December 27, 2022
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
As the end of the year approaches, I wanted to pay tribute to four Canadians who made significant contributions to baseball in our country that we lost in 2022.
Photo: Baseball Canada
She passed away on January 7 at the age of 33. She joined the Canadian national team in 2005 and participated in the Women’s National Team Showcase in the summer of 2021 in Trois-Rivières, Que. A part of national teams that captured five Women’s World Cup medals, including bronze in 2006, 2012 and 2018 and silver in 2008 and 2016, the right-handed pitcher/infielder was also a member of the silver medal winning squad at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Ajax, Ont. Asay earned All-Tournament honours in 2006 at first base and in 2016 as a pitcher beating Chinese Taipei 2-1. She also played hockey and softball for Brown University and University of British Columbia where she earned a master’s in Science.
Read a full obituary about her here.
Gerry MacKay. Photo: Redpath Funeral Home
He passed away on January 22 at the age of 91. A multi-sport legend in Manitoba, MacKay was enlisted to serve as the head coach of Canada’s first national baseball team, which competed in the 1967 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg. Prior to his coaching career, he starred as a versatile infielder/outfielder for the Brandon Greys of the Man-Dak League, impressing enough to earn himself a contract with the Chicago Cubs. He proceeded to play parts of five seasons in the affiliated pro ranks in the Cubs, Pirates and Yankees organizations and hit over .300 in a season three times. He returned to Manitoba in 1957 where he would play for and coach the Brandon Cloverleafs of the Manitoba Senior League for more than 20 years. MacKay was also the director of the Canadian Federation of Amateur Baseball from 1967 to 1974 and in his home province, he helped create the Manitoba Baseball Association, an organization he served as the president of in 1972 and 1973. He was also a driving force behind the establishment of the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame, of which he was later inducted into individually and as a member of four different teams.
Read my full obituary about him here.
Evelyn Wawryshyn Moroz
She passed away on February 3 at the age of 97. A standout multi-sport athlete as a teen and into her early 20s, she was the MVP of the Winnipeg Canadian Ukranian Athletic Club (CUAC) Blues fastball team that won a provincial championship in 1945. At this tournament, she was spotted by an All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) scout and she eventually landed a contract with the Kenosha Comets. After a season with the Comets, she moved on to the Springfield Sallies where she would play in a career high 118 games and steal 66 bases. In 1949, she landed with the Fort Wayne Daisies and proceeded to collect a career-best six triples and swipe 64 bases to earn Second All-League Team honours. But it was her 1950 campaign that was her best. That season, she batted a career-high .311, which was good for third in the AAGPBL. She also established career-bests in hits (124), doubles (13) and runs (71) and was selected to play in her first All-Star Game. She played one final season in 1951. Wawryshyn was elected to the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 and into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame five years later. She was also one of the 68 Canadian women that played in the AAGPBL that was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.
Read my full obituary about her here.
He passed away on March 16 at the age of 84. The son of Montreal Maroons hockey star, Jimmy Ward, Ward was born in Montreal before moving to Portland, Ore. when he was eight years old. In 1958, the Baltimore Orioles signed him and after five seasons in the minors, he made his big league debut with the Orioles on September 21, 1962. Following that season, Ward was traded to the Chicago White Sox who transformed him into a third baseman. In 157 games in 1963, he hit .295, socked 22 home runs, finished second in the American League to Carl Yastrzemski in hits and was named The Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year. For an encore, Ward belted 23 homers – including three grand slams – and knocked in a career-best 94 runs in 1964 and finished sixth in the American League MVP voting. Unfortunately, he suffered a neck injury in a car accident in 1965 that hampered him for the rest of his career. After four more seasons with the White Sox, he played his final campaign with the New York Yankees in 1970. After retiring as a player, he managed for eight seasons in the minors with the Yankees, White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates. He eventually left baseball to open a travel agency called Pete Ward Travel in Lake Oswego, Ore. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.
Read my full obituary about him here.