May 18, 2022
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Some Canadian baseball history news and notes from the past few days:
– The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame announced on Monday that Toronto Blue Jays legend and 2020 inductee John Olerud will be unable to attend this year’s induction ceremony to be held in St. Marys, Ont., on June 18. The Hall hopes to celebrate the honour with Olerud and his family in 2023, said Jeremy Diamond, chair of the Hall’s board of directors, in a statement.
-On top of having a statue unveiled of him outside of Wrigley Field in Chicago on Friday, Canadian baseball legend Fergie Jenkins (Chatham, Ont.) will be honoured at Labatt Park in London, Ont. in just over two weeks. Tourism London and the London Majors announced on Tuesday that June 3 will be “Fergie Jenkins Day” at the historic park. As part of the day, Jenkins will tour Labatt Park, which is the oldest continuously used baseball grounds in the world. Jenkins will also throw out the first pitch and be available to sign autographs prior to the game. Best known for his Hall of Fame big league career in which he registered 284 wins over 19 seasons, Jenkins also pitched for the Intercounty Baseball League’s London Majors in 1984 and 1985. For more information on Fergie Jenkins Day and how you can get tickets, click here.
-Wisconsin-based sportswriter David E. Schultz forwarded me this moving tribute video (below) to Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Pete Ward that was put together by his grandchildren. Please take 15 minutes to watch it. Ward was a Montreal native who batted .254 and belted 98 home runs in parts of nine big league seasons from 1962 to 1970. He passed away on March 16 at the age of 84. One photo in the video pictures Ward with fellow Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and legendary Toronto Blue Jays executive Pat Gillick in 2009. I did some research and discovered that Gillick’s first professional roommate when he was a pitcher with class-A Stockton in the Baltimore Orioles’ ranks in 1959 was Ward.
-It was 28 years ago today that Greg O’Halloran (Toronto, Ont.) recorded his first major league hit with the Florida Marlins. The Canuck catcher pinch-hit for Charlie Hough in the seventh inning and laced a single to centre field off New York Mets right-hander Bobby Jones at Shea Stadium. Two batters later, he scored his first MLB run on a Alex Arias single. That run turned out to be the winning run in the Marlins’ 4-3 win.
-It was 45 years ago today that Montreal Expos outfielder and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson belted his first major league home run. It was a solo shot off Atlanta Braves right-hander Buzz Capra in the top of the eighth inning at Fulton County Stadium. The Expos lost the game 10-8. The following is some brief and grainy footage of Dawson’s first big league home run: