By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
– Up until my mid-teens, he channeled his inner Mickey Mantle to hit me countless fly balls down Thames Crescent in Dorchester, Ont. And I chased them pretending to be Jesse Barfield or Dale Murphy. He’s a kind, quiet, patient, gentle and responsible man who has literally given me the shoes off his feet on more than one occasion. He’s my handyman, my accountant, my Toronto Blue Jays co-analyst and most importantly, a tremendously supportive dad. I’m blessed to have Ralph Glew as my father and I’m grateful that I will be able to spend time with him today, even if there’s not a Blue Jays game to watch with him.
– It’s without question the best Father’s Day moment in Blue Jays history. Ten years ago, John McDonald returned to the Blue Jays with a heavy heart, five days after delivering the eulogy at his father Jack’s funeral. As one of his final requests, McDonald’s father asked his son to point up to him after he touched home plate following his next home run. The Blue Jays’ smooth-fielding shortstop, who averaged less than two home runs a season, promised he would, but he cautioned his father that it could take a long time. Magically, in his first bat after his father’s death, McDonald belted a pitch from San Francisco Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt over the left-field wall at Rogers Centre on Father’s Day. You can listen to McDonald recount the story of the home run in the clip below.
– Keeping with the Father’s Day theme, I recently saw the photo (below) of former Montreal Expos second baseman Delino DeShields and his son Delino DeShields Jr., who’s now a major league outfielder with the Cleveland Indians, on DeShields Jr.’s Instagram page. DeShields Jr. was born on August 16, 1992 when his father was in the middle of one of his best seasons with the Expos. That season, the senior DeShields batted .292 with 156 hits – including eight triples – and registered 46 stolen bases as the club’s primary leadoff hitter.
– When right-hander Jason Grilli toed the rubber for the Blue Jays in 2016, he and his father, Steve, became the second father/son tandem to have played for the Blue Jays. Father Steve tossed 2-1/3 innings in his sole appearance for the Blue Jays in 1979. The first father and son to suit up for the Blue Jays was John Mayberry (1978 to 1982) and later his son, John, Jr., who participated in 15 games for the Blue Jays in 2014.
– This baseball card (below) always warms my heart. In 1992, Pinnacle created a subset that highlighted the idols of prominent big league players. When asked who he would like to honour as his idol, Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and Blue Jays legend Roberto Alomar selected his father and former big leaguer Sandy Alomar Sr. The senior Alomar played parts of 15 seasons in the majors and has served as a roving instructor in the Blue Jays organization in more recent years.
– I’m feeling kind of sad because this would’ve been the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction weekend in St. Marys, Ont. I’ve been attending the event for more than 20 years with my dad. With Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.), John Olerud, Duane Ward and Montreal Expos legendary broadcaster Jacques Doucet (Montreal, Que.) set to be inducted, it was going to be a special class this year. I realize, of course, that it’s far more important that we all stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. So I look forward to celebrating the 2020 inductees whenever it’s safe to hold the ceremony in the future.
– It was 10 years ago today that the Blue Jays designated slumping infielder Edwin Encarnacion for assignment. Encarnacion was batting just .200 in 37 games and was also struggling defensively at third base. Fortunately for the Blue Jays, no team claimed him and they were able to assign him to their triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas where he would hit .438 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in seven games before being recalled. The rest, as they say, is history. Encarnacion evolved into one of the best sluggers in franchise history. From 2012 to 2016, he never hit less than 34 home runs in a season and knocked in 100 runs in four of those five campaigns.
– Forty-one years ago today, and 16 days after selecting him 10th overall in the MLB draft, the Montreal Expos signed Tim Wallach to his first MLB contract. Wallach began his big league career as an outfielder before developing into the best third baseman in the franchise’s history. In 13 seasons with the Expos from 1980 to 1992, Wallach was selected to five all-star games, won three Gold Gloves and captured two Silver Slugger Awards. He finished his career as the Expos’ all-time leader in several statistical categories, including games played (1,767), hits (1,694), doubles (360), RBI (905) and total bases (2,728). For his efforts, he was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.
– This week’s trivia question: There have been two Canadian father/son tandems that have played in the big leagues. Can you name them? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below. Please note: I’m going to hold off awarding prizes until after the COVID-19 pandemic. Hope you understand.
– The answer to last week’s trivia question (What two-time Grey Cup-winning quarterback was a first-round pick of the Expos in 1971? ) was Condredge Holloway.