By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there!
– 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 baseball 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 watching the Toronto Blue Jays game today.
– It’s without question the best Father’s Day moment in Blue Jays history. Eleven 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 at 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 saw this photo (below) of former Montreal Expos second baseman Delino DeShields and his son Delino DeShields Jr., who’s currently an outfielder with the Texas Rangers’ triple-A Round Rock Express, 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 competed in 15 games for the Blue Jays in 2014.
– By now, you have probably seen this photo (below) of Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Jr. Longtime Expos fan and baseball historian Warren Campbell pointed out to me that this photo was snapped at the last Expos home game in 2002. Batting leadoff for the first time in his career, Guerrero came into that contest with 40 stolen bases and was looking for his 40th home run to become baseball’s second 40/40 man. But it wasn’t to be, he finished 1-for-5, with his sole hit being a double of the centre field wall in the fifth inning.
-Happy Birthday to legendary Blue Jays executive and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Paul Beeston! After graduating from Welland High & Vocational School, he obtained a bachelor of arts degree, majoring in economics and political science, from the University of Western Ontario in 1968. He was promptly hired by Coopers & Lybrand in London, Ont., and received his chartered accountant designation in 1971. He remained employed with the London firm until he was hired by the Blue Jays on May 10, 1976. Initially the vice-president of administration, he was promoted to vice-president of business operations with the club the following year. His rise through the Blue Jays’ ranks continued when he was named executive vice-president of business in 1984 and president and chief operating officer (CEO) in 1989. On December 13, 1991, he was appointed the chief executive officer of the franchise and he oversaw the Blue Jays’ two World Series-winning teams. In 1997, he became the president and chief operating officer of Major League Baseball. His name was added to the Blue Jays’ Level of Excellence at Rogers Centre in 2008 and he is currently a President Emeritus with the club. On this Father’s Day, he must be very proud of his son, David, who followed him into baseball and is the executive vice president/chief strategy officer for the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management.
– 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. This is the second consecutive year the festivities have been postponed. The class of 2020, which includes Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.), John Olerud, Duane Ward and Montreal Expos legendary broadcaster Jacques Doucet (Montreal, Que.), will now be inducted on June 18, 2022. I look forward to celebrating the 2020 inductees.
– I can’t think of a better way to end a Father’s Day column than with this clip from Field of Dreams, the 1989 movie inspired by the book, Shoeless Joe, written by Canadian author and Jack Graney Award winner W.P. Kinsella. This scene (click on link below) is an emotional and heart-warming moment between Ray Kinsella and his father, John, who magically appears on the ball diamond that Ray has constructed in the field at his farm. Say, “Hey dad, you wanna have a catch?” when you’re in a crowd of people at almost any ball field in North America and someone will know this scene.
– 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.