Big leaguers born on Christmas and their Canadian connections

Former Montreal Expo Charlie Lea would've been 57 on Christmas day.
Former Montreal Expo Charlie Lea would’ve been 57 on Christmas day.

After he broke Lou Brock’s stolen base record on May 1, 1991, Rickey Henderson famously anointed himself “the greatest of all-time.”

With such conceit, it seems fitting that Henderson would share a birthday with Jesus. Though most recall the cocky stolen base king as an all-star with the Oakland A’s, Blue Jays fans will remember his stint with the 1993 World Series-winning team.

But while the “Man of Steal” is the most well known, Christmas-born big leaguer, he isn’t the only one with a Canadian connection. Here’s a rundown of some of the others:

1. Bruce Walton
The former Jays pitching coach was born on Christmas in 1962. Walton also pitched 27 games in the big leagues, including four relief appearances with Montreal in 1993 and 40 contests with the Expos’ Triple-A affiliate Ottawa Lynx in that same year.

2. Marty Pevey
The former Jays coach shares a birthday with Walton. Pevey played just 13 games in the majors, all of them with the Expos in 1989.

3. Scott Bullett
Born in Martinsburg, West Virginia in 1968, Bullett now lives in Welland, Ont. He suited up for parts of four major league seasons with the Pirates and Cubs and recorded a .233 batting average in 247 games.

4. Charlie Lea
Born in France in 1956, but raised in Tennesse, Lea was one of the Expos most effective starting pitchers in the early ’80s. On May 10, 1981, he became the only Montreal pitcher to toss a no-hitter at Olympic Stadium. Sadly, Lea passed away after suffering a heart attack on November 21, 2011.

5. Wallace Johnson
From 1981 to 1990, Johnson, born in 1956, served as the Expos’ top pinch hitter. In 428 games, he hit .255.

6. Manny Trillo
Even the most diehard Expos fan would have a hard time remembering that Trillo, a three-time Gold Glove second baseman with the Phillies, toiled for the Expos for 31 games in 1983. Trillo was born in 1950.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Published by cooperstownersincanada

Kevin Glew is a professional writer based in London, Ontario. His work has been featured on CBC Sports,, and He has also written articles for Baseball Digest, Baseball America, The Hockey News, Sports Market Report and the Canadian Baseball Network. He has been involved with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for more than 16 years, including a two-year stint as the museum's acting curator.

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