By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Former Montreal Expos pitcher Derek Aucoin was awarded the Quebec Medallion of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Lachine, Que., native, who’s one of Canada’s greatest baseball ambassadors, was presented with the honour by Quebec’s minister of economy and innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon, in a video conference ceremony.
The award is presented by the government to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the province.
Fitzgibbon is the MP for Terrebonne, Que., the region where Aucoin has lived with his wife, Isabelle, and son, Dawson.
After honing his skills in Quebec and with the Canadian Junior National Team, Aucoin was signed by the Montreal Expos on July 17, 1989. Pitching in the Expos’ organization was a dream come true for the 6-foot-7 right-hander, who grew up idolizing players like Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Gary Carter and Steve Rogers.
After parts of eight seasons in the minors, Aucoin made his big league debut with the Expos on May 21, 1996 at 3Com Park in San Francisco. With this appearance, Aucoin became the only Quebecer signed and developed by the Expos to have pitched with them at the big league level.
But Aucoin’s greatest big league thrill would came four days later when he hurled two scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
In all, he posted a 3.38 ERA for the Expos in 1996 as part of his 10-year professional career that also included 60 appearances for the triple-A Ottawa Lynx in 1996 and 1997. He also joined the Lynx team in the postseason that won the International League championship in 1995.
On top of his professional playing accomplishments, Aucoin has also served as a coach, teacher and volunteer at the grassroots level in his home province. In this role, he has been a positive influence on thousands of children across Quebec.
Aucoin has also distinguished himself as a highly respected member of the media, as a radio host and analyst.
In 2019, he became the first Quebec native to sit on the board of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and in the same year, he was inducted into the Quebec Baseball Hall of Fame.
Aucoin, who turned 50 this year, is courageously battling brain cancer. On top of his contributions to baseball in his home province and on a national level, he has also been inspiration to countless people across the country.
Congratulations to him, his wife, Isabelle, and son, Dawson on this honour.