*Courtesy of www.baseballhalloffame.ca
**Please note this is part 1 of a two-part post.
The original face of the Montreal Expos, the current mastermind of the Milwaukee Brewers, the legendary left-hander from Moncton, N.B. and the reigning gold medalists from the 2011 Pan Am Games will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame at 11:00 am on Saturday, June 23, 2012.
The ceremony for Rusty Staub, Doug Melvin, Rheal Cormier and Team Canada (represented by field manager Ernie Whitt, GM Greg Hamilton, and as many players that can be rounded up) will take place on Hall’s ceremonial grounds in St. Marys, Ont. The ceremony will be part of a festival of events that will include a celebrity slo-pitch game on the Thursday evening and a celebrity golf classic on Friday.
Daniel Joseph Staub, born April 1, 1944 in New Orleans, La., and nicknamed “Rusty” for his red hair, was affectionately known as “Le Grande Orange” to Expos fans for the same reason.
Staub was an an All-Star three times as Expo (1969, 1970 and 1971). He also toiled for the Expos in 1979. The left-handed slugger played a total of 518 games for the Expos, amassing 531 hits, 81 home runs and 284 RBIs. He also compiled a .295 batting average (fourth best in Expos history), a .402 on-base percentage (1st), a .497 slugging percentage (2nd) and an .899 OPS (2nd).
His attempts to learn the French language and his charitable work off the field also endeared him to the French-Canadian fans. His uniform number (10) was the first jersey ever retired by the Expos.
Staub is the only player in Major League history to chalk up more than 500 hits for four different teams (Houston, Montreal, Detroit, New York Mets). He, along with Ty Cobb and Gary Sheffield, are the only players to hit a home run in the major leagues before the age of 20 and after the age of 40. The burly outfielder/first baseman hit at least one home run in 23 consecutive seasons, third-best all-time behind Ricky Henderson (25) and Cobb (24). Staub’s 2,951 games played rank him 12th all-time, and of those 12, only he and Pete Rose are not yet inducted into Cooperstown.
“It’s very gratifying to be recognized as a special player, especially when the award is of such ilk,” said Staub from his home in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“For me, it’s even more special because of my relationships with so many people in Montreal, Quebec and all over Canada. I have shared some great memories of my career during the time the Expos introduced Major League baseball to Canada. My first three years in Montreal were great times. To help establish our franchise all over Canada was one of the fondest periods of my career. I sincerely would like to thank the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for honouring me.”
Rheal Cormier, born April 23, 1967, in Moncton, N.B., pitched 16 seasons in the major leagues, the third most by a Canadian behind Fergie Jenkins and Matt Stairs (tied with 19), and Larry Walker (17). His 683 games pitched for St. Louis (1991-‘94), Boston (1995, 1999-‘00), Montreal (1996-‘97), Philadelphia (2001-‘06), and Cincinnati (2006-‘07) represent the most appearances by a Canuck behind Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Paul Quantrill (841).
Cormier was drafted in the sixth round in 1988 by the St. Louis Cardinals, and was one of only eight Canucks selected that year. He finished his Major League career with 71 wins, a 4.03 ERA, 1,221 innings pitched, and 760 strikeouts. His best season was 2003 with the Phillies, where he finished with an 8-0 record, a 1.70 ERA, pitching 84 innings and allowing just 54 hits. Having only played twice in the post-season, in 1995 and 1999 (both with Boston), Cormier pitched in eight games, compiling a 1.08 ERA over eight innings with 10 strikeouts.
Cormier also pitched for Canada’s 1985 Junior National Team, as well as for Team Canada at the 1987 Pan Am Games and Intercontinental Cup, the 1988 and 2008 Olympic Summer Games, and in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. In 1996, the Expos nominated him for the True Value Roberto Clemente Award for his involvement in several school programs in New Brunswick and because he was a spokesman for a teenage anti-suicide and anti-drug campaigns.
“This is an unbelievable honour to have been chosen and mentioned in the same breath as the great Canadians who have been inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame before me,” stated Cormier from his home in Park City, Utah.