But What Do I Know? . . . Alison Gordon, Fergie Jenkins, Ray Hathaway

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The Fergie Jenkins Foundation and Museum in St. Catharines, Ont., will be open tomorrow to celebrate Black History Month. More details below.

My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:

• When Alison Gordon was assigned to cover the Toronto Blue Jays in 1979, she became the first full-time, female beat reporter in American League history. Sadly, it took her death in Toronto on Wednesday at the age of 72, for many to learn about her trailblazing role. Born in New York City, Gordon attended Queen’s University and worked for CBC in radio and TV, before accepting a position to cover the Blue Jays for the Toronto Star. While working for the newspaper from 1979 to 1983, she had to overcome resistance from some players and opposing teams to gain access to the players in the clubhouse. In her first season, her media credentials were issued to her as “Mr. Alison Gordon.” Her trials and tribulations as a beat reporter are documented in her excellent 1984 book, Foul Balls. After the 1983 season, she left her career as a reporter to write mystery novels and she penned four fiction books in which the heroine, Kate Henry, was a baseball writer who solved murders. Gordon passed away unexpectedly after undergoing a lung procedure at a Toronto hospital. She’s survived by her brother, Charles, a niece and a nephew.

• The Fergie Jenkins Foundation and Museum in St. Catharines, Ont., will be open to the public on Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. to celebrate Black History Month. Visitors can tour the museum which features exhibits on the history of African Americans, black Canadian sports legends, as well as many of Jenkins’ personal artifacts. The first 100 people to visit will receive a copy of the official Black History Month poster released by the Canadian government. There’s no cost to tour the museum, however, donations will be accepted. For more information, click here.

Eduaro Encina of The Baltimore Sun reported on Wednesday that the Orioles are interested in former Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan. The soon-to-be 33-year-old right-hander, who has a long history of injuries, posted a 4.07 ERA in 53 games – mostly in relief – for the Blue Jays in 2014. He became a free agent after the Blue Jays declined their $4-million option on him for 2015 earlier in the off-season.

• Here’s an interesting story about Shaun Hagglund, a sports memorabilia store owner and rabid Twins fan who has formed a fast friendship with Justin Morneau. Hagglund is the brains behind Morneau’s excellent fan website, www.justinmorneau.com, which sells autograph merchandise and promotes Morneau’s charitable causes.

• Ray Hathaway, who pitched parts of two seasons with the International League’s Montreal Royals, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 98 in Asheville, N.C. Born in Greenville, Ohio in 1916, Hathaway pitched in parts of 20 minor league seasons. In 1945, he posted a 10-8 record and a 4.06 ERA in 24 contests with the Royals. That same season, he saw his only big league action, appearing in four games with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Following his playing career, he became a pitching coach and a minor league manager. At 98 years old, he was believed to be the second oldest living former big leaguer. He’s survived by two sons and three grandchildren. You can leave online condolences here.

• By my count, there are only four former Montreal Expos left that will likely see big league action in 2015: Bartolo Colon (New York Mets), Scott Downs (Cleveland Indians), Maicer Izturis (Toronto Blue Jays) and Endy Chavez (Seattle Mariners). Right-hander Luis Ayala and left-hander Bruce Chen remain free agents. Am I missing anyone?

• I’ve been running a “Baseball Quote of the Day” feature on the Cooperstowners in Canada Facebook page and today’s quote is from the late great Dan Quisenberry, the Kansas City Royals sidearm closer. Reporters huddled around his locker after a game that featured a brawl and asked him about the brouhaha. “The whole thing reminded me of my junior prom,” he responded, “not a lot action, just a lot of guys standing around watching what’s going on.”

• This week’s trivia question: With this being NBA All-Star weekend, I thought a basketball-themed question was in order. Can you name the two former Toronto Blue Jays that also played in the NBA? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below. The first person to provide the correct answer will win a 1982 Topps Gaylord Perry card and a 1984 Topps Yogi Berra card.

8 thoughts on “But What Do I Know? . . . Alison Gordon, Fergie Jenkins, Ray Hathaway

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  1. 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:

    I had no idea about the Fergie museum. That’s great stuff. Thanks for sharing

    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 comment, Devon.

    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:

      You are correct, Dave. Thanks for playing along. Please drop me a note at kevin.glew@sympatico.ca with your mailing address and I will send the cards out to you. Thank you again.

    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, Brent.

  2. 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:

    That quote also applies to our visit to LA, home of your fantasy dish, Alyssa Milano … you were right there and never made a move … … … oh, life’s regrets!!!

    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:

      Yes, you’re right, Tom. It also perfectly describes my junior and senior proms. 🙂

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