April 24, 2023
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Rob Butler (East York, Ont.) has been named the new field manager of the Intercounty Baseball League’s Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs made the announcement in a release on Saturday.
In the release, however, the Maple Leafs noted that Butler had already made a coaching commitment, but he will manage the IBL club when he is available until he can join the club full-time in early August.
“Rob is a great fit for this team,” said Maple Leafs general manager Jeff Lounsbury in a release from the team. “He checks off every box that Ty Crawford and myself were looking for in the next manager of this team. We did not want to rush the selection and were prepared to be patient. We understand that there will be some adjustments early in the year and some moving parts to fill in for Rob on games that he misses, but this veteran group will be able to manage. This is a long play, and the regular season will be used to climatize Rob back into the IBL, learn his players and hopefully that will lead to a strong final month into the IBL playoffs.”
Signed as an amateur free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1990, Butler (East York, Ont.) made his major league debut with the Blue Jays on June 12, 1993. Batting ninth and playing left field, he went 1-for-4 against the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium. His first major league hit was a single off left-handed reliever Tom Bolton to lead off the ninth inning.
Butler went on to bat .271 in 17 games for the Blue Jays that season and was on the postseason roster of the World Series-winning squad. In Game 4 of the World Series, he became the first Canadian to score a run for a Canadian team in the Fall Classic. The following contest, he became the first Canuck to register a hit for a Canadian team in the World Series. And with the Blue Jays’ victory in Game 6, he became the only Canadian player to be on the roster of Canadian World Series-winning team.
In total, Butler batted .243 in 109 major league games with the Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies between 1993 and 1999.
In 2001, Butler joined the IBL’s Leafs and topped the circuit with a .488 batting average, while recording 16 doubles, six home runs, 28 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. He proceeded to play five seasons in the IBL, finishing with a career batting average of .415 with 39 home runs and 113 RBIs.
Since hanging up his playing spikes, Butler has coached and advised amateur players across Canada and has worked with the Junior National Team.
“I am so happy to be back in the best league in Canada, with my favourite team,” said Butler of his new gig with the Leafs, in a release from the team.