Photo: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
December 5, 2022
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its 2022 Tip O’Neill Award winner on Tuesday at 9 a.m. E.T.
The St. Marys, Ont.-based shrine presents this award annually to the player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals.
Among the prime contenders are Toronto Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) who became the first Canadian to record 30 saves for a Canadian big-league team, while teammate and first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Montreal, Que.) enjoyed another 30-home run campaign. Meanwhile, Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) had the best season of his young career, topping the Guardians with 15 wins.
And they weren’t the only Canadians to star in the big leagues in 2022. Guardians slugger Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) belted 20 home runs in a season for the first time and Boston Red Sox right-hander Nick Pivetta (Victoria, B.C.) tied for the American League lead in starts (33).
Aside from Romano, a trio of other Canadians – Zach Pop (Brampton, Ont.) with the Blue Jays, Rowan Wick (North Vancouver, B.C.) with the Chicago Cubs and Matt Brash (Kingston, Ont.) with the Seattle Mariners – established themselves as go-to relievers for their respective clubs.
Brash was also one of four Canadians to make their major league debuts in 2022. The others were Charles Leblanc (Laval, Que.) with the Miami Marlins, Bo Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) with the Guardians and Jared Young (Prince George, B.C.) with the Cubs.
Meanwhile, Ellie Jespersen (Spruce Grove, Alta.) was excelling at the top of the Women’s National Team batting order, which earned her the team’s 2022 MVP honours.
Guerrero Jr. was the 2021 recipient of the Tip O’Neill Award.
Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) is a nine-time winner of the award, while Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) has won it seven times. Others who have won it multiple times include Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.) and Jason Bay (Trail, B.C.) who are three-time recipients and Eric Gagne (Mascouche, Que.) who captured the honour twice.
You can view a full list of winners here.
The Hall’s Tip O’Neill Award is named after Woodstock, Ont., native James “Tip” O’Neill who was one of Major League Baseball’s first legitimate stars. With the American Association’s St. Louis Browns in 1887, O’Neill set then big-league records in hits, doubles, slugging percentage and total bases, while compiling a major league record .492 batting average. Walks were counted as hits in 1887, but if O’Neill’s average was calculated by today’s standards, it would be .435, the second highest in big league history to Hugh Duffy who hit .440 in 1894.