One trivia question that I like to ask my fellow Canadian baseball junkies is, how many players, managers or executives are members of both the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (CBHFM) and the National Baseball Hall of Fame?
With Pat Gillick and Roberto Alomar set to be honoured in Cooperstown this summer, the answer to this question had to be revised in recent months. The following eight men are Hall of Famers both north and south of the border:
Gary Carter – the longtime Montreal Expos catcher was inducted into the CBHFM in 2001 and Cooperstown in 2003. A seven-time all-star while with the Expos, Carter ranks near the top in most of the franchise’s all-time offensive categories. He was also the first player to feature an Expos cap (though begrudgingly Carter wanted the Mets cap) on his Cooperstown plaque.
Andre Dawson – inducted into the CBHFM in 2004 and inducted in Cooperstown in 2010. In the pre-steroid era, Dawson belted 438 homers, knocked in 1,591 runs, stole 314 bases, accumulated 2,774 hits and batted .279. He also won eight Gold Gloves, earned eight all-star selections and was the winner of the 1987 National MVP Award. Like Carter, he ranks near the top in most Expos’ all-time offensive categories, and like Carter, he begrudgingly accepted being pictured in an Expos cap on his Cooperstown plaque.
Tommy Lasorda – inducted into Cooperstown in 1997 and CBHFM in 2006. Best known as the Dodgers charismatic manager, Lasorda owns almost every Montreal Royals’ (longtime Brooklyn Dodgers Triple-A squad) pitching record.
Sparky Anderson – inducted into Cooperstown in 2000 and CBHFM in 2007. Like Lasorda, Anderson was best known as one of the top dugout bosses of his era, but the diamond icon played in the International League for both Montreal and Toronto. His first professional managerial job was with Toronto in 1964.
Fergie Jenkins – inducted into the CBHFM in 1987 and Cooperstown in 1991. This Chatham, Ont., had six consecutive 20-win seasons from 1967 to 1972 and recorded 284 big league wins with mostly mediocre teams (Chicago, Texas).
Jackie Robinson – inducted into Cooperstown in 1962 and posthumously into the CBHFM in 1991. Before Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s colour barrier in 1947, he was signed and eased into professional baseball with the Dodgers’ Triple-A team in Montreal in 1946. Branch Rickey reportedly sent Robinson to Montreal because of its reputation for cultural acceptance. Robinson didn’t disappoint. He hit a league-leading .349 and led the Royals to a championship.
Pat Gillick – inducted into the CBHFM in 1997 and Cooperstown in 2011. With Gillick as GM, the Toronto Blue Jays recorded 11 consecutive winning seasons (1983 to 1993), captured five division titles and won two World Championships. After leaving the Jays in 1994, Gillick guided three more franchises to post-season berths: Baltimore (1996, 1997), Seattle (2000, 2001) and Philadelphia (2007, 2008). He’s the only GM in major league history to guide four different clubs to the playoffs. When the Philadelphia Phillies won the Fall Classic in 2008, Gillick added a third championship to his resume. Now a senior advisor to the president with the Phillies, Gillick became a Canadian citizen in 2005.
Roberto Alomar – inducted into the CBHFM in 2010 and Cooperstown in 2011. The gifted second baseman was an all-star and Gold Glove winner in each of his five seasons with the Jays. And his career resume – .300 batting average, 2,724 hits, 474 stolen bases, 504 doubles, 12 all-star selections, 10 Gold Gloves and two World Series rings – should have made him a first ballot Cooperstown inductee. Unfortunately, baseball writers sentenced Alomar to a year in Hall of Fame purgatory for his infamous spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck on September 27, 1996.