My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:
- On April 12, 2016, left-hander Andrew Miller struck out two Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning to record the save for the New York Yankees in a 3-2 win at Rogers Centre. That was his last appearance against the Blue Jays prior to the first two games of the American League Championship Series. That means that in his past three appearances against the Blue Jays, the 6-foot-7 left-hander has stuck out 12 batters in 4-2/3 innings.
- When Montreal native Russell Martin homered for the Blue Jays in the first inning of their American League Division Series-clinching victory over the Texas Rangers last Sunday, he became the fourth big leaguer to belt a post-season home run for four different teams. Martin had previously homered for the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. The other three players to have accomplished this feat are John Olerud (Blue Jays, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees), Ron Gant (Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A’s) and Reggie Sanders (Reds, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants, Cardinals).
- Unfortunately when Canadian baseball fans reflect on the 1981 National League Championship Series, the first thing they usually bring up is Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Rick Monday’s home run in the top of the ninth inning in Game 5 off of Montreal Expos ace Steve Rogers, who was brought into the game in relief. What people forget is that 35 years ago today, Rogers hurled a complete-game, seven-hitter to beat the Dodgers 4-1 in Game 3 of that series. Expos outfielder Jerry White’s three-run home run in the sixth inning was the key hit in that game.
- Speaking of the 1981 Montreal Expos, today is Rodney Scott’s 63rd The speedy second baseman spent parts of five seasons in Montreal. His finest season came in 1980 when he led the National League with 13 triples and stole 63 bases. Scott’s 63 steals combined with Ron LeFlore’s 97 was a record for most stolen bases by two teammates in the same season until Vince Coleman and Willie McGee combined for 166 stolen bases five years later.
- Twenty-three years ago today, John Olerud and Devon White homered for the Blue Jays to propel them to an 8-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at SkyDome in the first game of the 1993 World Series. The Blue Jays scored six runs in 6-1/3 innings off of Phils starter Curt Schilling. Left-hander Al Leiter notched the win for the Blue Jays in relief of starter Juan Guzman. Closer Duane Ward got the save.
- Please take a moment to remember Rouleau, Sask., native and former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Ed Bahr, who would’ve turned 97 today. The Canadian right-hander pitched parts of two big league seasons with the Bucs in 1946 and 1947. In 1946, he posted an 8-6 record and a 2.63 ERA in 27 contests – including 14 starts. He passed away in Seattle, Wash., on April 6, 2007.
- TSN’s Paul Hollingsworth shared a great piece of trivia on Twitter last Sunday just prior to Game 3 of the ALDS between the Blue Jays and the Rangers. The two third base coaches – Luis Rivera (Blue Jays) and Spike Owen (Rangers) – in that game were both former Montreal Expos, who were once traded for each other. On December 8, 1988, the Expos dealt Rivera to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Owen.
- The first annual Canadian Baseball History Conference will take place in St. Marys, Ont. on November 12 and 13. This event is being organized by SABR member and longtime Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame volunteer Andrew North. Among the highlights of the event will be a panel discussion about North America’s first recorded baseball game played in Beachville, Ont., on June 4, 1838. There will also be presentations about Canadian Baseball Hall of Famers Arthur “Foxy” Irwin, Tip O’Neill and Harry Simmons (whose remarkable personal collection of artifacts is housed at the museum). 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: According to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, nine Canadians (including the aforementioned Russell Martin) have hit home runs in the major league post-season. Can you name five of them (other than Martin)? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below. The first person to provide the correct answer will win a 1980 O-Pee-Chee Paul Molitor card.