June 19, 2022
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
-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 Toronto Blue Jays 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 was able to spend some time with him at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies yesterday and to be able to watch the Blue Jays game with him this afternoon.
-It’s without question the best Father’s Day moment in Blue Jays’ history. Twelve 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 watch the home run below:
-Jeff Francis (North Delta, B.C.) shared a hilarious and heartfelt story about his relentlessly positive dad, Mike, in his Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech on Saturday afternoon in St. Marys, Ont. “He called me after every start. I remember after so many tough ones – and there were a lot – his voice saying over the phone, ‘You were so good today!’ Sometimes all I wanted to hear was ‘Oh my, were you ever bad!’ . . . But little did I know he was right. To this day, he’ll dig into the very bottom of the internet archives to prove he was right. Once a year, he sends me the same chart titled, All-Time Major League Leaders in Fielding Percentage by Pitchers with At Least 1,000 Career Innings Pitched, there’s my name at the very top. Every so often he goes back to it to make sure nobody has passed me. ‘People show know this,’ he says.”
-During his induction speech, Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.) also praised his father, George, for helping him become a major league player. “I knew if I called home and called my dad, he’d pick up the phone. It didn’t matter if it was two in the morning. It didn’t matter what time of day it was and the conversation with my dad always went back to hitting,” said Morneau to his dad in the audience. “It always went back to what’s going on in the batter’s box because he could listen to the games on the radio and say, ‘Hey, what happened in that second at bat? You popped up to second. Your front side must be coming out early.’ . . . This is true. We walked through the at bats and we just shared the journey together. He threw me more batting practice than any other human being has probably ever thrown in their life. And I thank him for that and I thank you for helping me get here.”
-Former Toronto Blue Jays reliever Duane Ward was emotional talking about his father during his induction speech and in pre-ceremony interviews. His father passed away four years ago. In this clip from Sportsnet, Ward said his father would be first and foremost on his mind when he delivered his speech. With his voiced choked with emotion, Ward did manage to get out a thank you to his dad at the end of his speech. Your dad would be proud, Duane.
– Keeping with the Father’s Day theme, I wanted to share this photo (below) of former Montreal Expos second baseman Delino DeShields and his son Delino DeShields Jr., who’s currently an outfielder with the Atlanta Braves’ triple-A Gwinnett Stripers, from 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.
– By now, you have probably seen this great photo (below) of Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Jr. Longtime Expos fan and baseball historian Warren Campbell pointed out to me last year 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 off the centre field wall in the fifth inning.
-Congratulations to longtime Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame board member Tammy Adkin on being named the 2020 winner of the Randall Echlin Lifetime Volunteer Award, which is given out each year by the Hall. Tammy selflessly shared her wisdom and expertise on the Hall’s board for many years. She is also one of the kindest people I know. I was very happy to see her recognized. Congratulations also to 2021 Randall Echlin Award co-winners Doug Goudy and Rod Betteridge, who have volunteered countless hours as groundskeepers to keep the Hall of Fame’s diamonds in tip-top condition.
– 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 and son combinations that have played in the major leagues. Name one of them. Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below.
-The answer to last week’s trivia question (Three other Canadians have appeared in a postseason game for the Toronto Blue Jays since Rob Butler did so in 1993. Name two of them) was any two of Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.), Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) or Michael Saunders (Victoria, B.C.). There are four Canadians if you count Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Montreal, Que.) when he played for the Blue Jays in their Wild Card Series against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020.