George Bell and Tim Raines will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont., on June 30.
Most Canadians remember Bell as a power-hitting left-fielder with the Toronto Blue Jays and Raines as a fleet-footed, leadoff hitter for the Montreal Expos, but these two all-stars were also teammates with the Chicago White Sox in 1992 and 1993. Right-handed pitcher Kirk McCaskill, who was born in Kapuskasing, Ont., and was elected to the Canadian ball hall in 2003, was also a member of those two White Sox squads.
I woke up this morning wondering whether Bell and Raines had ever hit a home run in the same game while they were teammates (Yes, I do need a life). If you’re a Canadian baseball geek like myself, you might find the results of my research on Retrosheet.org fascinating.
Yes, Bell and Raines did, in fact, homer in the same game. They did it twice in two contests within 10 days of each other in September 1992. And just who was the winning pitcher in both of those games? Yes, you guessed it, none other than Kirk McCaskill. And if you want another interesting piece of Canuck baseball trivia: Montreal native and 2004 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Jim McKean was on the umpiring crew in both games.
The first time these 2013 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductees went deep in the same game was on September 18, 1992 in the White Sox 8-7 win over the Cleveland Indians at Cleveland Stadium. Batting fourth and DHing, Bell socked a solo shot off of Indians right-hander Dave Mlicki in the third inning. Not to be outdone, Raines, hitting in the two-hole and starting in left field that day, belted a solo homer of his own off Mlicki in the fifth. It was hardly McCaskill’s best pitching performance, but the Canadian righty scattered six runs over five innings, just good enough to record his 10th win of the campaign. All of this happened under McKean’s watchful eye as the second-base umpire.
But it was 10 days later that this trio of Canadian Baseball Hall of Famers would truly shine for the White Sox. In their club’s 9-4 drubbing of the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome on September 28, Raines and Bell both homered off of ex-Blue Jay Mauro Gozzo in the seventh inning. Raines’s round-tripper was a three-run shot and he finished with three hits and five RBIs on the day. Bell’s performance was almost as good. Though no one was on base when he clubbed his homer, he added two other hits and two more RBIs. For his part, McCaskill was much sharper than he was in his September 18 start, holding the Twins to one run on five hits in seven innings to even his won/loss record at 12-12. McKean was the third base umpire for this contest.
So it seems fitting that Bell and Raines will now have a plaque alongside McCaskill’s in the Canadian ball shrine. After all, they were the key offensive contributors in his two wins that September.
Two September games, three Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame teammates and one Canuck umpire – today’s research was enough to make this Canadian baseball geek’s day.