My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
The Toronto Blue Jays have recalled seven different pitchers from their Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas ’51s this season. Unfortunately, none of them have been named Scott Richmond. The 32-year-old Vancouver native has started 13 games in Vegas and has posted five wins and a 5.89 ERA.
Thanks to Devon Teeple, at The GM Perspective (http://thegmsperspective.com/news/index.html?article_id=235), for his update on former Expo and Blue Jay Shawn Hill (Georgetown, Ont.) who has tossed 27-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings for the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League. Hill, who posted a 2.61 ERA in four starts in 2010, might be worth a look from the Jays while Kyle Drabek and Brandon Morrow recover from their injuries.
Another day, another Ryan Dempster trade rumour. The latest has the Sechelt, B.C. native heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In the last year of a four-year, $52-million deal, the durable right-hander has posted a miniscule 2.31 ERA in 11 starts for the last-place Cubs this season. With 10 years of big league service and five with the same club, Dempster can veto any trade, but he has indicated that he’s open to a deal. The Dodgers are in first place in the National League West and have the best record in baseball.
Even the best managers aren’t right all the time. When the legendary Gene Mauch, who later became the first bench boss of the Montreal Expos, was managing the Phillies in April 1966, he didn’t hesitate to trade the pride of Chatham, Ont., Fergie Jenkins, to the Cubs. Mauch told a Philadelphia newspaper that the young right-hander “didn’t have a big league fastball.” 284 wins and a Hall of Fame plaque later, I think we can safely say that Mauch was wrong.
Speaking of Fergie Jenkins, whenever I watch interleague play I think of how much the Chatham, Ont., native would’ve enjoyed it. In his Cy Young-award winning season in 1971, not only did Jenkins win 24 games and pitch 30 complete games, he also belted six home runs and recorded a .478 slugging percentage.
One of the better Toronto Blue Jays player biographies is Ernie Whitt’s book, Catch: A Major League Life (co-written by Greg Cable). I recently read the book for a second time. The book recounts the Toronto Blue Jays’ disappointing 1988 season in which the club finished 87-75 from Whitt’s perspective. What I didn’t know (or had forgotten since the first time I read the book) was that Dave Stieb and Jesse Barfield both demanded trades that season. Whitt also notes that Tom Henke was also open to being dealt. So it wasn’t just George Bell – who rebelled against being made a full-time DH that season – that was unhappy.
If you’re on Twitter, a very interesting follow is @94ExposRedux. This account rehashes the Expos’ successful, yet ill-fated 1994 campaign. The club owned the best record in baseball (74-40) when the strike wiped out the rest of the regular season and the World Series.