– With this year’s Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in the books, I’ve started to look ahead to 2015. Next year will be Fredericton, N.B., native Matt Stairs’ first year of eligibility and the Canuck slugger, who belted 265 career homers (second-most by a Canadian), would appear to be a shoo-in. Others that I’d like to see honoured are Toronto Blue Jays great Carlos Delgado and Port Moody, B.C., native Wayne Norton, who had a fine professional playing career before establishing the Canadian junior national team and becoming one of our country’s most respected big league scouts. The Canadian ball hall’s selection committee consists of 16 members (including baseball writers, historians and living inductees) spread across the country. A nominee must be named on 12 of 16 ballots to be enshrined. The new class will be announced in February 2015.
– In case you missed it, Vancouver, B.C., native Tyson Gillies was released by the Philadelphia Phillies on June 23. The speedy Canadian, who was acquired by the Phillies from Seattle along with fellow Canuck Phillippe Aumont in a deal for Cliff Lee in December 2009, hit just .214 in 43 games in Triple-A this season. Now in his eighth professional campaign, the 25-year-old outfielder has yet to play in the big leagues.
– One thing that has always astounded me about Jackie Robinson’s stat line from his 1946 season with the Montreal Royals is his walk-to-strikeout ratio. In 553 plate appearances that season, the trailblazing superstar registered 92 base on balls and struck out just 27 times.
– Am I the only one that was hoping that Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista would’ve pleaded with manager John Gibbons to pinch-hit in the late innings of one of the club’s close games last week? Yes, he did pinch-hit in Sunday’s game, but the club could’ve used him earlier in the week. If he’s not on the disabled list and he says he can pinch-hit, then, in my opinion, he should step up and pinch-hit, especially when the game is close in the eighth or ninth inning.
– It was one of those feel-good stories while it lasted. After 12 seasons in the minors, London, Ont., native Jamie Romak made his major league debut on May 28. The 28-year-old Canadian got into 15 games with the Dodgers, but managed one hit in 21 at bats before he was designated for assignment on Wednesday.
– While giving a tour to a group of Grade 1 students from Little Falls Public School at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, one student stumped me when he asked who hit the first home run in major league history? Well, hopefully he’s reading this, because I went home and looked it up. Chicago White Sox player Ross Barnes clubbed the first home run in National League history in the fifth inning of a game at the Avenue Grounds in Cincinnati on May 2, 1876.