A Canadian will be playing in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game for the 17th consecutive season.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who grew up in Etobicoke, Ont., will start at first base for the National League in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic at Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y.
Toronto-born reliever Jesse Crain, who has posted a sparkling 0.74 ERA in 38 games for the Chicago White Sox this year, was selected to the American League squad, but can’t play due to a shoulder injury.
According to a list provided by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, 19 Canadians – 10 pitchers and nine position players – have been selected for the all-star game over the years.
Here’s some trivia about the Canucks that have been chosen:
– The first Canadian selected was Huntsville, Ont., native George Selkirk, an outfielder with the New York Yankees, who toiled in the 1936 contest.
– Fort William, Ont., native Jeff Heath started in right field for the American League in the 1941 all-star Game and hit fifth in their order behind Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. The Canuck slugger went 0 for 2 with a walk before being replaced by DiMaggio’s brother Dom.
– Three Canadians – Ryan Dempster, Justin Morneau and Russell Martin – were selected for the 2008 classic. This represents the highest number of Canucks ever chosen.
– The two hits Morneau recorded in that 2008 contest are the most by a Canadian in the Midsummer Classic.
– Maple Ridge, B.C., native Larry Walker’s five all-star selections (1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001) represent the most by any Canadian. Votto will play in his fourth all-star game on Tuesday.
– Fergie Jenkins (Chatham, Ont.) and Eric Gagne (Mascouche, Que.) were selected to three all-star games each – the most by a Canuck pitcher.
– Jenkins’ six strikeouts in the 1967 contest tied an all-star game record. Among the players Jenkins fanned in that game were Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew.
– No Canadian has ever hit a home run in an all-star game, but Morneau did win the 2008 Home Run Derby.
– No Canadians were selected for an all-star game between Terry Puhl (Melville, Sask.) in 1978 and Walker in 1992.
– Two Canadian pitchers – Jason Dickson (Chatham, N.B.) and Jeff Zimmerman (Kelowna, B.C) – appeared in all-star games in their rookie seasons in 1997 and 1999 respectively.
– When the all-star game was held at Olympic Stadium in Montreal on July 13, 1982, it was the first time that the Midsummer Classic had been played outside of the United States. Almost 60,000 fans crammed into The Big O to watch the National League club – which featured five Montreal Expos (Al Oliver, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Gary Carter and Steve Rogers) on its roster – defeat the American League 4-1. Rogers started the game and registered the win. Right-hander Jim Clancy was the sole Toronto Blue Jay on the American League squad. He pitched a scoreless fourth inning. It’s also interesting to note that Montreal native and Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Jim McKean umpired third base.
– On July 9, 1991, the all-star game was held at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Three Blue Jays – Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter and Jimmy Key – suited up for the American League squad, who downed a National League team, whose roster featured Montreal Expos Dennis Martinez and Ivan Calderon, 4-1. Fittingly, Key was the winning pitcher, while Martinez took the loss. Former Expo Andre Dawson homered in the fourth inning for the National League.
Some Canadian trivia about this year’s all-star game:
– Despite a disappointing 45-49 record, the Toronto Blue Jays will send five representatives to this year’s all-star game. Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar will join manager John Gibbons (named to the coaching staff) in the Big Apple for the festivities.
– Three players with Montreal Expos links were selected to this year’s all-star game. Oakland A’s righty Bartolo Colon, who won 10 games for the Expos in 2002, was named to the American League roster, while two of the then-prospects the Expos traded to Cleveland for Colon on June 27, 2002 – Brandon Phillips and Cliff Lee – will suit up for the National League squad.
– Two players who honed their skills for minor pro teams in Canada have also been selected to the all-star game. Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, who toiled for the Vancouver Canadians in the A’s organization in 2002, is on the American League roster, while Pittsburgh closer Jason Grilli, who pitched for parts of four seasons (1999 to 2002) with the Calgary Cannons in the Marlins’ system, is on the National League roster.