St. Marys, Ont. – Longtime Montreal Expos broadcaster Rodger Brulotte has been named the winner of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2013 Jack Graney Award.
The St. Marys, Ont.-based shrine presents this award annually to a member of the media who has made significant contributions to baseball in Canada through their life’s work.
“Mel Didier, Jim Fanning, John McHale and Charles Bronfman gave me an unbelievable opportunity to join the Expos organization in 1969,” reflected Brulotte, after he was informed he would receive the Hall’s broadcasting honour. “Throughout the years I have been very fortunate to work with Jacques Doucet and Denis Casavant. I am very touched to be honored and it has been a privilege for me to share, with the numerous baseball fans, my passion for the game.”
“Rodger Brulotte’s name has become synonymous with the Montreal Expos and with baseball in Quebec,” said Scott Crawford, the Hall’s director of operations. “Over the past three decades, he has become one of the most respected baseball broadcasters and analysts in our country. He’s also very passionate about baseball at the grassroots level and is a tireless advocate for Quebec players.”
Brulotte began working in the Montreal Expos’ scouting department in their inaugural 1969 season. The following year, he was named administrative assistant to the team’s director of scouting, Mel Didier.
His knowledge, charisma and strong work ethic later landed him prominent roles in the Expos’ public relations and marketing department and as the team’s travelling secretary in 1977 and 1978. Brulotte also contributed to the creation of Youppi, the Expos’ popular mascot who was often a greater ballpark attraction than the players.
In 1983, Brulotte was hired to work broadcasts on the Expos’ French radio network alongside Jacques Doucet. For close to two decades, he teamed with Doucet to call many of the franchise’s most famous moments, including Pete Rose’s 4,000th hit on April 13, 1984 and Dennis Martinez’s perfect game on July 28, 1991.
Along the way, his trademark catchphrases – such as “Bonsoir, elle est partie.” (Good night, it’s gone), which he uttered when the Expos belted a homer – became part of Expos fans’ vernacular.
Brulotte’s resume also boasts more than 20 years on TV in which he has served as an analyst on Expos broadcasts, all-star games and post-season contests. He and his RDS’ Expos TV partner, Denis Casavant, were nominated for a Gemeaux Award – the French language equivalent to a Gemini Award – for excellence in sports broadcasting in 1991 and 1993.
For the past two seasons, Brulotte has been reunited with Doucet to broadcast Toronto Blue Jays games in French for TVA-Sports. He also pens a weekly column for Le Journal de Montréal during the baseball season.
Away from the mike, Brulotte has served as director of the Baseball Academy of Canada and is currently president of the Quebec Junior Elite Baseball League and a dedicated member of Encore Baseball Montreal, an organization that promotes baseball to youth in the city.
Born in St. Thomas, Ont., Jack Graney was a scrappy leadoff hitter for the Cleveland Indians. His big league resume boasts a number of firsts. When he walked to the plate in a game against the Boston Red Sox on July 11, 1914, he became the first batter to face Babe Ruth. Almost two years later, on June 26, 1916, he was the first major leaguer to bat wearing a number on his uniform. After hanging up his spikes, Graney became the first ex-player to make the transition to the broadcast booth, performing radio play-by-play for the Indians from 1932 to 1953.
Previous Winners of the Jack Graney Award:
1987 – Neil MacCarl – Toronto Star
1988 – Milt Dunnell – Toronto Star
1990 – Austin “Dink” Carroll – Montreal Gazette
1991 – Joe Crysdale & Hal Kelly – CKEY
1996 – Dave Van Horne – Montreal Expos
2001 – Tom Cheek – Toronto Blue Jays
2002 – Ernie Harwell – Detroit Tigers
2003 – Allan Simpson – Baseball America
2004 – Jacques Doucet – Montreal Expos
2005 – Len Bramson – TBS Sports
2009 – Ian MacDonald – Montreal Gazette
2010 – Bob Elliott – Sun Media & canadianbaseballnetwork.com
2011 – W. P. Kinsella – “Shoeless Joe” novel adapted to film “Field of Dreams”
2012 – Jerry Howarth – Toronto Blue Jays
2013 – Rodger Brulotte – Montreal Expos, Toronto Blue Jays