By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Here’s a rundown of some significant events in Canadian baseball history that have happened on May 7:
1929 – Former Montreal Expos manager Dick Williams was born in St. Louis, Mo. Prior to managing the Expos to a 380-347 record in parts of five seasons from 1977 to 1981, Williams had played parts of two seasons as an outfielder with the International League’s Montreal Royals in 1953 and 1956. Following his playing career, Williams’ first pro managerial gig came with the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs in 1965 (see photo below) – the season after Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson made his managerial debut with the same club. Williams passed away in 2011 at the age of 82.
1937 – Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and Montreal Expos legend Claude Raymond was born in St. Jean, Que. It was another Canadian, Roland Gladu, who signed Raymond to his first pro contract with the Milwaukee Braves in 1955. After one season as a starting pitcher, the hard-throwing right-hander was converted into a reliever and spent four seasons in the Braves’ organization before he was claimed in a minor league draft by the Chicago White Sox. He would make his major league debut with the Sox on April 15, 1959. After just four innings with the White Sox, Raymond ended up back in the Braves’ organization. From 1961 to 1971, while playing with the Braves, Houston Astros and Montreal Expos, he evolved into one of the National League’s premier relief pitchers, finishing in the top 10 in saves four times and earning an all-star selection in 1966. When he was sold to the Expos on August 19, 1969, he became the first Canadian to play for a Canadian major league team. In his second season in Montreal, he registered a career-high 23 saves. Following his playing career, Raymond became a well-known TV and radio analyst for the Expos.
1990 – Delino DeShields belted his first MLB home run for the Expos. It was a leadoff shot against San Francisco Giants right-hander Scott Garrelts at Olympic Stadium in the Expos’ 7-6 win.
1991 – Ed Sprague made his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays. Batting eighth and playing third base, he went 0-for-3 but fielded four ground balls flawlessly in the Blue Jays’ 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers at SkyDome.
1995 – Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) belted his 100th MLB home run. It was a solo shot off Dodgers’ right-hander Hideo Nomo in the bottom of the fifth inning in a Rockies’ 12-10 loss at Coors Field.
2000 – Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, B.C.) tossed a one-hitter for the Florida Marlins against the New York Mets at Pro Player Park. Mike Piazza’s double in the sixth inning was the only hit Dempster allowed. Dempster also struck out eight batters.
2016 – In case you need proof that absolutely anything is possible, it was on this date five years ago that a 42-year-old former Expos pitcher Bartolo Colon hit his first – and only – MLB home run. Here’s the video for your enjoyment: