• To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s first professional home run, which he hit at Hanlan’s Point Stadium on Toronto Island on September 5, 1914, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is selling limited edition prints (numbered to 714) for $50 each (plus shipping) that have been signed by the artist. The Hall of Fame is the only place that’s selling these and this is an important fundraiser for the new museum. To purchase one, call the Hall of Fame at 519-284-1838 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The print can be viewed here.