*Courtesy of www.baseballhalloffame.ca
**Please note this is part 2 of a two-part post.
Doug Melvin, born August 8, 1952, is Chatham, Ontario’s second-most famous baseball man, behind Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins. The Milwaukee Brewers general manager since 2002 had a brief pitching career in the minor leagues from 1972 to 1978 with Pittsburgh and the New York Yankees. After hanging up his spikes, he held several administrative jobs, including tenures as a baseball operations assistant with the Yankees in 1983-‘84, scouting director with the Yankees in 1985, special assistant to general manager Roland Hemond in 1987 with the Baltimore Orioles, assistant GM and director of player personnel from 1988 to 1993 with the Orioles.
He then landed his first general manager’s job from 1994 to 2001 with the Texas Rangers. Melvin was noted for signing superstar Alex Rodriquez to a 10-year, $250 million dollar contract on January 26, 2001. After a brief stint in minor league operations with the Boston Red Sox, Melvin was named executive vice president and general manager of the Brewers on September 26, 2002. He is the eighth general manager in Brewers history, and is currently under contract through the 2012 season. Melvin ended 25-year playoff droughts in both Texas and Milwaukee.
Melvin was named 2011 Baseball Executive of the Year by Baseball America after the team won a franchise-record 96 games and the National League Central Division title. Melvin was also awarded Co-Executive of the Year by The Sporting News along with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski.
In addition to being inducted into the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, Melvin captured Executive of the Year Awards in 1996 and 1998. The Chatham native is one of five Canadians to become a major league general manager. George Selkirk of the Washington Senators, Murray Cook of the New York Yankees, Montreal Expos and Cincinnati Reds, Gord Ash of the Toronto Blue Jays and current Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos are also on that list.
Doug and his wife Ellen have also been visible in the Milwaukee community, making a yearly commitment to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness. In appreciation of the community support, they donate $25,000 a year to selected programs through the Brewers Community Foundation. Doug and Ellen have two children, Ashley and Cory. Cory is in his fourth season in the organization as a professional scout. Melvin’s parents, Art and Bernice, as well as his brother Andy and sister Chris still reside in Chatham.
“I am surprised and excited and honoured to hear the news of my induction, and I hope that my induction continues to bring awareness to those who aspire a front office career in our great game,” said Melvin from his home in Milwaukee, Wis.
“Two Hall of Famers set high standards for Canadians in baseball. Fergie Jenkins inspired me as a player and Pat Gillick inspired me as a front office executive. Since my little league days in Chatham in the 1960’s, baseball in Canada has grown rapidly with increased participation and the awareness that Canada can compete with any other country. The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is the driving force that energizes the youth of Canadian baseball with its programs. Their hard work to preserve Canada’s baseball heritage is also recognized, respected and appreciated throughout the country and the baseball industry.”
2011 Team Canada Senior National Team
The 2011 Team Canada Senior National Team, managed by Hall of Famer Ernie Whitt, had a storybook year securing their first-ever gold medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games, held in Guadalajara, Mexico. That triumph followed their second consecutive bronze medal at the World Cup, held in Panama City.
Canada is now ranked sixth in the world by the International Baseball Federation, its highest ranking ever. While Canada is also peaking at the Major League level, with a record 26 Canucks having seen big league time in 2011, Whitt only had three ex-major leaguers on his roster in Scott Richmond, Shawn Hill and Mike Johnson. The team’s business manager was Windsor’s Bernie Soulliere, who was inducted into the Ball Hall with Whitt in 2009. Fellow Windsorite third base coach Stubby Clapp was a member of Canada’s 1991 World Jr. gold medal-winning team that was inducted into the Ball Hall in 1992.
At the Pan Am Games, Canada opened with a 5-4 win over Puerto Rico, and then lost to Cuba 9-5. After beating Venezuela 4-1, which qualified them for the medal round, Team Canada edged the host Mexico 5-3 in the semi-finals, and took down the undefeated USA 2-1 to win gold.
In the World Cup, where Canada has only won two medals ever, Whitt’s troops opened with four consecutive victories, winning 9-1 over Puerto Rico, handling World Baseball Classic defending champion Japan 3-1, a mercy-rule 12-2 spanking of Greece, and 4-0 shutout of Chinese Taipei. Following a 12-3 loss to Panama, Canada then beat The Netherlands 5-4 and took down the USA 6-1. Australia then handed the Canucks their second loss 7-0, but Canada rebounded with a 7-0 win over Venezuela and a 4-0 blanking of South Korea to complete the qualifying round. Cuba came on strong to beat the Canadians 8-2 in the semi-finals, and rainy weather prevented the bronze medal game against the USA from being played.
“I’ve got chills up and down all over again,” gleamed Whitt. “I am just thrilled to hear this great news, first for the players that work so hard to represent Canada and finally bringing home the gold, and secondly, I was so happy for Greg (Hamilton) and his staff who has work so hard with Baseball Canada.”
Hamilton, the coach and director of Baseball Canada’s national team programs, who was recently named the most influential person in Canadian baseball, was also elated to hear the news.
“It’s an absolute honour for our players, coaches and staff to be enshrined as a team in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame,” he said from his home in Ottawa.
“We are all so very proud of the opportunity to wear our country’s colours in international competition, and to have our team’s accomplishments recognized and associated with Canadian baseball excellence is simply special.”