But What Do I Know? . . . Oscar Taveras, Roy Halladay, Brad Mills



My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:

– Prized St. Louis Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras homered in his second big league at bat in his team’s 2-0 win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. Born in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, the 21-year-old outfielder also owns a Canadian passport. According to an excellent article written by Bob Elliott in 2012, the talented youngster lived in Montreal between the ages of 12 and 16 and he honed his diamond skills in the Marquis de Montreal Network Quebec midget triple-A league. Taveras then returned to the Dominican Republic and signed with the Cardinals for a $140,000 signing bonus.

– It’s hard to believe that it was 19 years ago Sunday that the Toronto Blue Jays selected Roy Halladay with their first pick (17th overall) in the 1995 MLB amateur draft. For the record, among those selected ahead of Halladay were Ariel Prieto (Oakland, fifth overall), Jaime Jones (Miami, sixth overall), Jonathan Johnson (Texas, seventh overall), Chad Hermansen (Pittsburgh, 10th overall), Mike Drumright (Detroit, 11th overall), Reggie Taylor (Philadelphia, 14th overall), Andrew Yount (Boston, 15th overall) and Joe Fontenot (San Francisco, 16th overall).

– Ex-Blue Jay Brad Mills is having a fine season for the Milwaukee Brewers’ Triple-A Nashville Sounds. In 11 appearances – including nine starts – he’s 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA and has averaged a strikeout per inning. The 29-year-old southpaw can opt out of his minor league deal with the Brewers on June 15 if he’s not called up. Mills, who pitched parts of three seasons for the Blue Jays from 2009 to 2011, last pitched in the big leagues with the Angels in 2012.

– Thanks to Baseball Retirements on Twitter for informing me that Reno Barbisan, a New Waterford, N.S., native who pitched seven seasons in the minor-pro ranks – four of them in the New York Giants and Detroit Tigers organizations – passed away in Idaho Falls, Idaho, on March 17 at the age of 84. The 6-foot right-hander pitched at the Class-C level in all of his professional seasons from 1950 to 1956. His finest season was with Idaho Falls in 1953, when he won 17 games and posted a 3.86 ERA. After his playing career, he ran a construction company in Idaho Falls, where he and his wife, Beth, raised five children. For more details, you can read his obituary here.

– In my May 5 column, I wrote about the trailblazing role that Montreal native Allan Roth played as a baseball statistician. As a follow-up to that column, Bill Young, the co-author of the excellent Remembering the Montreal Expos and Ecstasy to Agony: The 1994 Montreal Expos, wrote me an e-mail that elaborated on Roth’s pioneering role. “Jackie Robinson, an inductee in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, broke into the major leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers on Opening Day, April 15, 1947, following a stellar year in Montreal. He went on to change the face of baseball as they say, breaking the colour barrier in the big leagues, setting a new standard of excellence and opening untold doors for those who followed behind him,” wrote Young. “On that same day, and also as a new member of the Dodgers, Allan Roth, a Montrealer to the core, began his storied career as baseball’s first statistician, the man who introduced a whole new approach to baseball numbers, their relevance and their usefulness in planning strategy. From his work came SABR, sabrmetrics, Moneyball and the OPS. He is also an inductee in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. How fascinating that two baseball pioneers, both of whom changed the nature of the game in fundamental ways, both came to the same club, the Dodgers, from the same Canadian city, Montreal, at the same time, and made their first appearance at the exact same moment. When the first batter for the visiting Boston Braves grounded out, third to first, Jackie Robinson was playing first base. The fact of his direct participation in a major league game for the first time was recorded by Allan Roth, also his first entry at the major league level, starting a career that then stretched over 40 years. It’s a wonder the earth didn’t shake – so momentous was their impact on the game and its evolution.”

– Melissa Couto’s weekly ThrowinSmoke column on the Canadian Baseball Network has become a must-read for me. If you’re looking for news and notes on Canadian players and the inside scoop on the Jays, you should check it out. Here’s her most recent column.


