But What Do I Know? . . . John Scott, George Kottaras, Cole Armstrong

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My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:

• Happy 64th Birthday to John Scott, the first player to walk to the plate in a major league game for the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jackson, Miss., native struck out to lead off the bottom of the first inning in the Blue Jays’ inaugural contest against the Chicago White Sox on April 7, 1977. The speedy outfielder would bat .240 and record 10 stolen bases in 79 games in 1977, before suiting up for the triple-A Springfield Redbirds in the St. Louis Cardinals chain in 1978 and then playing three seasons in Japan. He has since seemingly vanished. No one in the baseball fraternity – including ex-teammates – seems certain of his whereabouts and this has made him one of the most sought-after autographs for Blue Jays collectors. Some celebrity address lists offer a Compton, Calif., address for Scott, but if the ex-Jay does live there, he hasn’t responded to autograph requests. A 1978 Topps card signed by Scott that was reviewed by leading autograph authenticator PSA/DNA sold for $80 on eBay last year.

• Jon Heyman of the MLB Network reported on Thursday that Scarborough, Ont., native George Kottaras has signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants. The deal includes an invite to big league spring training. The Canadian catcher began 2015 with the triple-A Charlotte Knights in the Chicago White Sox organization and recorded a .403 on-base percentage and socked seven homers in 31 games before finishing the year with the Blue Jays’ triple-A Buffalo Bisons. Kottaras has enjoyed big league stints with the Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals and Blue Jays in parts of seven big league seasons from 2008 to 2014.

• Fun Canadian Baseball fact: Gibsons, B.C. native Ryan Dempster was undefeated in Canadian big league stadiums during his major league career. In 10 combined starts at Olympic Stadium and the Rogers Centre, the Canuck right-hander was 6-0 with a 2.93 ERA.

• Thanks to Scott Crawford at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for sharing that Surrey, B.C., native Cole Armstrong has agreed to manage the White Sox Class-A Kannapolis Intimidators of South Atlantic League this season. This will be the former catcher’s second professional managerial job. He guided the White Sox Advanced Rookie Great Falls Voyagers to a 35-39 record last season. Prior to joining the coaching ranks, the now 32-year-old Armstrong enjoyed a 10-year professional playing career in the White Sox, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels organizations.

• At the annual Baseball Canada awards banquet, Stephen Brooks, the Toronto Blue Jays senior vice-president, business operations, presented the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame with a toonie that had been placed under the mound at Rogers Centre prior to the 2015 season. The idea was hatched from the Lucky Loonie that was buried under the ice in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City that saw the Canadian men’s and women’s hockey teams win gold. The Rogers Centre toonie apparently helped bring similar good fortune to the Blue Jays who snapped their 22-season playoff drought in 2015.

• A fascinating new book called, Au jeu/Play Ball: The 50 Greatest Games in the History of the Montreal Expos, is set to be released in March. Veteran SABR member Norm King is the senior editor and main contributor to the publication that details the stories behind 50 of the Expos’ most memorable wins. Longtime Expos broadcaster and Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Van Horne has written the foreword for the book. Stay tuned for more updates on how you can purchase this book.

• New York Yankees outfielder Mickey Rivers was famous for his misuse of words, but sometimes he came up with a quote that left reporters scratching their heads. This quote always makes me laugh, even though I don’t know what it means. In the clubhouse after a game on a particularly cold day, Rivers was asked about the crisp playing conditions. “Man, it was so cold today that I saw a dog chasing a cat, and the dog was walking,” responded Rivers.

• This week’s trivia question: Who was the only Expos pitcher to record 20 wins in a season? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below. The first person to provide the correct answer will win a signed Lloyd Moseby card.

13 thoughts on “But What Do I Know? . . . John Scott, George Kottaras, Cole Armstrong

Add yours

    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:

      Hi Brent. You are correct! Thanks for participating. I’ll get the card out in the mail to you tomorrow. Thanks 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:

      Hi Michel. You have the correct answer, but Brent provided the answer earlier in the day. Thank you very much reading and participating!

  1. 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:

    Always a treat Kevin!

    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:

      Thanks for the kind words, Tom.

  2. The toonie is on display at the HOF. Come see it this summer.
    Someone needs to give Kottaras a shot. His .330OBP and .411SLG in 300 career MLB games deserve it

    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, Scott. I agree about Kottaras.

    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, Len. Hope you are well.

    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.

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