My weekly observations about stories around the baseball world from a Canadian perspective (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
– Scott Crawford, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s director of operations, reports that Port Dover, Ont., native John Axford has set two Canadian pitching records this post-season. The right-handed reliever has made five playoff appearances for the Cardinals this October giving him 11 for his career to surpass Eric Gagne (Mascouche, Que.) for the most games pitched by a Canuck. And Axford’s three strikeouts in Game 1 of the World Series give him 16 postseason Ks, catapulting him over Jeff Francis (North Delta, B.C.) for the all-time Canadian lead.
– Gibsons, B.C., native Ryan Dempster was less dominant than Axford when he pitched the ninth inning for the Red Sox in Game 1 of the World Series. Nevertheless, as Bob Elliott reported in today’s Toronto Sun, the appearance of both Dempster and Axford in that contest marked the first time that two Canadians have pitched in the same playoff contest since Game 1 of the 2007 World Series when Francis started for the Colorado Rockies and Gagne tossed a scoreless ninth for the Red Sox.
– It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since Joe Carter’s World Series-winning home run off of Phillies closer Mitch Williams ended the 1993 World Series. For people like me who wonder where the artifacts from moments like this end up, here’s a summary: the batting helmet Carter wore and the home plate he touched are on display at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont. The bat is showcased in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and the ball landed in the Jays’ bullpen where coach John Sullivan retrieved it and presented it to Carter after the game. The ball is still in Carter’s possession.
– My sympathies go out to former Blue Jay and longtime national team member Adam Loewen (Surrey, B.C.) on the passing of his father, Allen, at the age of 61. Baseball Canada shared this sad news with Canadian baseball community last week. The elder Loewen was reportedly cleaning the gutters on his house when he fell off a ladder. He slipped into a coma and died on October 16. Allen was a beloved teacher and volleyball coach in Ladner, B.C. until his retirement a couple of years ago. He’s also survived by his wife Anne, son Aaron and sister Adrienne.
– I was also saddened to learn that ex-big leaguer Rudy Minarcin passed away on October 15 at the age of 83. The six-foot, 195-pound right-hander pitched in 70 big league games with the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox from 1955 to 1957. He also toed the rubber for parts of three seasons (1954, 1958, 1959) for the Triple-A Toronto Maple Leafs. One of his finest seasons as a pro came in 1954, when he posted an 11-2 record and a 3.60 ERA in 26 contests for the Leafs. After retiring from baseball, Minarcin reportedly returned to his hometown of Vandergrift, Pa., and took over his father’s grocery store.
– St. Louis Cardinals first base coach Chris Maloney has been coaching and managing in the professional ranks for over 20 years, but the best winning percentage (.737) he ever registered as a manager came with the Cards’ Class-A Short-Season Hamilton Redbirds in 1992, when he led the Canadian club to a league-best 56-20 record.
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great Canadian records being set this year! Axford and Martin!!
What a loss for Adam. Hope he’s doing ok.
Canadian connections all over the place Kevin. Had no idea Chris managed in Canada.
Congratulations to John Axford. Making us Canadians proud!