My weekly observations about stories around the baseball world from a Canadian perspective (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
– I was saddened to hear about the passing of former Toronto Blue Jays Latin American super scout Epy Guerrero on May 23. Among the 52 big leaguers (according to Bob Elliott) Guerrero signed are Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Tony Fernandez and soon-to-be inductee Carlos Delgado. Guerrero’s first big league scouting gig came when Canadian ball hall inductee Pat Gillick, then in charge of the Houston Astros’ farm system, hired him in 1965. When Gillick was named general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, he brought Guerrero with him to the organization. Guerrero died of kidney failure at the age of 71. For a complete list of players that he signed, follow this link: http://www.torontosun.com/2013/05/23/former-blue-jays-scout-epy-guerrero-dead-at-71
– Speaking of Tony Fernandez, I can’t help but find it strange when I hear that he’s working with players in the Texas Rangers organization. The longtime Jay was hired by the Rangers as a special assistant to the president in February 2012. You would think the Blue Jays could’ve found room for Fernandez somewhere in their organization.
– Ex-Jay update: Through 44 games with the Tampa Bay Rays this season, Kelly Johnson is batting .299 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs. His slugging percentage is a robust .571.
– When I was giving tours to kids at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in the summer of 2009, I always found it difficult to express just how good Montreal Expos pitcher Steve Rogers was during his prime. I recently completed Brodie Snyder’s book about the Montreal Expos’ 1979 season called “The Year the Expos Almost Won the Pennant!” On page 79 in that book, Snyder indicates that Sport Magazine at some point during the season asked six of the best National League hitters – Pete Rose, Ted Simmons, Bill Madlock, Dave Winfield, Steve Garvey and Dave Parker – who were the toughest pitchers to face. They ranked Rogers fourth, behind three future Hall of Famers: Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver and Gaylord Perry.
– I was wondering what longtime Expos outfielder Marquis Grissom was up to these days and discovered that he has formed his own baseball association. You can check it out here: http://www.mgba.org/ It’s also important to note that his former teammate Lenny Webster, a backup catcher on the 1994 Expos, is a coach for one of Grissom’s teams.
– I would strongly recommend Jeff Blair’s new book “Full Count: Four Decades of Blue Jays Baseball.” The book includes a number of interesting revelations from the Blue Jays’ post World Series years. For example, it was interesting to find out that the Jays met with free agent Anibal Sanchez this off-season. The club also strongly pursued closer Joe Nathan when he was a free agent after the 2011 season, but Blair writes that Anthopoulos “couldn’t overcome issues of geography and family” to finalize a deal with Nathan.
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