My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:
• My 2015 New Year’s resolutions include drinking less pop, being better organized and giving up trying to understand Brett Lawrie’s Twitter feed. #Imofficiallymiddleaged.
• Today would’ve been the 107th birthday of Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer George Selkirk. Dubbed “Twinkletoes” for his distinct running style, Selkirk was arguably the greatest Canadian player of the first half of the 20th century. The Hunstville, Ont., native is best known as the man that replaced Babe Ruth in right field for the Bronx Bombers. Wearing the Bambino’s No. 3, Selkirk excelled during his nine-year big league career with the Yankees. His major league resume boasts two all-star selections, five .300+ seasons, two 100-RBI campaigns and five World Series rings. After his playing days were over, Selkirk served as supervisor of player personnel with the Kansas City Athletics in 1957 and as the general manager of the Washington Senators from 1964 to 1969. For his efforts, he was one of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s inaugural inductees in 1983.
• If the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) had their way, Montreal Expos great Tim Raines would be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. The organization (of which I’m a member) conducts their own Hall of Fame vote each year. This year, they employed a binary ballot, where you simply voted “yes” or “no” as to whether you thought a candidate was worthy of a plaque in Cooperstown. Under this voting method, seven players received more than 75 per cent support (the number of ballots that a candidate must be named on to be elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America) from the bloggers. The players that would be inducted by the BBA are Randy Johnson (100%), Pedro Martinez (95%), Craig Biggio (90%), John Smoltz (89%), Mike Piazza (85%), Jeff Bagwell (77%) and Raines (77%). For the record, I also voted for Canadian Larry Walker and longtime Toronto Blue Jay Carlos Delgado, who received 37% and 19% support respectively.
• From the “How did we miss this?” file, Canadian baseball legend Larry Walker bowled a perfect game back on April 10. Here’s a link to an article that includes video footage of his last strike.
• One of the most fascinating Facebook pages I’ve stumbled upon is called Montreal Expos Memorabilia. This page showcases the best collection of Expos and Montreal Royals game-used items that has ever been assembled. This week, the owner of the collection shared a photo of Sparky Anderson’s 1956 Montreal Royals contract. How much did Sparky make in 1956? Just $700, if you can believe it.
• Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported that Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter was to meet with former Toronto Blue Jays centre fielder Colby Rasmus at the player’s Alabama home yesterday. At first thought, Showalter and the high maintenance Rasmus seem like a match made in hell, but keep in mind that the old-school O’s manager had similar meetings with Delmon Young and Nelson Cruz prior to last season and both turned out to be key contributors to the O’s division-winning squad.
• This week’s trivia question: George Selkirk suited up for his final game with the New York Yankees in 1942. Since then, just two other Canadians have played outfield for the Yankees in a regular season game. Can you name them? Please submit your answers in the “Comments” section below. The first person to provide the correct answer will win a 1989 Upper Deck Craig Biggio rookie card and a 1989 Topps Randy Johnson rookie card.