My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:
• As Bob Elliott notes in a great piece for the Canadian Baseball Network, the Toronto Blue Jays could have three Canadians – Russell Martin (catcher, Montreal, Que.), Brett Lawrie (third base, Langley, B.C.) and Dalton Pompey (centre field, Mississauga, Ont.) – in their starting lineup in 2014. Scott Crawford, the director of operations at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont., reminded me that left-hander Jeff Francis (North Delta, B.C.), whom the Jays signed to a minor league deal on Halloween, also has a shot at cracking the Blue Jays’ pitching staff. If that happens, the Blue Jays will have four Canadians on their 25-man roster for the first time in franchise history.
• The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its 2014 Jack Graney Award winner on Tuesday at 9 a.m. (Watch for the announcement on this site). This honour is presented annually to a member of the media who has made significant contributions to baseball in Canada through their life’s work and is named after the Cleveland Indians outfielder from St. Thomas, Ont., who became the first ex-player to make the transition to the broadcast booth. He performed radio play-by-play for the Indians from 1932 to 1953. For a list of the previous Jack Graney winners, you can follow this link.
• Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer, Rob Ducey, will coach for the Philadelphia Phillies’ Class-A Clearwater Threshers in 2015. The Cambridge, Ont., native served as a coach for the Phillies’ Double-A affiliate in Reading this past season, following scouting tenures with the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays. Ducey, who played 13 seasons in the big leagues between 1987 and 2001, also served as a coach for Canada in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and at the 2008 Olympics.
• Burnaby, B.C., native Jim Adduci was designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers on Thursday. The 29-year-old outfielder/first baseman hit a combined.189 in 148 plate appearances with the Rangers in 2013 and 2014. MLB Trade Rumors reports that Adduci will likely be sold to a Korean or Japanese team.
• Ray Sadecki, who began his professional playing career with the Winnipeg Goldeyes in 1958, passed away from blood cancer in Mesa, Ariz., on Monday at the age of 73. Signed as an 18-year-old by the St. Louis Cardinals, the 5-foot-11 left-hander, who hailed from Kansas City, Kan., was assigned to the Class-C Goldeyes for his rookie season and posted nine wins and a 3.34 ERA in 19 games. He eventually rose through the Cards’ ranks to become a 20-game winner on the 1964 World Series-winning squad. In all, Sadecki recorded 135 victories in parts of 18 seasons in the big leagues with the Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Braves, Royals and Brewers. After hanging up his playing spikes, he worked for an office supply company until 1990 when the Chicago Cubs hired him to be a roving minor league instructor. He later served in a similar position with the Giants.
• Tim Dierkes, of MLB Trade Rumors, reported on Friday that the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed London, Ont., native Jamie Romak to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training. After 12 seasons in the minors, the 29-year-old infielder/outfielder made his big league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014. In Triple-A this season, the 29-year-old slugger belted 24 homers and registered a .538 slugging percentage in 108 contests for the Albuquerque Isotopes.
• Just a reminder that nominations for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame are due on December 1. For more information on how you can nominate someone, click on this link. The 2015 inductees will be announced in February and the induction ceremony is set for June 13.
• This week’s trivia question: Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer, Rob Ducey, was raised in Cambridge, Ont., but born in Toronto. Who is the only major league player to be born in Cambridge? Please submit your answer in the “Comments” section below. The winner will receive a 2014 Toronto Blue Jays “Swing into Summer Safety” baseball card set.