By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Joe Carter’s World Series-winning home run remains the No. 1 moment among Canadian baseball fans, according to a Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame survey.
Carter’s three-run blast off Philadelphia Phillies closer Mitch Williams in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1993 Fall Classic was the most frequent choice for favourite Canadian baseball moment in the recent study. It ranked comfortably ahead of the Blue Jays clinching their first World Series title a year earlier and Jose Bautista’s bat-flip home run in Game 5 of the 2015 American League Division Series.
The continued fondness Canadian baseball fans have for the Carter home run is just one of many findings in the survey that the ball hall conducted with assistance from IMI International, an independent marketing consultancy.
“We were very pleased to be able to partner with IMI International to complete our 2020 survey,” said Jeremy Diamond, chair of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors. “At the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, our mission is to champion education, respect, diversity and healthy lifestyles across generations through the power of baseball. The survey provides some interesting insights into baseball in Canada and we hope it sparks further conversations. Like all fans of baseball, we are excited to see baseball return!”
In all, 904 adult baseball fans from across the country participated in the survey between June 18 and June 30. Ninety-one percent of the respondents classified themselves as “passionate” fans of the game.
On top of the Carter home run still being the country’s favourite baseball moment, fans also chose Roy Halladay and Roberto Alomar as the best Toronto Blue Jays pitcher and position player respectively, and Pedro Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero as the best Expos in those categories.
Not surprisingly, the Blue Jays were the runaway choice for favourite major league team (with 81 per cent of respondents selecting them), easily outdistancing the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees.
One of the survey results that surprised Diamond was that 62 per cent of the respondents, despite being passionate baseball fans, attend five or fewer major league games a year.
“So, in this case, being a big fan doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to 20 games a season or that you’re a season-ticket-holder,” he said.
Diamond notes that the survey results also indicate that it’s a younger demographic (18 to 30 age group) that misses attending games in-person the most.
“For them, I think it has become more of a social outing,” he said.
Here’s a summary of some of the other survey results:
Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) was selected the All-Time Best Canadian Blue Jays player, ahead of Matt Stairs (Fredericton, N.B.) and Paul Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.).
Youppi! was voted Canada’s best baseball mascot with 46% of respondents choosing him. Twenty-eight per cent chose B.J. Birdie, the original Blue Jays’ mascot.
Field of Dreams is the preferred baseball movie of Canadians (Somewhere Edmonton native, W.P. Kinsella, who wrote the book the movie is based on, is smiling.). It finished ahead of Bull Durham and Moneyball.
Hot dogs were voted the go-to ballpark food/beverage. Beer was a close second.
Sixty-two per cent of respondents attend five games or fewer in-person per season, but 68 per cent say the thing they miss most about baseball is being able to watch games on TV.
When asked how they feel about the length of major league games, 51 per cent of respondents said that the games take too long.
Fifty-two percent of respondents indicated that the universal DH is one of the changes they most want to see implemented in Major League Baseball.
The chance to see a perfect game was at the top of the list of baseball events to see in person, but when asked if they could do anything they wanted, sitting in the dugout for a big-league game was the No. 1 answer among fans.
You can view the full results of the survey here.
“We wanted to do two things with this survey,” said Diamond. “We wanted to have a little fun and get a sense of how excited people were for baseball to come back [from the COVID-19 pandemic] and also get a sense of where fans’ interests are and see where the opportunities are for the Hall to tell some of the stories that people want to hear.”
Located in St. Marys, Ont., the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was established in 1982 and houses a vast collection of artifacts that date back to the 1860s. The Canuck ball shrine is situated on a 32-acre site that also houses the Harry Simmons Memorial Library, four baseball fields and walking trails. Their 133 inductees range from World Series-winning players to pioneering grassroots executives.