But What Do I Know? … Bob Elliott, Mark DeRosa, Marc Rzepczynski

Canadian Baseball Card of the Week: 1991 Upper Deck Denis Boucher. This Montreal native spent parts of four seasons in the big leagues from 1991 to 1994 with the Blue Jays, Indians and Expos. He’s one of only two players (along with Rob Ducey) to begin their career with the Blue Jays and finish it with the Expos. The Canuck southpaw is also only one of four Canadians to play for both the Blue Jays and Expos (others are Matt Stairs, Rob Ducey and Shawn Hill).

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

– Congratulations to legendary Toronto Sun columnist and Canadian Baseball Network founder Bob Elliott who has been elected to the Kingston & District Sports Hall of Fame. His induction into his hometown sports shrine comes a year after he received the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s prestigious J.G. Taylor Spink Award and two years after being honoured with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Jack Graney Award.

– I’m not sure what’s more depressing: the Toronto Blue Jays’ 10-18 start or the fact that Mark DeRosa, a veteran, but little-used utility player on the club, had to be the one to call a players-only meeting on Sunday. It’s time for one of the regulars (paging Jose Bautista) to step up in the leadership department.

– This is the world we live in now: I woke up yesterday to Blue Jays prospect Marcus Stroman’s mom wishing her son a Happy Birthday on Twitter.

– Think things are bad for the Blue Jays? The 8-20 Florida Marlins had Greg Dobbs and Justin Ruggiano hitting third and fourth in their order last night.

– Very sad to hear about the death of two-time Toronto Blue Jays draftee and Newmarket, Ont., native Jake Eliopoulos on Monday. No cause of death was released, but the 21-year-old hurler’s obituary asks for donations to the Canadian Mental Health Association. If you remember back to 2009, Eliopoulos was selected in the second round (68th overall) by the Jays, but declined to accept the club’s offer of a reported $500,000 signing bonus. His baseball fortunes declined from there. He was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 15th round in 2010 and then by the Jays again in the 43rd round in 2011, but he didn’t sign with either club. He reportedly spent last summer pitching for the Michigan Jet Box, a travel team from the Detroit area, but Tommy John surgery had sidelined him this season.

– I was also saddened to hear about the death of former Vancouver Canadians reliever Brad Lesley on Saturday at the age of 54. A 1978 first-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds, the 6-foot-6 right-hander spent parts of four seasons in the big league with the Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers from 1982 to 1985. He pitched portions of his final two professional seasons in North America with the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate in Vancouver, posting 17 saves as the Canadians’ closer in 1985. Lesley toed the rubber in Japan before embarking on an acting career that saw him star in sports movies like Mr. Baseball and Little Big League. Reports indicate that he died of kidney failure.

– After being shelled for seven runs in eight innings in nine appearances this season, former Jay Marc Rzepczynski was demoted to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds by the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. Rzepczynski (whose nickname is “Scrabble” because of his lengthy last name) was the last remaining player on the Cards’ roster from the July 27, 2011 trade that saw the Blue Jays land Colby Rasmus.

– Speaking of ex-Jays left-handers, both Brian Tallet (Lancaster Barnstormers) and Rommie Lewis (York Revolution) have chosen to continue their professional careers in the independent Atlantic League.

– If you were wondering what happened to Tim Scott, a reliable reliever on the 1994 Montreal Expos, here’s an excellent piece about what he’s doing now.

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

2 thoughts on “But What Do I Know? … Bob Elliott, Mark DeRosa, Marc Rzepczynski

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  1. If you’re disappointed in the Jays’ lack of introspection or perhaps concern at their miserable start consider the fact that this malaise affected the Detroit Tigers during and after their World Series flop last year. I watched some of their biggest and best paid stars goof it up in the late innings of Game 4 as they were being swept by the Giants. Later, comments in the Detroit papers showed some of them were just happy to get there or cash their post season bonus.

    These players are not the ’92, ’93 Jays or ’84 Tigers. The certainly aren’t the 1987 Blue Jays or Tigers that fought for the Division title to the bitter end. Both of those teams had the class to be champions. I don’t know where the fire is in these players. Are they simply content to cash their cheques and let the chips fall where they may. Many of the role players on the Blue Jay/Tiger teams that I mentioned went on to regular lives after those glory days without bank loads of cash. They could also hold their heads high.

  2. So sad about Jake. Nobody should pass away that young. Scott Richmond is out there unsigned! Maybe he has the magic!

    Bob Elliott is an amazing writer and glad to see Kingston inducted him.

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