By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:
-If your dream is to work in a front office position in Major League Baseball, here’s some inspiration for you: Montreal native Alex Anthopoulos started in professional baseball as an unpaid intern, organizing fan mail and photocopying game day stats for the Montreal Expos in 2000. On Tuesday night, 21 years later, he became the first Canadian general manager to win a World Series.
-Tonight we’ll find out if Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, B.C.) will win his second consecutive National League Gold Glove Award for left fielders. The Gold Glove Award winners will be announced on ESPN on a special-edition of “Sunday Night Baseball” that will start at 8:30 p.m. E.T. When he won a Gold Glove last year, O’Neill became the first Canadian to secure a Gold Glove at any position since Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) was honoured in 2011. Also, by capturing the honour last year, O’Neill became the first Canuck outfielder to win a National League Gold Glove Award since fellow Maple Ridge, B.C. native Larry Walker accomplished the feat with the Colorado Rockies in 2002. O’Neill is up against David Peralta, from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and A.J. Pollock, from the Los Angeles Dodgers, for this year’s honour. The 26-year-old Langley Blaze and Junior National Team grad had 12 defensive runs saved (Rdrs) and a 0.6 dWAR in 131 games in 2021. He also had seven outfield assists. Last week, O’Neill won his second straight Fielding Bible Award. These are handed out by Baseball Info Solutions (BIS). BIS relies heavily on advanced statistics to determine the recipients and the Fielding Bible Awards are considered an alternative to the Gold Glove Awards.
– The 2021 Topps Update baseball card set has just been released and it showcases the first solo Topps Jordan Romano card (Image below). The Ontario Blue Jays and Junior National Team alum had been featured in the 2020 Topps Heritage set on a dual “Rookie Stars” card with T.J. Zeuch.
– Speaking of Romano, how good was he at stranding baserunners out of the bullpen for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021? This good (LOB means Left on Base):
– And the winner of the best Halloween costume paying tribute to a current Canadian major league player goes to this eight-year-old (More photos):
– For my latest, “How good was Cleveland right-hander Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) this season?’” fact, how about his? Per the Tribe Insider on Twitter, the Ontario Terriers and Junior National Team alum’s 1.94 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break (or second half of the season) was the fifth-best by a Cleveland pitcher in the last 52 years.
-Don’t forget to register to watch the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2021 virtual induction ceremony which will take place on November 16 at 7 p.m. E.T. Registration is free and you can register through this link. The Hall’s 2021 class was selected by a panel of Canadian baseball historians and consists of 16 individuals and one team. It includes trailblazing players, executives, an umpire and an international championship winning team. The last two Tip O’Neill Award winners (Mike Soroka (2019) and Jamie Romak (2020)), as well as the last two Jack Graney Award winners (Ken Fidlin (2019) and Dan Shulman (2020)) will also be honoured. Bios of this year’s inductees can be found here.
–It was one of the worst days in Toronto Blue Jays and Canadian baseball history. Four years ago today, on November 7, 2017, Roy Halladay died when his plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. My thoughts are with his wife Brandy and sons Braden and Ryan today. The last major public speech that Halladay delivered was at his induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont., on June 24 that year. Halladay was known for his intensity when he played, so it was delightful to see him on stage giving one of the funniest speeches I can recall. You can watch it here:
– Who was the first Canadian ever selected in the first round of the MLB draft? The answer is right-hander Dave Wainhouse (Toronto, Ont.) who was chosen 19th overall by the Montreal Expos in 1988. Wainhouse would make his major league debut with the Expos in 1991 and then play parts of six more big league seasons with the Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals between 1993 and 2000. He turns 54 today. Happy Birthday to him!
-On Friday, the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced its ballot of Golden Era candidates that will be considered for induction by a 16-member committee of baseball historians, former players and writers before the voting results are announced on December 5. The ballot includes Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Roger Maris, Minnie Miñoso, Danny Murtaugh, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce and Maury Wills. Most recalls Wills as a fleet-footed infielder with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he had a brief soap opera-esque tenure with the Montreal Expos in 1969. In his three months with the Expos, among other things, Wills held out for a new contract, retired then un-retired and slapped a Montreal Gazette reporter. I researched and wrote about Wills’ tenure with the Expos last year. You can read my article here.
– My trivia question for this week: As noted earlier, the Montreal Expos took Wainhouse in the first round of the 1988 MLB draft. But the Expos’ third round selection that year would go on to win three Gold Gloves and record more than 2,000 MLB hits. Who was he? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section.
–The answer to last week’s trivia question (Who is the only Canadian to pitch in the World Series for two different teams?) was Ron Taylor (Toronto, Ont.) with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964 and the New York Mets in 1969.