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 in St. Marys, Ont., is offering fans a chance to own a piece of Toronto Blue Jays history. The ball shrine is selling seats from Exhibition Stadium, the first home of the Blue Jays that has since been demolished. You can purchase four seats for $400 (plus shipping). If you want to purchase individual seats, the Hall will discuss that with you as well. You can’t buy these seats anywhere else and the money will be used to fund a number of Hall projects, including their Kids On Deck summer camps. If you’re interested in purchasing seats, please e-mail Scott Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him toll-free at 1-877-250-2255.
– Speaking of the Toronto Blue Jays, congratulations to former Jays manager Bobby Cox on his recent election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Cox is, without question, worthy of the honour, but it’s interesting to note that Cox guided his teams to one less World Series title than Cito Gaston. Cox also managed 16 more seasons than Gaston. I’m not suggesting Gaston was a better manager than Cox, but I find it interesting that Cox was a first-ballot Hall of Fame electee, while Gaston is rarely even mentioned as a candidate.
– Call me sentimental, but I loved the fact that Roy Halladay signed a one-day contract and retired as a Blue Jay. And while the debate is being on waged on whether or not he deserves a plaque in Cooperstown, “Doc” is a shoo-in to be elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2017.
– Bill Young and Danny Gallagher, authors of the excellent 2005 book “Remembering the Montreal Expos”, have joined forces again to publish another book about the club. Their recently released book is called “Ecstasy to Agony” and it focuses on the 1994 Expos squad that was solidly atop the National League East standings on August 12 that year when a player strike wiped out the rest of the season. The authors have conducted close to 100 interviews for the book. You can purchase the book for $27.95 via e-mail at email@example.com or by calling 289-200-8448 or 416-535-7738.
– Happy Birthday to Canadian catcher Luke Carlin, who turns 33 today. Carlin, who attended high school in Hull, Que., has played parts of four seasons in the big leagues with the San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cleveland Indians. He’s currently a free agent.
– If you’re a lover of long-form sports journalism, Pat Jordan’s piece on the reclusive Tom Seaver, who now devotes his time to growing grapes, is a must-read. You can read it here.
– Fox Sports baseball scribe Jon Paul Morosi is reporting that Toronto-born reliever Jesse Crain is drawing interest from multiple teams on the free agent market. The Canuck right-hander posted a miniscule 0.74 ERA in 38 games with the Chicago White Sox in 2013, before a shoulder injury wiped out the rest of his season. Previous reports had linked Crain to the Houston Astros.
– It seems like just yesterday that Eric Thames looked like a legitimate big league hitter, but the ex-Jay has struggled since Toronto dealt him to Seattle for Steve Delabar on July 30, 2012. After failing to crack the Mariners’ roster out of spring training this year, Thames was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles on June 30. He never played a big league game for the Orioles before they placed him on waivers on September 5, where he was claimed by the Houston Astros. On December 9, the Astros announced that they were releasing Thames so he could pursue a contract offer to play in Korea in 2014.
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