My weekly observations about stories around the baseball world from a Canadian perspective:
– Two of Canada’s greatest baseball players took to Twitter this morning to express their thoughts on the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team’s 3-0 victory over Sweden in the gold medal game. “GO CRAZY PEOPLE! GO CRAZY! #canadagold,” tweeted Larry Walker (@Cdnmooselips33). Matt Stairs (@mstairs12) added, “Congratulations to Team Canada for winning gold!”
– Vancouver, B.C., native and ex-Toronto Blue Jay, Scott Richmond, signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers on Saturday. The 34-year-old right-hander made 20 starts for the Rangers’ Triple-A Round Rock Express in 2013. He last pitched in the big leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays on Canada Day in 2012.
– Ex-Blue Jay Mark Teahen, who was born in Redlands, Calif., but maintains a Canadian citizenship, has landed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants. The versatile 32-year-old finished the 2013 campaign with the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League, following Triple-A stints in the Diamondbacks and Rangers organizations. He last played in the big leagues with the Blue Jays on September 28, 2011.
– Today would’ve been the 85th birthday of New York Yankees catching great Elston Howard. A nine-time all-star who was named the American League MVP in 1963, Howard honed his skills with the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs in 1954 prior to making his big league debut with the Bronx Bombers on April 14, 1955. In 138 games with the Canadian club, he hit .330, belted 22 home runs and was named International League MVP. Howard died of a heart condition on December 14, 1980.
– Danny Gallagher reported on Twitter (@dannogallagher7) that David Savage who led the design of the Toronto Blue Jays’ original logo has passed away in Collingwood, Ont. Savage owned and operated Savage Sloan Ltd., an industrial design firm that had clients around the world. Savage died on February 10 at the age of 80, leaving behind his wife, three children and nine grandchildren. Condolences for the family can be left here.
– Last week, I encouraged you to read Bob Elliott’s article about Jim Fregosi, the former Blue Jays manager who passed away on February 14 after a series of strokes. The Hall of Fame columnist has since published a longer piece that incorporates numerous tributes to Fregosi from around the baseball world. You can read it here.
– I just read that Blue Jays outfield prospect Kevin Pillar has changed his uniform number to No. 11. Yes, I know others have worn this number since George Bell made it famous from 1981 to 1990, but, to me, it just doesn’t feel right to see someone else wearing that number. Call me a traditionalist, but if a player’s number is on the Blue Jays’ Level of Excellence, I’d like to see it at the very least out of circulation as an unspoken tribute (if not retired). I also wonder if Pillar even knows that Bell wore the number?
– It’s February 23 and the Blue Jays have not announced who will replace the departed Jack Morris on their radio broadcasts or who will replace Dirk Hayhurst in the TV studio on Blue Jays Central. There have been no indications from the team about whom they’re considering, but some names being tossed around on the internet are Duane Ward, Paul Spoljaric, Greg O’Halloran and Rance Mulliniks.
– Two notable Canadian free agents that remain unsigned are right-hander Shawn Hill (Georgetown, Ont.) and outfielder Rene Tosoni (Toronto, Ont.). Hill, who will turn 33 on April 28, made 26 starts for the Detroit Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate Toledo Mud Hens in 2013, while the 27-year-old Tosoni suited up for 131 games with the Milwaukee Brewers’ Double-A Hunstville Stars.
– If you haven’t already done so, please “LIKE” the Cooperstowners in Canada Facebook page. I update this page regularly with links to Canadian baseball stories. Thanks again for your support