My weekly observations about stories around the baseball world from a Canadian perspective (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
– The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame added a game-worn Pittsburgh Pirates Justin Morneau jersey to their collection this week (pictured below). Morneau only wore No. 36 with Pittsburgh for a brief period before switching to No. 66. With Morneau unlikely to return to the Pirates, this jersey will represent another rare item that the St. Marys, Ont.-based shrine can display in their room dedicated to active Canadians.
– Baseball Canada announced this week that Jason Bay (Trail, B.C.) will become the sixth member of the organization’s Wall of Excellence. The Canuck outfielder, who has belted 222 career homers (third-most by a Canadian), joins Larry Walker, Justin Morneau, Joey Votto, Ernie Whitt and Ryan Dempster on the exclusive wall. Bay will be honoured at Baseball Canada’s annual fundraising banquet to take place on January 11 at the Renaissance Toronto Hotel at the Rogers Centre. This banquet is one of the can’t miss Canadian baseball events of the year. For more information on how you can attend, follow this link.
– The National Baseball Hall of Fame has unveiled the 12 players, managers and executives who will be on this year’s Veterans Committee Expansion Era ballot. Managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa seem like no-brain selections. They are joined on the ballot by late Yankees skipper Billy Martin, his former boss George Steinbrenner and trailblazing former MLBPA executive director Marvin Miller. Six former players will also be considered: Dave Parker, Tommy John, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Dan Quisenberry and Ted Simmons. Two of the candidates have Blue Jays links: Cox served as the Jays manager from 1982 to 1985 and Parker played for the Jays at the end of the 1991 season. Two others also have Canadian links: LaRussa played for the Vancouver Mounties in 1968 and Tommy John was the pitching coach for the Triple-A Edmonton Trappers in 2003. To be inducted, candidates must receive 12 votes from a 16-member committee that consists of Hall of Famers, baseball writers, executives and historians. Results will be announced on December 9 at 10 a.m. ET.
– Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) was named the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Wilson Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday. Unlike the Gold Glove award, this accolade is based an extensive analysis of defensive statistics. Martin threw out a Major League-leading 36 runners in 2013 and was a calming force behind the plate for a young Bucs’ pitching staff which finished with the third-best ERA in the National League (3.26).
– In case you were wondering if Brett Lawrie could slam dunk a basketball or play ping pong, I present to you the Blue Jays third baseman’s Viddy page. On this page, Lawrie has posted videos of himself that showcase his prowess in other sports.
– I was saddened to learn that former Ottawa Lynx right-hander Mark Small passed away on October 22 at the age of 45. There’s no cause of death listed in his obituary, but the Portland, Oregon native leaves behind his wife Shari and two children Ryan (14) and Shaylee (10). Selected by the Houston Astros in the 17th round of the 1989 MLB amateur draft, Small pitched in 16 big league games for the Astros in 1996. He spent parts of 12 seasons in the minors, including his final two with the Montreal Expos’ Triple-A affiliate in Ottawa in 1999 and 2000.
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