But What Do I Know? . . . Russell Martin, Doyle Alexander, Fergie Jenkins

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My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:

  • Perhaps this is a good omen for the Toronto Blue Jays, who will be attempting to salvage one win out of their series against the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon. Twenty-four years ago today, the Blue Jays registered 10 consecutive hits in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at SkyDome to tie an American League record. Blue Jays third baseman Kelly Gruber started the rally, which ultimately resulted in eight runs, with a single off of Twins starter Kevin Tapani. Gruber also later doubled off of Twins reliever Tom Edens for the last of his club’s 10 hits that inning. The Blue Jays won the game 16-5.
  • Congratulations to Montreal native Russell Martin who was unanimously voted the Honda Blue Jays Player of the Month for August by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. During August, the Canadian catcher batted .286, belted nine home runs and had 22 RBI – which led the Blue Jays and all big league catchers. Martin also topped the club in slugging percentage (.626) and was second in hits (26). Third baseman Josh Donaldson, who batted .287 and had nine home runs in August, was second in the voting.
  • Happy 66th Birthday to former Blue Jays starter Doyle Alexander wherever he is. Just ask through-the-mail autograph collectors, a passionate and determined bunch, how tough Alexander has become to track down. His signature is needed by many of them to complete autograph projects. The well-travelled right-hander, who retired in 1989, spent parts of four seasons with the Blue Jays and posted back-to-back 17-win campaigns with the club in 1984 and 1985. It was Alexander who tossed a complete-game five-hitter when the Blue Jays clinched their first division title on October 5, 1985. The following July, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for then hard-throwing pitching prospect Duane Ward. In all, Alexander recorded 194 wins and a 3.76 ERA in parts of 19 major league seasons for eight different teams.
  • Thursday marked the 45th anniversary of a game that saw Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer and Chatham, Ont., native Fergie Jenkins toss a complete game and belt two home runs to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 5-2 win over the Montreal Expos at Wrigley Field. That was also the last time that a Cubs pitcher has hit two home runs in a game.
  • It was five years ago yesterday that Scarborough, Ont., native George Kottaras became the first Canadian since Tip O’Neill (Woodstock, Ont.) in 1887 to hit for the cycle in a major league game. Starting at catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park, Kottaras homered and tripled off of Astros starter Bud Norris in the fourth and sixth innings respectively. He then singled off of reliever Aneury Rodriguez in the seventh and completed the cycle with a double off of David Carpenter in the ninth. The Brewers won the game 8-2. Unfortunately, Kottaras likely wasn’t in the mood to celebrate this anniversary this week; he was released by the Atlanta Braves’ triple-A Gwinnett Braves on Monday. He started the season in the San Francisco Giants organization.
  • Port Dover, Ont., native John Axford has been far more effective for the Oakland A’s in the second half this season than he was in first. At the All-Star break, the 6-foot-5 right-hander owned a 5.09 ERA in 35-1/3 innings and had struck out 31 batters. Since then, he has a 3.06 ERA and has fanned 20 in 17-2/3 innings.
  • I was sad to learn that Hal Hudson, who pitched parts of three seasons with the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs from 1951 to 1953, passed away in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on July 8 at the age of 89. Signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Browns in 1944, the 5-foot-10 left-hander spent 13 seasons in the minor-pro ranks. He enjoyed his finest campaign with the Maple Leafs in 1951 when he went 16-5 with a 3.08 ERA in 39 games. He also made six major league appearances with the Browns and Chicago White Sox in 1952 and 1953.
  • I stumbled upon a copy of Kevin Nelson’s 1993 book, Baseball’s Even Greater Insults, in a thrift store on Friday. The book is chock full of great baseball quotes and stories. One of my favourites involves Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda and Pedro Guerrero. There’s no date given for this story, but it likely takes place during the 1983 season when Dodgers second baseman Steve Sax was having trouble making routine throws to first base. It’s also important to note that the hard-hitting Guerrero wasn’t exactly Brooks Robinson at third base either. In one particularly close game, a ground ball was hit to Guerrero and he booted it. Lasorda was livid and when Guerrero returned to the dugout after the inning, the Dodgers manager screamed, “What in the hell are you thinking out there!” “Well, I’m thinking two things,” responded Guerrero. “Two things?” Lasorda replied. “Well, what are they?” “First, I’m thinking, I hope they don’t hit it to me,” said Guerrero. “What’s the second thing?” said Lasorda. “The second thing I’m thinking is I hope they don’t hit it to Sax.”
  • St. Marys, Ont., the home of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, will host the first annual Canadian Baseball History Conference on November 12 and 13. SABR member and longtime Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame volunteer Andrew North is organizing the event, which will include presentations from esteemed baseball researchers and authors such as Bill Humber, Brian “Chip” Martin, Bill Young and David McDonald. Attendees will also be given a tour of the Canadian ball shrine. The cost to attend is $50. For more information, follow this link.
  • This week’s trivia question: Doyle Alexander was on the mound when the Blue Jays clinched their first division title in 1985. What pitcher was on the mound when the Blue Jays clinched their second division title in 1989? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below. The first person to provide the correct answer will win a 1982 Donruss Paul Molitor card and a 1988 Donruss Roberto Alomar rookie card.

13 thoughts on “But What Do I Know? . . . Russell Martin, Doyle Alexander, Fergie Jenkins

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:

      You’re correct, David. Thanks for your participation. I have your mailing address, so I’ll get the cards out in the mail to you as soon as possible. Thanks.

    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’re correct, Brent, but David got his answer in just before you. Thanks again for your support!

    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.

  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 an enjoyable Sunday pastime Kevin!

    Tom

    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 comment, Tom. Hope you are well.

  2. Kottaras can get onbase and hit with power. I hope he gets another chance in 2017.
    Congrat’s to Axford and Russell for playing well. I hope they keep it going

    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.

  3. 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:

    Thanks for sharing as always Kevin. I still remember when the Tigers traded Smoltz for Doyle!! Seemed like a good idea at the time.

    *Devon Teeple* *Founder / Executive Director* The GM’s Perspective **Associate Member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada** MLB Media Affiliate ID: 13167 Twitter: @devonteeple 905-353-4929

    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 and kind words, Devon.

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