5 thoughts on “But What Do I Know? . . . Oscar Taveras, Roy Halladay, Brad Mills

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  1. Tom Valcke – Stratford, Ontario – Tom Valcke put his iCASE Baseball Academy as well as his position of Head Coach at George Brown College into hiatus, when Hong Kong brought him there in 2018 to serve as head coach of their Men's Olympic baseball team, where he finished with unprecedented success in the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia, spiking their WBSC World Ranking from #41 to #28 in just one year under his tutelage. China then scooped up Valcke, as he became the GM and Head Coach of Panda Sport and Culture, a division of the China Olympic Federation, overseeing baseball and softball, and training the national team coaches of baseball and softball, men's and women's teams. Panda Sport and Culture is based in Zhongshan, China's nationally recognized "#1 Baseball City," located on the southeast tip of China, and has a climate much like Florida. On his own initiative, he spent his evenings working with the local coaches of Zhongshan's local amateur youth baseball teams. For the first time in history, the same city won all four 2019 China National Championship gold medals, in 18U, 15U, 12U and 10U, that city being Zhongshan! Valcke worked with the China Baseball Association and Major League Baseball in helping the world's largest country accelerate their evolution into baseball, and helped them design and build a professional baseball stadium, a 600-room dormitory, and a new HQ for Panda Sport and Culture, where he held the role of CEO, in charge of a staff of 60. Valcke, former Technical Director, and Executive Director of Baseball Canada, and former coach of Team Canada, remains a baseball analyst with CBC Canada Radio and TV. The former president/CEO of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, who spent a decade as the Canadian Supervisor with the Major League Baseball Central Scouting Bureau, served as a television broadcaster for the Montreal Expos, the GM of the Calgary Cannons Triple-A club, and the CEO/Head Coach of the World Children's Baseball Fair. He is the proud father of Alanna, Jaxon and Mia, and lucky husband of Paula since 1987. Jaxon and Mia are current star players and captains, respectively, of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds baseball and softball teams. Mia also became the second female in history to play in World Cups for Team Canada Women's baseball team as well as Team Canada Women's softball team. https://www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com/canadian-baseball-network-articles/baseball-nomad-valcke-a-top-amateur-executive http://www.wbsc.org/csta-prestige-awards-honors-tom-valcke/ https://cooperstownersincanada.com/2012/01/23/valcke-recognized-for-global-baseball-efforts/
    tomvalcke says:

    Awesome note about #42 and Roth. Thanks, as always Kevin. You always brighten up my day! Tom

    Tom Valcke Field Manager/GM iCASE Baseball Academy International Canadian Academy of Sports Excellence http://icasebaseball.com Personal Email: valcke@quadro.net Cell: 519.703.4088

    1. cooperstownersincanada – Kevin Glew is a professional writer based in London, Ontario. His work has been featured on CBC Sports, Sportsnet.ca, MLB.com and Sympatico.ca. 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.
      cooperstownersincanada says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Tom. Bill Young deserves the credit for that fact. Hope you’re doing well.

  2. Steve Myers – https://brokenbatsbaseball.wordpress.com/ – I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.
    steve says:

    Inspiring and informative as always here! Just wanting to add some more praise to Bill Young I met him at a Montreal SABR get together. I was attending Concordia University and had access to the baseball team as a scorekeeper and I told Bill and he immediately had a vision for me…chronicle Concordia baseball and write about its history. I never did it, but never looked at anything quite the same. Everything became potentially significant; even walks through grocery store aisles. One thing about Allan Roth. It fascinates me how far back debates go about something like the significance of walks or questioning the use of errors as an indicator to defensive excellence. Chadwick seemed to rack his brains with sabermetric concepts at baseball’s starting gun origins.

  3. Devon Teeple – Highly motivated and hard-working professional offering solid business skills in both baseball and corporate enterprises. Lifetime’s experience in athletics, culminating with a pro contract in 2001. Intimate knowledge of the athletic industry from the inside, with specific knowledge of what it takes to win, on the field and in the back office. Outgoing and extremely hard working with a passion for athletics and an ability to contribute immediately.
    Devon Teeple says:

    Grat to hear about Brad Mills. I remember him from a few years ago. 4-0 and an ERA under two, what team wouldn’t want that?

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