By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:
-Get well soon to Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) who revealed last Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. Walker was scheduled to take part in the All-Star Game festivities in Denver, Colo., but he was forced to cancel due to the illness. The former Montreal Expos and Colorado Rockies slugger will need time to recover before he becomes the second Canadian inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in a ceremony in Cooperstown on September 8. He will be inducted alongside ex-players Derek Jeter and Ted Simmons, as well as former MLBPA executive director Marvin Miller, who will be honoured posthumously.
–The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont., will finally be able to re-open its doors on Tuesday after a prolonged shutdown. Their business hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays through the end of August. They will also be open for reduced hours in September and October. “Like it has been for many Canadians, this has been a challenging time for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame,” said Scott Crawford, the Hall’s director of operations. “But we look forward to opening our doors and talking baseball again with our visitors, members and loyal supporters.”
-The Canadian ball hall recently added the batting gloves, the official scorecard and a ball from the game in which Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) belted his 300th major league home run to their collection (See photo below). Votto socked the milestone homer off Chicago Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta in the third inning of the Cincinnati Reds’ 8-6 win on April 30. That homer made Votto just the second Canuck to hit 300 big league home runs, joining Walker who clubbed 383.
– The St. Marys, Ont.-based shrine also received the hat and cleats that Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.) wore for the Canadian national team when he tossed seven no-hit innings, as part of a combined no-hitter, against Colombia in the first game of the Americas Olympic Qualifier on May 31. The Hall also received the official Baseball Canada lineup card from that game. Brandon McGuigan (Canadian citizen) and Ben Onyshko (Winnipeg, Man.) finished that contest with two hitless innings.
-It’s hard to believe given the large number of Canadians that have participated in the All-Star Game over the years, but when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Montreal, Que.) belted a home run in the third inning on Tuesday, he became the first player born in Canada to hit a home run in the Midsummer Classic. Two years earlier, Guerrero Jr. had clubbed a record total of 91 home runs in the Home Run Derby and Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.) won the Home Run Derby in 2008, but no Canuck had homered in the actual game.
-Scott Crawford, of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, noted on Twitter last week that with Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) recording his seventh save of the season for the Blue Jays last Sunday, the Canuck reliever has tied Port Hope, Ont., native Paul Quantrill’s record for most saves in a season by a Canadian for the club. Quantrill had seven saves for the Blue Jays in 1998.
-On this date 48 years ago, Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Steve Rogers made his MLB debut with the Montreal Expos. The 6-foot-2 right-hander allowed just two runs on four hits in eight innings against the Houston Astros at the Astrodome, but settled for a no decision in a game that the Expos eventually won 3-2 in 10 innings. That was his first start in what would be an outstanding rookie season that would see him go 10-5 with a 1.54 ERA with seven complete games in 17 starts.
-Thank you to baseball historian and Expos super fan Warren Campbell for sharing this Kijiji ad with me. Someone is selling what they claim to be Gary Carter’s former 1975 Buick Riviera. The asking price is $30,000. If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you’ll hope this doesn’t play out like the Jon Voight car scenario.
-It was 10 years ago today that Scott Diamond (Guelph, Ont.) made his major league debut for the Minnesota Twins. The Canuck lefty would allow four runs (three earned) on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings in the Twins’ 6-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Target Field. It was the first of seven starts Diamond would make for the Twins that season.
-If you live in the London, Ont., area, you should purchase a Southwestern Ontario Baseball Heritage Pass. For just $15, you can visit three baseball attractions in the area: the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont., historic Labatt Park (the world’s oldest continuously used baseball grounds) in London, Ont., and the Beachville Museum in Beachville, Ont., which was home to one of the first documented baseball games in North America. For more information and to purchase your pass, click on this link.
– My trivia question for this week: Aside from Larry Walker, who are the only other two Canadians to register 1,500 or more hits in the major leagues? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below.
–The answer to last week’s trivia question (What is the name of the Canadian that has been selected the highest in the MLB draft over the years? ) was Adam Loewen (Surrey, B.C.) who was selected fourth overall by the Baltimore Orioles in 2002.