November 6, 2022
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
My weekly Canadian baseball news and notes:
-Given the number of excellent defensive first basemen the Toronto Blue Jays have had over the years (Willie Upshaw, John Olerud, Lyle Overbay and Justin Smoak come to mind), it’s surprising that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Montreal, Que.) is the first to win a Gold Glove Award. Guerrero Jr. was announced as a first-time winner on Tuesday. With this, he also became the first infielder born in Canada to win a Gold Glove for a Canadian major league team. Maple Ridge, B.C., native Larry Walker became the first outfielder to secure a Gold Glove for a Canadian team when he did so for the Montreal Expos in 1992.
–Scott Thorman (Cambridge, Ont.) is not the new manager of the Kansas City Royals. The club introduced former Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro as their new dugout boss on Thursday. Anne Rogers, of MLB.com, reported on October 25 that Thorman had been one of the candidates interviewed for the position. Thorman managed the Royals’ triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers to a 71-78 record this season. But prior to that, he had guided Royals’ affiliates to three straight championships. In 2021, Thorman, who played parts of two major league seasons with the Atlanta Braves in 2006 and 2007, managed the Northwest Arkansas Naturals to a double-A Central championship. In 2018 and 2019, he piloted the class-A Lexington Legends and High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks to titles respectively. There’s a chance Thorman could still be promoted to the Royals’ major league staff for the 2023 season. Matt Betts, of Cambridge Today, recently caught up with Thorman and wrote this article about Thorman’s baseball odyssey.
-I was happy to see that Baseball Canada alum Brock Dykxhoorn (Goderich, Ont.) is throwing again (see video below) after he underwent back surgery in August. The 6-foot-8 right-hander was having another strong season for the Chinese Professional Baseball League’s Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions before being sidelined with a herniated disc in his back. In 12 starts for the Lions, he posted a 3-3 record and a 2.96 ERA, while fanning 50 batters in 73 innings. In 2021, Dykxhoorn was dominant for the CPBL club. In 27 appearances, including 26 starts, he posted a 17-4 record and a 1.83 ERA and fanned 157 batters in 181 2/3 innings. The 28-year-old righty was selected in the sixth round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Houston Astros and he toed the rubber for parts of five seasons in their organization before heading overseas. He has also pitched for the Canadian national team in three international competitions
-Happy 34th Birthday to left-hander James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.)! After undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2021, the 6-foot-4 southpaw signed with the Boston Red Sox in the off-season. Unfortunately, he was unable to work his way back and ended up being sidelined for the entire 2022 season. A North Delta Blue Jays and Junior National Team alum, the Canuck lefty has pitched in parts of nine major league campaigns and owns a 57-33 record and a 3.59 ERA in 137 starts. On May 8, 2018, while with the Seattle Mariners, he tossed a no-hitter against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre to become the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter in a Canadian major league park.
-I’m just some middle-aged baseball blogger, but I wasn’t a fan of Cleveland Guardians DH and Mississauga, Ont., native Josh Naylor‘s rocking the baby home run celebration after he took New York Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole deep in the fourth inning of Game 4 of the American League Division Series. But I have to admit this Halloween costume made me laugh:
This photo accompanied the following tweet:
-Congratulations to former Montreal Expos pitcher and longtime Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) executive Steve Rogers on winning the MLBPA’s prestigious Curt Flood Award. It’s an honour presented annually to “a former player, living or deceased, who in the image of Flood demonstrated a selfless, longtime devotion to the Players Association and advancement of players’ rights.” Rogers, who was a player rep for the Expos for much of his outstanding 12-season pitching career, has been employed by the MLBPA since 1988. He was instrumental in the construction of the pension plan that’s currently in place for major league players. To hear more about his contributions to the MLBPA, click on this link (below).
-Former Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo has been hired as the Chicago White Sox bench coach under new manager Pedro Grifol. Montoyo, who led the Blue Jays to 236-236 record in parts of four seasons as the dugout boss, has not been heard from since he was fired on July 12 and replaced by John Schneider. Prior to managing the Blue Jays, Montoyo was a minor league manager for almost two decades and then third base and bench coach of the Tampa Bay Rays. The now 57-year-old Montoyo also enjoyed a 10-year professional playing career in the Milwaukee Brewers, Montreal Expos and Philadelphia Phillies organizations. He played his only four major league games with the Expos in 1993 and went 2-for-5 – good for a .400 batting average.
-This is my favourite trivia question: Who is the only pitcher to record a win in each of Canada’s four major league ball parks (Jarry Park, Olympic Stadium, Exhibition Stadium and SkyDome)? The answer is left-hander John Candelaria. Another interesting fact is that while Candelaria pitched for both the Blue Jays and Expos during his career, he didn’t record a win for either club, going a combined 0-5.
-If you’re a Canadian baseball history buff (like me), mark November 12th and 13th on your calendar. Longtime Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame volunteer and co-founder of the Centre for Canadian Baseball Research Andrew North has announced that the fifth annual Canadian Baseball History Conference will take place in Windsor, Ont., on those dates. This year’s event, which will again be organized by Andrew, will include two days of interesting presentations on Canadian baseball history. For more information and for a complete list of the presentations, you can click on this link. The registration fee is $90. To register, please email Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-This week’s trivia question: Steve Rogers has the most wins by a Montreal Expos pitcher. Who has the second most? Please provide your answer in the Comments section below.
– The answer to last week’s trivia question (Aside from Terry Puhl and Lefty Wilkie, name another big league player that was born in Saskatchewan) was any of the following: Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.), Ed Bahr (Rouleau, Sask.), Ralph Buxton (Weyburn, Sask.), Reggie Cleveland (Swift Current, Sask.), Joe Erautt (Vibank, Sask.), Dustin Molleken (Regina, Sask.) or Dave Pagan (Nipawin, Sask.).