But What Do I Know? … Justin Morneau, Phillippe Aumont, Montreal Expos

The Minnesota Twins cap (back left) that Justin Morneau wore in the game in which he belted his 200th career homer on August 6 is one of the many artifacts that pay tribute to the New Westminster, B.C., native at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont.. (Photo Courtesy of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame)

My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):

 The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont., has added two exciting, new artifacts. New Westminster, B.C., native Justin Morneau has donated the cap (pictured above) he wore in the August 6th game against the Cleveland Indians in which he belted his 200th career homer. While the pride of Gatineau, Que., Phillippe Aumont forwarded the Philadelphia Phillies cap (pictured below) he wore in his big league debut on August 23.

 It’s been a miserable season for Jason Bay with the New York Mets, but in the first inning of Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins, the Trail, B.C., native socked his fifth career grand slam. With that homer, he now possesses the fourth-most big league grand slams by a Canadian. Prior to that four-bagger, he was tied with Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.), George Selkirk (Huntsville, Ont.) and Jeff Heath (Fort William, Ont.) who have socked four bases-loaded blasts each, according to a list compiled by veteran Canadian baseball statistician Neil Munro. Saint John, N.B., native Matt Stairs has the most career grand slams by a Canadian with 12, followed by Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) and Morneau who have belted seven and six respectively.

 Just how bad has Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Kelly Johnson been this season? Well, on top being on pace to set the Jays’ single-season record for most strikeouts, his slugging percentage (.362) is lower than that of the light-hitting John McDonald (.423). And Johnny Mac was more less a throw in, in the trade that saw the Jays ship Aaron Hill to Arizona for Johnson on August 23, 2011. For the record, Hill owns a .500 slugging percentage and leads National League second baseman in almost every offensive category this season.

 In another excellent article for the Canadian Baseball Network, veteran statistician Neil Munro was able to uncover that 46 home runs have been hit by Canadian big league hitters off of Canadian pitchers. This has actually happened four times this season. Morneau and George Kottaras (Scarborough, Ont.) have gone deep off of Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, B.C.), while Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) and Martin have homered off of Scott Diamond (Guelph, Ont.) and Jesse Crain (Toronto, Ont.) respectively. For a complete list, follow this link: http://www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com/articles/morneau-deep-off-canuck-dempster-its-been-done-before/

 I was sad to hear that former Montreal Royal and Toronto Maple Leaf Ed Stevens passed away at the age of 87 on July 22. Best known as the player whom Jackie Robinson replaced at first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Stevens spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues with the Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. His greatest professional success, however, came during his tenures with the Montreal Royals (1944 and 1945) and Toronto Maple Leafs (1952 to 1956). “Big Ed” – as he was affectionately nicknamed – drove  in more than 90 runs in five of the seven seasons that he played on Canadian soil.

 And finally, here’s some video footage of the 200 or so Expos fans that made the trek to the Rogers Centre on Sunday to send a message that Montreal is still passionate about baseball. At the 1:59 mark of the video, former Expos manager Jim Fanning visits and is greeted with a standing ovation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpElIsZIf0A

8 thoughts on “But What Do I Know? … Justin Morneau, Phillippe Aumont, Montreal Expos

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  1. From former Toronto Blue Jay Paul Hodgson:

    Hi Kevin
    Thanks , I enjoyed the read.

    Here’s a question for you. Edmonton’s David Shipanoff. A former teammate, roommate and big leaguer with the Phillies.
    Ever hear of him, where he is now ?

    Also, have you ever talked to Stairs about the Saint John thing. He may have been born there, but I don’t think so.
    Far as I know, he was born in Tay Creek NB and grew up a couple miles down the road from me in Nashwaaksis, a suburb of Fredericton.
    We played together in Senior ball in 1987 and I don’t remember Saint John being in the mix at all.
    The ” native of Saint John” has been with him for a longtime, maybe he wants it that way.
    Just wonderin’
    Thanks Kevin 🙂

    1. Hi Paul,

      Thanks for the note.

      I don’t know what Shipanoff is doing, but I would love to track him down. I’ll do some digging and let you know.

      Yeah, I’ve interviewed Stairs and I didn’t ask him about the Saint John thing, but I do hesitate when I write Saint John native. The next time I run into him (maybe at the Baseball Canada banquet in January), I’ll ask him.

      Thanks as always for your comment.



  2. The Twins and Phillies make it so easy for the Hall of Fame to collect artifacts from the Canadian players. thank you. 21 have played in the MLB this season.

    Great to see Jim Fanning at the Jays game.
    Thanks Kevin.

  3. Thanks so much for bringing Neil Munro’s piece to my attention Kevin. Like you, he is always an interesting read!!! Tom

  4. From Devon Teeple:

    Tonnes of great information here Kevin.

    The Kelly Johnson experiment in T.O. is hopefully over. He is not doing the job and has cost them $6.5 million.

    And its great to see the Canadian Hall get some great artifacts. Its always great to read about contributions there because its amazing piece of baseball history, and a place any Canadian, or baseball fan for that matter, should visit.

    Thanks again for writing this.

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