September 24, 2023
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
*Please note that a prize will be awarded to this week’s trivia question winner.*
Some Canadian baseball news and notes from the past week:
-Okanagan Athletics alum Jared Young (Prince George, B.C.) was recalled by the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. That night, he pinch-hit for Ian Happ in the eighth inning and tripled in the Cubs’ 14-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field. Interestingly, Young has three triples and no doubles for the Cubs in 15 games this season. Young played in 13 big league contests earlier in the campaign, between June 28 and July 18. In total, he is 8-for-39 (.205 batting average) with two home runs. His latest promotion came on the heels of an excellent triple-A campaign with the Iowa Cubs that saw him bat .310 with 21 home runs and 72 RBIs in 90 games. Young made his MLB debut with the Cubs last season, going 5-for-19 (.263 batting average) in six games in September.
-Junior National Team and ABC alum Edouard Julien (Quebec City, Que.) belted his 14th home run of the season for the Minnesota Twins in their 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field last Sunday. This added to his record for most home runs by a Canadian second baseman in a big league season. The Twins clinched the American League Central title on Friday and are headed to the post-season. Julien is set to become the first Canadian to bat leadoff for a major league team in the post-season since Terry Puhl (Melville, Sask.) did it for the Houston Astros in their National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981.
-Cleveland Guardians first baseman Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) had an RBI in the Guardians’ 9-8 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday to give him 95 on the season. The Ontario Blue Jays and Junior National Team grad, who missed more than a month this season with injuries, will need five more RBIs in Cleveland’s remaining six games to reach 100 RBIs in a season for the first time in his major league career.
-Meanwhile Naylor’s younger brother, Bo, continues to swing a hot bat for the Guardians. The 23-year-old catcher has hits in seven of his last eight games and has batted .309 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in his past 20 contests. The younger Naylor homered on Tuesday in the Guardians’ 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium to give him nine on the season. This leaves him one behind Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) for the record for most home runs by a Canadian catcher in their rookie big league campaign. Martin had 10 home runs for the Dodgers in 2006.
-Right-hander Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) has had five strong starts since being activated by the Guardians on September 1. On Monday, he allowed just two runs and struck out three batters in 5 2/3 innings against the Royals and yesterday he permitted one run in four innings against the Orioles. The Ontario Terriers and Junior National Team alum has a 1.95 ERA in 27 2/3 innings since returning to the Guardians at the start of the month. The 6-foot-3 right-hander was placed on the 15-day injured list by the Guardians for the second time this season on July 6. He had just returned from nearly a month on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation. The 28-year-old Canuck is now 3-7 with a 5.13 ERA in 18 major league starts this season.
-Seattle Mariners right-hander Matt Brash (Kingston, Ont.) leads American League pitchers in appearances with 75. If he continues to do this, he will become the first Canadian pitcher to lead the American League in appearances since Paul Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) did so with 86 appearances for the New York Yankees in 2004. A Kingston Thunder alum, Brash has not allowed a run in 10 relief outings for the Mariners this September and has lowered his season ERA to 2.96.
-Last Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals placed outfielder Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, B.C.) on the 10-day injured with a right foot sprain. The 28-year-old slugger is eligible to come off the injured list on September 27, but with the Cardinals out of contention, it seems unlikely they will activate him. O’Neill has batted .231 with nine home runs and 21 RBIs in 72 games this season. Now in his sixth major league campaign, O’Neill missed more than two months earlier in the season with a lower back strain.
– Happy 53rd Birthday to former Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Paul Spoljaric! After being signed by the Blue Jays as an amateur free agent in 1989, the Kelowna, B.C., native pitched in parts of six big league seasons, including four with the Blue Jays. The 6-foot-3 lefty’s finest big league campaign was in 1996 when he posted a 3.08 ERA and struck out 38 batters in 38 innings. He also toed the rubber for the Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies and Royals.
-Thirty-one years ago today, Blue Jays designated hitter Dave Winfield knocked in four runs to reach 100 RBIs for the 1992 season in the Blue Jays’ 8-2 win over the Orioles. At age 40, he became the oldest player to record 100 RBIs in a season. He would finish the campaign with 108 RBIs.
-On this date 33 years ago, the Blue Jays signed brothers Rob and Rich Butler (East York, Ont.) as amateur free agents. Older brother Rob was 20 at the time and would play 66 games in parts of three seasons with the Blue Jays. In 1993 with the Blue Jays, he became the first Canadian to suit up for a World Series-winning Canadian team. Just 17 when he was signed, Rich was a standout in the Blue Jays’ minor league system before batting .286 in seven games for the big league club in 1997. After that season, he was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the expansion draft and would belt seven home runs in 79 games in parts of two seasons with the Rays.
-Please take a moment to remember legendary Intercounty Baseball League pitcher and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Ron Stead who would’ve turned 87 today. Born in London, Ont., Stead grew up in Toronto close to Maple Leaf Stadium and he eventually signed with the International League Leafs. They sent him to the Florida State League, where he recorded 17 wins for Gainesville in 1957. After that campaign, the Leafs asked him to go back to the Florida State League, but Stead declined and returned to Canada, where he joined the Intercounty Baseball League’s Brantford Red Sox. In his near decade with Brantford (1958 to 1966), Stead evolved into the top pitcher in the circuit and led the Red Sox to six championships. In 1960, he won 12 games and logged a league record 149 innings. He topped that in 1963 when he went 14-1 with a miniscule 0.63 ERA. Stead also pitched at the 1967 Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg for the first national team Canada ever assembled. Though he retired in 1972, Stead still ranks as the Intercounty Baseball League leader in numerous all-time pitching categories, including wins (104), innings pitched (1,365), strikeouts (1,231), games started (151), complete games (116), and shutouts (25). He passed away in 2011.
-This week’s trivia question: Who holds the Toronto Blue Jays record for most pinch-hits in a season? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below. The first one to answer correctly will win a copy of the official 2022 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction program.
-The answer to last week’s trivia question (Who holds the Montreal Expos record (I’m not counting Washington Nationals players) for most home runs in a single season?) was Vladimir Guerrero who belted 44 home runs in 2000.
Please support Cooperstowners in Canada
For 13 years, I’ve been offering my articles and blog posts for free on Cooperstowners in Canada. I’m now asking for your support to help fund my writing, research and the ongoing costs associated with this site to keep it going. Please consider making a donation by Paypal.