But What Do I Know? . . . Nick Pivetta, Rob Thomson, Tyler O’Neill, Dave Stieb

June 26, 2022

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

-In recent weeks, Boston Red Sox right-hander Nick Pivetta (Victoria, B.C.) has been one of the most dominant major league pitchers. In his last 10 starts, dating back to May 7, the Canuck righty is 8-1 with a 1.85 ERA and has struck out 65 batters in 68 innings. His most recent win came on Friday when he matched up against fellow Canadian right-hander Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) and the Cleveland Guardians. Pivetta allowed just two runs in seven innings to pick up the victory. Quantrill also pitched well, permitting only two runs in five innings. With this recent hot stretch, Pivetta is earning serious consideration for the American League All-Star team. The 29-year-old Victoria Eagles and Junior National Team alum is now in his sixth major league season and his second full campaign with the Red Sox.

 -The Philadelphia Phillies have a 16-6 record since Rob Thomson (Corunna, Ont.) replaced Joe Girardi as the team’s field manager. And the players love him. A testament to this was that all of the Phillies players dressed in suits when they left on their Father’s Day road trip to Texas. Thomson is known for wearing a suit and tie on every Phillies road trip even though the dress code doesn’t require it. Thomson does this to honour his father, Jack. When Thomson was eight or nine years old, his father took him to his first major league game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Thomson told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Following that contest, the young Thomson and his dad walked past the players’ parking lot and saw the players heading to their cars wearing suits and ties. “Rob, that’s what a big league ballplayer looks like,” Jack Thomson told his son. Thomson’s father passed away in 1998, but to this day, his son dresses in a suit and tie on team road trips as a tribute to him.

-Since returning from a shoulder injury on June 7, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, B.C.) was batting .354 in 13 games. Last Sunday, he was enjoying his second consecutive three-hit performance when he suffered a hamstring injury while legging out a double. He is now back on the 10-day injured list. During his recent hot stretch, the Langley Blaze and Junior National Team alum raised his batting average from .195 to .241. Cards manager Oliver Marmol told reporters on Friday that O’Neill will be reassessed early this week to see if he can begin a rehab assignment.

Jean-Pierre Roy with the Montreal Royals.

-Please take a moment to remember Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Jean-Pierre Roy who was born on this date in 1920. Born in Montreal, Que., Roy played 12 professional seasons, including with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946. In total, he pitched in over 300 professional games and hurled almost 1,600 innings. He enjoyed his finest professional season with the International League’s Montreal Royals in 1945 when he recorded 25 wins. At different times during his professional career, Roy played in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Cuba. His Canadian stops included Trois-Rivières (1940-41, 1951), Montreal (1944-46, 1949), St. Jean (1947-48), Drummondville (1951), Ottawa (1952-53) and Sherbrooke (1955). After his playing career, he joined the Montreal Expos’ broadcast team as an analyst, performing on French radio (1969 to 1973) and TV (1969 to 1983) broadcasts. He died October 31, 2014 in Pompano Beach, Fla.

-Congratulations to Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) who recorded his 1,000th hit at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park on Tuesday. His milestone hit was a single in the bottom of the ninth in the Reds’ 8-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. With that, he became the first Reds player to reach that milestone at Great American Ball Park. Three Reds players – Pete Rose, Dave Concepcion and Barry Larkin – collected 1,000 hits at Riverfront Stadium, the club’s previous home park.

– Twenty-two years ago today, Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) reached base safely in all six of his plate appearances for the Colorado Rockies in their 15-6 win over the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field. Walker had a triple, two singles and three walks in the contest. He also scored two runs.

– In his Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech on June 18, Toronto Blue Jays legendary reliever Duane Ward discussed the trade that brought him to Toronto from the Atlanta Braves on July 6, 1986 in exchange for starter Doyle Alexander. Looking out into the audience, he spotted ex-Blue Jays GM Pat Gillick. “I can say this with all honesty – I wasn’t your first pick, was I?” Ward said to Gillick, sitting near the front of the induction tent. “I think he wanted Tom Glavine.” Gillick laughed.

Dave Stieb and Paul Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) converse in the Toronto Blue Jays’ bullpen on June 22, 1998. Photo: Len Lumbers, Today in Dave Stieb History on Twitter

-This photo (above) is one of the best photos I saw on Twitter this week. This was published on the outstanding “Today in Dave Stieb History” Twitter account, created by Blake Bell and Len Lumbers, on Wednesday. Snapped by Lumbers on June 22, 1998, the photo shows Dave Stieb chatting with fellow Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Paul Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) in the bullpen. After five years away from Major League Baseball, Stieb was making a comeback with the Blue Jays in 1998. He had already made one relief appearance for the club on the road against the Baltimore Orioles four days earlier. But on this day, fans were hoping to see his first home appearance in his comeback. The Blue Jays were facing the Montreal Expos. With the Blue Jays on their way to a 14-2 win, Stieb warmed up in the eighth inning which inspired Blue Jays fans to start chanting for him to enter the game. But it didn’t happen. Juan Guzman pitched a complete game.

-Forty-four years ago today, the Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 24-10 at Exhibition Stadium. This remains the most runs that the Blue Jays have scored in a game. There are a lot of fun facts from the box score. Willie Upshaw batted leadoff and played left field and went 2-for-5. Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and Vancouver native Dave McKay went 3-for-5 and had two doubles in one inning. Big John Mayberry had three hits, including two home runs and seven RBIs. Eighteen year-old catcher Brian Milner had three hits, including a triple, and scored three runs. O’s manager Earl Weaver eventually resorted to using outfielder Larry Harlow and backup catcher Elrod Hendricks to pitch. Interestingly, Hendricks had the most success against Blue Jays’ hitters, hurling 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

-This week’s trivia question: Forty-five years ago today, this pitcher threw the first complete game shutout in Toronto Blue Jays’ history. Who am I referring to? Hint: He later won a Cy Young Award. Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below.

-The answer to last week’s trivia question (There have been two Canadian father and son combinations that have played in the major leagues. Name one of them.) was one of Dave and Cody McKay (Vancouver, B.C.) or Paul and Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.).

9 thoughts on “But What Do I Know? . . . Nick Pivetta, Rob Thomson, Tyler O’Neill, Dave Stieb

Add yours

  1. Dave Lemanczyk would be my guess.
    Any idea how many times 2 Canadian starting pitchers have squared off against each other in a game? Maybe it’s not as uncommon as it sounds. Great article Kevin.

    1. Thanks for your support, Tom. Lemanczyk is a good guess. The answer was Pete Vuckovich. I have a feeling that someone has done some research on the Canadian pitchers squaring off. If I can find the link, I will post it. Thanks again.

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