My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
Admittedly, I’ve been feeling nostalgic about the Montreal Expos lately, but last night I concocted a 2013 Toronto Blue Jays’ coaching staff comprised entirely of 1981 Expos. This is merely a pipe dream and not to be taken seriously, but how about a 2013 Jays’ staff that includes Tim Wallach (manager), Chris Speier (bench coach), Jerry White (first base coach), Wallace Johnson (third base coach), Tim Raines (baserunning coach), Ray Burris (pitching coach) and Bobby Ramos (bullpen coach). Speier, White, Johnson and Ramos would all have big league experience at their respective positions, while Wallach has managed professionally in the minors and Burris has been the pitching coach for the Detroit Tigers’ Double-A Erie Seawolves for the past five seasons. Raines has been a big league coach and a minor league manager. And hey if Wallach should falter as manager, Brad Mills and Jerry Manuel, both 1981 Expos who have since managed in the big leagues, are also available.
Much has been written about who will be on the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s ballot this fall, but what ex-players will be on the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s ballot for the first time? Blue Jays’ great Carlos Delgado headlines the list of first-timers for the Canuck ball shrine that also includes Corey Koskie (Anola, Man.) and Eric Gagne (Montreal, Que.). Just a reminder that anyone can nominate a player, manager or executive for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. You can read about the nomination process here: http://baseballhalloffame.ca/news/nominations-due-soon-3/ Nominations must be received by December 1.
Speaking of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, they have broken ground on a fourth diamond (see photo above) that will be located on their beautiful, 32-acre site in St. Marys, Ontario. Scott Crawford, the Hall’s director of operations, says this diamond will be used for slo-pitch and youth baseball games. Crawford is hoping the new field will be ready by July 1, 2013.
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame will also be launching its annual Christmas silent auction starting tomorrow. This fundraiser, which will run until December 14, will feature over 50 items, including some great autographed memorabilia, jerseys, bats, balls and non baseball items like gift certificates, books and furniture. Starting tomorrow, you can check out the the Hall’s website for information and updates: http://baseballhalloffame.ca/
When Indians flamethrower Bob Feller tossed a no-hitter on Opening Day on April 16, 1940 – the only Opening Day no-hitter in big league history – the Cleveland player that scored the only run for the Indians in the 1-0 win was Feller’s Canadian roommate Jeff Heath (pictured above). Heath, who hailed from Fort William, Ont., singled in the fourth inning and scored on a triple by catcher Rollie Hemsley. Heath, who was playing left field that day, was beginning his fifth big league season. In all, he played 14 years in the majors and belted 194 homers. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.
It’s fun to remember Pascual Perez, who was murdered in a home burglary in the Dominican Republic on November 1, for his eephus pitch, his driving escapades on I-285 and for trying to hold runners on first base by watching them between his legs. But people forget just how well Perez pitched for the Montreal Expos. In 1987, Perez went 7-0 with a 2.30 ERA in 10 starts for the Expos. And for an encore the following campaign, he recorded 12 wins, a tidy 2.44 ERA, and limited opponents to 133 hits in 188 innings to record a National League best .941 WHIP (Walks/Hits Per Innings Pitched).