By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Some Canadian baseball news and notes:
-Congratulations to Blue Jays on Sportsnet broadcasters Dan Shulman (Thornhill, Ont.) and Joe Siddall (Windsor, Ont.) on their Canadian Screen Award nominations. Shulman is up for best Canadian sports play-by-play announcer. He faces competition from Rod Black (CFL on TSN), Chris Cuthbert (NHL on Sportsnet), Mark Lee (Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, CBC) and Rob Snoek (Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, CBC). Siddall is up for best Canadian sports analyst against Kevin Bieska (Hockey Night in Canada), Craig Simpson (NHL on Sportsnet), Meghan McPeak (Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, CBC) and Michael Smith (Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, CBC). The winners will be announced over six days during Canadian Screen Week, which will include the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards show to be broadcast on CBC on April 10.
-After making his pro managerial debut as the dugout boss of the Atlanta Braves’ Low-A Augusta GreenJackets in 2021, Michael Saunders (Victoria, B.C.) is moving on to a role as organizational outfield and baserunning coordinator. The GreenJackets finished 54-66 under Saunders. In parts of nine major league seasons as a player with the Seattle Mariners, Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, Saunders batted .232 and socked 81 home runs in 775 major league games. The GreenJackets, however, will not be without a Canadian on their coaching staff. Mike Steed, longtime Ontario Blue Jays pitching coordinator/college placement advisor, will take over as pitching coach for the club. This will be the 51-year-old Beamsville, Ont., native’s first season as a coach in the affiliated pro ranks.
-Newly elected Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Francis (North Delta, B.C.) showed off his Hall of Fame sense of humor on Twitter on Friday. After I pasted a photo of this baseball card (below) of him batting on Twitter on Thursday, Francis saw it and responded: “This can only be an argument FOR universal DH.”
-I knew Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) had been playing for the Cincinnati Reds since 2007, but I guess I never really thought about just how many games he had played for the Reds until I saw this post on Twitter after longtime Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman announced his retirement on Tuesday:
-Canadian baseball legend Fergie Jenkins (Chatham, Ont.) is one of the most active and engaging former major leaguers on Twitter. I love the fact that he still receives messages like this one that he shared on Friday:
-One of my other jobs is writing articles about sports cards. Since the pandemic began, a lot of young collectors have entered the hobby, so I’ve had to keep up on many of the modern sets being released. In the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that the CN Tower is getting some love on Topps cards. Here are two examples:
-Rest in peace, Travis Good. He was the guitarist in the Canadian alternative country band, The Sadies. He passed away on Thursday from natural causes at the age of 48. He had recently been under doctor’s care for a coronary issue. My heart breaks for his father, Bruce, of The Good Brothers. Bruce is a big baseball fan. I had a long conversation with him in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on induction day in 2013. He was a wonderful guy who spoke so proudly of his sons, Dallas and Travis, who followed him into the music business. I’m sending my thoughts and prayers to him and his family.
-Thirty-seven years ago today, the Blue Jays signed reliever Bill Caudill to a five-year contract worth an estimated $9 million. According to the Canadian Press report below, this made him the highest paid professional athlete in Canada. Having watched too many late game leads be squandered by their bullpen in 1983 and 1984, the Blue Jays dealt shortstop Alfredo Griffin and outfielder Dave Collins to the Oakland A’s for Caudill on December 8, 1984. Caudill had been one of the best closers in the majors and was coming off a career-best 36-save season. Caudill’s 1985 campaign with the Blue Jays was not as bad as most Blue Jays fans remember it to be. He recorded a 2.99 ERA and 14 saves in 67 appearances, but was replaced by Tom Henke as the club’s closer in late July. It was the following season that Caudill really struggled, posting a 6.19 ERA in 40 appearances before he was released by the Blue Jays at the end spring training in 1987. He would re-sign with the A’s and make just six more big league appearances before retiring.
-Happy 63rd Birthday to former Montreal Expos pitcher Bill Gullickson! On September 10, 1980, he set a major league rookie record when he struck out 18 Chicago Cubs batters to lead the Expos to a 4-2 win at Olympic Stadium (Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood later broke this record in 1998 when he struck out 20 in a game in his rookie season). Gullickson tossed a complete game for his eighth win of his freshman season. He’d complete that campaign with 10 wins and a 3.00 ERA in 24 games, good for a second-place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. He went on to be a key member of the Expos’ starting rotation for the next five seasons. From 1982 to 1985, he won 12 or more game in each season, including a career-high 17 in 1983 before he was dealt to the Reds in December 1985. He proceeded to pitch nine more pro seasons and had a 20-win campaign with the Tigers in 1991. He finished his MLB career with 162 wins and a 3.93 ERA in 398 appearances across 14 seasons.
-This week’s trivia question: Who holds the Toronto Blue Jays’ record for most stolen bases in a season? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below.
-The answer to last week’s trivia question (Who was the first Montreal Expos player to steal 50 bases in a season for the club?) was Larry Lintz who swiped 50 bases in 1974.