But What Do I Know? … Rusty Staub, Bill Glynn, Gary Carter

Canadian Baseball Card of Week: 1987 Donruss Kirk McCaskill. Born in Kapuskasing, Ont., McCaskill was a star collegiate hockey player who was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets and made it as high as their AHL affiliate in 1983-84 before opting to focus on baseball. Selected by the California Angels in 1982 amateur draft, McCaskill recorded 12 big league wins in his rookie season in 1985 and he followed that up with 17 wins, 202 strikeouts and a 3.36 ERA in 1986. Hampered by elbow troubles for two seasons, McCaskill returned with a vengeance in 1989, finishing with 15 wins, four shutouts and a sparkling 2.93 ERA. He toed the rubber for two more seasons with the Angels, before signing with the Chicago White Sox, where he was converted into a reliever in 1993. When McCaskill called it a career in 1996, he had accumulated 106 wins, tossed 30 complete games and hurled 11 shutouts over 12 big league seasons. He currently resides in Rancho Santa Fe, California with his wife, Dana. He has three sons Riley, Reese, and Bennett.

Canadian Baseball Card of the Week: 1987 Donruss Kirk McCaskill. Born in Kapuskasing, Ont., McCaskill was a star collegiate hockey player who was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets and made it as high as their AHL affiliate in 1983-84 before opting to focus on baseball. Selected by the California Angels in the 1982 amateur draft, McCaskill recorded 12 big league wins in his rookie season in 1985 and he followed that up with 17 wins and a 3.36 ERA in 1986.  After spending his final few major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox as a reliever, McCaskill called it a career in 1996, finishing with 106 wins in 12 big league seasons. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003. He currently resides in Rancho Santa Fe, California with his wife, Dana. The couple has three sons: Riley, Reese, and Bennett.

My weekly observations about stories around the baseball world from a Canadian perspective (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):

– Last week on the Cooperstowners in Canada Facebook page, I listed the eight players, managers or executives that are members of both the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Tim Raines, one of the Canadian ball hall’s 2013 inductees, is destined to become the ninth member of this elite group, but Rusty Staub, who was honoured by the St. Marys, Ont.- based shrine in 2012, also has a shot. Later this year, the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee will create and then vote on a ballot of 12 ex-players, managers, executives or umpires who excelled in the “Expansion Era” (1972 to present). It was on this ballot in 2010 that longtime Toronto Blue Jays GM Pat Gillick was elected. Staub, who amassed 2,716 hits in 23 big league seasons, was also on the Veterans Committee ballot in 2010 and is likely to surface as a candidate again.

– An interesting piece of Canadian baseball trivia that I just read: Prior to Jason Bay’s first game with the New York Mets on April 5, 2010, the last Canadian to play a big league game for the Mets was Hamilton, Ont., native Brian Ostrosser in 1973. Ostrosser, later a member of Canada’s national softball team, played four games at shortstop and had five at bats with the Mets that season.

– Bill Glynn, who belted 48 home runs in two seasons with the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs in 1949 and 1950, passed away on January 15. Primarily a first baseman, Glynn was originally signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent in 1946. The left-handed hitting New Jersey native played parts of four seasons in the big leagues with the Phillies and Cleveland Indians, but couldn’t duplicate the power he displayed during his 11-year minor league career on a consistent basis. Although he did hit three home runs and drive in eight runs in a game on July 5, 1954 against the Detroit Tigers at Briggs Stadium. Glynn passed away in San Diego at the age of 87.

– It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since Montreal Expos great Gary Carter passed away. TSN 990’s Dave Kaufman recently spoke with Carter’s daughter Kimmy, who shared some stories about The Kid’s final days. Here’s a link to the excellent article Kaufman wrote for the Montreal Gazette: http://is.gd/DcFD5Z

– When I was reading Louis Cauz’s 1977 book about the history of baseball in Toronto called “Baseball’s back in town,” I discovered that Cito wasn’t the only Gaston to be part of the city’s professional baseball scene. A player named Welcome Gaston – yes, Welcome – pitched for the Eastern League’s Toronto Canucks in 1897 and 1898. According to Baseball Reference.com, Welcome Thornburg Gaston was born in Senecaville, Ohio on December 19, 1874. The American southpaw enjoyed his finest pro season in Toronto, when he won 16 games and pitched 268 innings in 1898. He also played three games in the outfield and toed the rubber briefly with Hamilton that year. Later that season, he pitched in two games for the National League’s Brooklyn Bridegrooms and recorded his sole big league win. He competed in one more National League game with Brooklyn the following year and finished his career with minor league stops in Dayton, Detroit, Cleveland and Colorado Springs. He died on December 13, 1944 in Columbus, Ohio.

– If you haven’t already done so, please “LIKE” the Cooperstowners in Canada Facebook page. I update this page with links to Canadian baseball stories regularly. Thanks for all your support

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