My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:
· It was 41 years ago today that the Toronto Blue Jays began assembling their first team via the 1976 Major League Baseball Expansion Draft. With their first pick, the Blue Jays selected Bob Bailor from the Baltimore Orioles. Bailor proceeded to bat .310 in 122 games for the Blue Jays in 1977 and play three more seasons with the club before being dealt to the New York Mets. The Blue Jays also chose Jim Clancy (from the Texas Rangers), Ernie Whitt (from the Boston Red Sox) and Garth Iorg (from the New York Yankees) in that draft, as well as Vancouver native Dave McKay (from the Minnesota Twins). The Seattle Mariners, the Blue Jays’ expansion cousins, took Canadian right-hander Dave Pagan (Nipawin, Sask.) from the Baltimore Orioles with their 15th pick.
· The Detroit Tigers outrighted Burnaby, B.C., native Jim Adduci off their 40-man roster on Thursday. Adduci enjoyed three separate big league stints with the Tigers in 2017, but he was not called up from triple-A in September. In 29 major league contests this season, the left-handed hitting outfielder went 20-for-83 (.241 batting average) and he finished with a .323 on-base percentage (OBP).
· Interesting baseball stat of the week: From the Vlad Guerrero 4 HOF (@Vlad4HOF) Twitter account: Vlad and Lou Gehrig are the only players to hit at least .300 with 25 HRs for 11 consecutive seasons
· Happy 59th Birthday to former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Lloyd Moseby, who was born one week after his outfield mate Jesse Barfield and 15 days after George Bell. Not enough is made of Moseby’s 1984 season when he registered a 7.3 WAR, which is the third highest single-season WAR by a Blue Jays outfielder (behind only Jose Bautista 8.1 WAR, 2011; Jesse Barfield 7.6 WAR, 1986). In Moseby’s outstanding 1984 campaign, he recorded a league-leading 15 triples to go with 18 home runs, 39 stolen bases and 92 RBI. He also recorded a .368 on-base percentage and enjoyed his finest defensive season (2.2 dWAR).
· Andrew Sharp of the Washington Baseball History blog wrote an interesting entry about Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer George Selkirk (Huntsville, Ont.) on Monday. After a fine major league playing career that saw him bat .290 in nine seasons with the New York Yankees from 1934 to 1942, Selkirk later became the general manager of the Washington Senators from 1962 to 1968. Sharp’s article elaborates on some of Selkirk’s best transactions, including acquiring slugger Frank Howard, drafting future all-star Lou Piniella and hiring Gil Hodges as manager. You can read the full blog entry here.
· In a somewhat surprising move, the Washington Nationals declined Adam Lind’s $5-million, 2018 option on Thursday. The ex-Jay will receive a $500,000 buyout and become a free agent. After 12 seasons and 1,344 regular season games, Lind got his first taste of postseason action with the Nationals this fall. The left-handed hitting slugger had an excellent 2017 campaign, batting .303 with 14 home runs and 59 RBI in 113 games. His on-base percentage was a solid .362 and his slugging percentage was .513. The knock against Lind – and his career numbers bear it out – has been that he can’t hit lefties, but in a small sample size in 2017, he went 9-for-29 (.310 batting average) with seven RBI against southpaws.
· Thanks to Scott Crawford of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for sharing this SABR bio of Wyman Andrus, who is the Canadian Moonlight Graham. Andrus, who was born in Orono, Ont., played one game at third base for the National League’s Providence Grays in 1885, before eventually becoming a doctor and settling in Billings, Montana. For the record, Andrus, unlike Moonlight Graham in Field of Dreams, did get to bat. He went 0-for-4.
· Thank you to Hall of Fame writer Bob Elliott for sharing information about Arnold “Lefty” Fregin, a two-sport star, originally from Ottawa that passed away on October 27 at age 81. Signed by the Cincinnati Reds as an 18-year-old, Fregin was an outfielder/catcher who advanced as high as class-B in four professional seasons. Fregin would, however, abandon his baseball career and suit up for seven seasons with the Syracuse Stars, an independent semi-pro hockey team. He later settled into a career in the grocery business in Syracuse before retiring. You can read his obituary here.
· If you’re a Canadian baseball history buff (like me), mark November 18th and 19th on your calendar. Crackerjack Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame volunteer and longtime SABR member Andrew North has announced that the second annual Canadian Baseball History Symposium will take place at the St. Marys Golf & Country Club in St. Marys, Ont., on those dates. This year’s event, which will again be organized by North, will include presentations about 19th-century player Bob Addy and manager William Watkins, baseball and Canadian soldiers in World War I and the Chatham Coloured All-Stars. There will also be a pictorial history quiz based on images and a panel discussion of what defines being Canadian, and the consequences of that definition for baseball research. The registration fee is $60. To register, please email Andrew North at firstname.lastname@example.org.
· This week’s trivia question: Earlier I mentioned that the Blue Jays were participating in the expansion draft 41 years ago today. In that draft, the Blue Jays selected one player that would go on to win a Cy Young Award. Who is here? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below. The first person to provide the correct answer will win a 1980 O-Pee-Chee Joe Morgan card, 1984 O-Pee-Chee Jim Palmer card and a 1985 Donruss Paul Molitor card.
· The answer to last week’s trivia question (Etobicoke, Ont., native Joey Votto won a Gold Glove Award in 2011. Who is the only other Canadian to win a National League Gold Glove Award? ) was Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) who won seven Gold Glove Awards (1992-93, 1997-99, 2001-02).