My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:
• You can add Toronto Blue Jays World Series hero and Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Carter’s name to the list of people upset that Carlos Delgado was not selected on at least five per cent of baseball writers’ ballots in this year’s National Baseball Hall of Fame voting. The result eliminates Delgado, who clubbed 473 career home runs, from further consideration by the writers. On January 10, Carter (@JoeCarter_29), who met a similar voting fate in his first year of eligibility in 2004, tweeted, “How can my man @carlosdelgado21 not get 5% of votes for the HOF? You’ve got to be kidding. Canada gets slighted again.”
• I’m happy to see that Roberto Alomar is using his voice to campaign for Canadian Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In his fifth year of eligibility, Walker, the winner of three batting titles and the 1997 National League MVP Award, was named on just 11.8 per cent of writers’ ballots. This was enough to keep him on the ballot for next year, but is a far cry from the 75 per cent support he needs to be elected. “I don’t think Hall of Fame voters show him the respect he deserves,” Alomar told Canadian Baseball Network founder Bob Elliott. “When I broke in, in San Diego, I played against Walker and he was a complete player. He doesn’t get the recognition he should. Walker was a great right fielder, with a big arm, he stole 30 bases and people seldom even mention him.”
• One of the funniest photos making its rounds on social media this week was of Roy Halladay standing behind and pointing to an oblivious fan who was wearing a Halladay shirt. Halladay shared the photo on Twitter along with the message, “Oopps you missed me! Walked right by me! Hope he gets to see his pic with me on Twitter, he doesn’t know we took this.” For a similarly hilarious photo, check out the background photo on Mark Teahen’s Twitter page. In the photo, the ex-big leaguer, who owns a Canadian citizenship, is standing behind a man seated at a picnic table who’s wearing a Kansas City Royals Teahen shirt. Sadly, the fan doesn’t seem to realize that Teahen’s last name is spelled wrong.
• I’m excited to read Brian “Chip” Martin’s newly released book, “The Tecumsehs of the International Association, Canada’s First Major League Champions.” The book chronicles the history of the triumphant, yet little-talked-about London Tecumsehs in the 1870s. This is a follow-up to Martin’s 2013 tome “Baseball’s Creation Myth: Adam Ford, Abner Graves and the Cooperstown Story” which is one of the best Canadian baseball books ever written. You can read my review of that book here. You can purchase a copy of his new book here.
• Navan, Ont., native Erik Bedard hopes to pitch in the big leagues in 2015. The unsigned Canadian lefty, who posted a 4-6 record and a 4.76 ERA in 17 games with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014, will turn 36 on March 5. He tells the Ottawa Sun’s Tim Baines that he believes he can still contribute at the big league level as a pitcher and mentor. Bedard tells Baines that he’d like to pitch for the Blue Jays, but there haven’t been any reports linking Bedard to the Canadian club. The Blue Jays have already signed southpaws Jeff Francis (North Delta, B.C.) and Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.) to minor league deals this off-season.
• I’ve been running a “Baseball Quote of the Day” feature on the Cooperstowners in Canada Facebook page. Today’s quote was from Rickey Henderson, who’s always a goldmine for quotes because he talks about himself in the third person. After Ken Caminiti suggested that 50 per cent of major league players were using steroids in a September 2002 Sports Illustrated article, a reporter approached Henderson, then with the Boston Red Sox, and asked him about Caminiti’s claim. “Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 per cent right there,” Henderson responded.
• This week’s trivia question: Canadian left-handers Jeff Francis (North Delta, B.C.) and Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.) will both likely have a chance to pitch for the Blue Jays at some point this season. But can you name the four previous Canadian left-handers to have pitched for the Blue Jays? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below. The first person to provide the correct answer will win four Rickey Henderson baseball cards (1985 Donruss Leaf, 1987 Donruss Opening Day, 1990 Fleer and 1991 Upper Deck).