My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:
· For baseball writers on the fence about whether Larry Walker deserves their Hall of Fame vote, I offer this tweet from Ryan Spaeder (@TheAceofSpaeder on Twitter) that was sent out on Tuesday: “No player in baseball history has more career home runs (383) and stolen bases (230) with a higher lifetime batting average (.313) than Larry Walker.”
· I was watching the MLB Network this week and the following trivia question came up on MLB Tonight Live. Who is the last Baltimore Orioles pitcher to record a Cy Young vote? The answer was Navan, Ont., native Erik Bedard, who finished fifth in the voting in 2007 after he posted a 13-5 record and a 3.16 ERA and struck out 221 batters in 182 innings in 28 starts.
· Chatham, Ont., native and Canadian baseball legend Fergie Jenkins was recently in Des Moines, Iowa with fellow Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson and former Montreal Expo Lee Smith for a fundraising event. The trio participated in a question and answer session at Principal Park, home of the triple-A Iowa Cubs, before the event. Part of this session was recorded and you can listen to Jenkins reflect on his career in this video.
· It was 33 years ago today that Montreal Expos general manager and Sackville, N.B., native Murray Cook completed a trade that sent Gary Carter to the New York Mets for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans. “It turned out that I made that deal with [Mets GM] Frank Cashen and [Mets assistant GM] Joel McIlvaine in the stairwell at the winter meetings [in Nashville at the Opryland Hotel] because that was the only place we could get together without the media being aware of it,” revealed Cook in a conference call following the announcement that he had been elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in February 2014.
· Here’s more support for Montreal Expos legend and Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero’s case for a plaque in Cooperstown, courtesy of the @Vlad4HOF Twitter account: “Vladimir Guerrero’s .318 batting average & 449 HR is matched by only five players: Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx.”
· Twenty-five years ago today, Jimmy Key left the Toronto Blue Jays to sign a four-year, $17-million deal with the New York Yankees. The underrated southpaw had spent his first nine big league seasons with the Blue Jays. During his tenure in Toronto, he registered 12 or more wins in eight consecutive seasons (1985 to 1992), was selected to two All-Star games (1985, 1991) and finished second in the American League Cy Young voting in 1987. He is tied with Dave Stieb for the lowest ERA (3.42) by a pitcher who has tossed at least 1,000 innings for the Blue Jays. After inking his deal with the Yankees, he was selected to two more All-Star games in four seasons in the Bronx before completing his career with the Orioles in 1997 and 1998.
· After being designated for assignment earlier this off-season, Jim Adduci has re-signed a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers that includes an invitation to spring training. Adduci enjoyed three separate big league stints with the Tigers in 2017. In 29 major league contests, the left-handed hitting outfielder went 20-for-83 (.241 batting average) and he finished with a .323 on-base percentage (OBP). In all, he has played parts of three seasons in the majors, including 61 games with the Texas Rangers in 2013 and 2014.
· So who was the first player to be featured in a Montreal Expos uniform on a baseball card? The answer is Ty Cline on card #442 in the 1969 Topps Baseball set. There were lots of Expos cards earlier in the 1969 set but they presented the players in either airbrushed photos or head shots without caps. You can read about this historic Expos card and Cline’s career in this blog entry from Wax Pack Gods.
· Another of the many reasons Bob Elliott is a Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner: the time and effort he devotes to his annual All-Canadian college Team for the Canadian Baseball Network (CBN). Read about the CBN’s first, second and third 2017 All-Canadian college teams here.
· If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for the baseball fan in your family, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is holding its annual Holiday Silent Auction. The auction is chock full of baseball autographs and memorabilia. You can check out the auction items here. The auction ends Wednesday at noon E.T.
· This week’s trivia question: Earlier I noted that Erik Bedard placed fifth in the Cy Young voting with the Baltimore Orioles in 2007. There have only been two Canadian pitchers to receive Cy Young votes since 2007. Who are they? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below. The first person to provide the correct answer will win a 1974 Topps Willie Stargell card, a 1984 O-Pee-Chee Cal Ripken Jr. card and a 1987 Donruss Ryne Sandberg card.
· The answer to last week’s trivia question (Outside of Walker and Joey Votto, there have been two other Canadians that have won the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Tip O’Neill Award three times. Can you name them?) Jason Bay (2004-05, 2009) and Justin Morneau (2006, 2008, 2014).