My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
With Roberto Alomar, Pat Gillick and Dave Van Horne being honoured, next Sunday’s National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will have a distinct Canadian flavor. But let’s not forget that this year represents the 20th anniversary of Fergie Jenkins’ Cooperstown enshrinement. The Chatham, Ont. native, who won 284 big league games, remains the only Canadian with a plaque in Cooperstown.
When I worked at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont., I made it one of my missions to ensure that everyone who entered the museum appreciated just how good Fergie Jenkins was. I recently stumbled upon this excellent 1991 CBC story about Jenkins. This would’ve been an excellent story to play in the museum: http://archives.cbc.ca/on_this_day/07/21/
The All-Star game reminded me once again just how bad the trade that Montreal Expos GM Omar Minaya orchestrated on June 27, 2002 was. On that day, Minaya dealt three young prospects – Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore – to the Indians in a package for Bartolo Colon. Both Lee and Phillips were on the National League All-Star team again this year.
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Eric Thames is one of the most engaging personalities to arrive on the Toronto sports scene in years. Fortunately, the ever-smiling, 24-year-old rookie can also hit. He’s batting .308 with four homers in 32 games for the Jays in 2011.
From the things that I didn’t know file: Controversial slugger, Mark McGwire, was originally selected by the Montreal Expos in the 8th round of the 1981 draft.
By my count, there were four ex-Jays on the 2011 All-Star rosters: Roy Halladay, Scott Rolen, Brandon League and Michael Young (a Jays draftee who never played in Toronto).
In his midseason report, Canadian SABR member Neil Munro noted that Trail, B.C. native Jason Bay is just three home runs short of 200 for his career. The Mets oufielder is on the brink of becoming the third Canadian to belt 200 big league homers. Larry Walker (383 homers) and Matt Stairs (265 homers) are the only other Canucks to reach that milestone.
I have to keep better tabs on ex-Blue Jays. I assumed that Ryan Roberts – the first Jay to sport a neck tattoo – was playing in the minors somewhere. It turns out that the 30-year-old, who suited up briefly with the Jays in 2006 and 2007, has 12 homers as the Diamondbacks’ everyday third baseman this season.