Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr coached with the Blue Jays

It’s a trivia question that stumps even the most avid Blue Jay fans. Who was the first player, manager, coach or executive associated with the Jays to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame? Phil Niekro or Dave Winfield are the most common responses, but the answer is Boston Red Sox legend BobbyContinue reading “Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr coached with the Blue Jays”

Wee Willie Keeler “hit’em where they ain’t” in Toronto

Wee Willie Keeler is best remembered as a prolific slap hitter with the Baltimore Orioles, but the diminutive outfielder played his final professional season with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1911. Lured north of the border by former Baltimore teammate, Joe Kelley, who was managing Toronto’s Eastern League club, the 39-year-old Keeler hit .277 inContinue reading “Wee Willie Keeler “hit’em where they ain’t” in Toronto”

But What Do I Know? … Juan Rivera, Goose Gossage, Chuck Tanner

My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:  Blue Jays fans: The good news about Juan Rivera, acquired in the Vernon Wells deal, is that he hits like George Bell. The bad news is that he also fields like George Bell.  In reading Larry Millson’s 1987 book, Ballpark Figures: TheContinue reading “But What Do I Know? … Juan Rivera, Goose Gossage, Chuck Tanner”

Hall of Fame managers with Canadian links

Earlier this week, I wrote about Walter Alston’s successful tenure as manager of the Montreal Royals, before he became a legendary skipper with the Dodgers. “The Quiet Man,” as he was sometimes dubbed, would pilot the Dodgers for 23 seasons, leading them to four World Series titles and seven National League pennants. But Alston isn’tContinue reading “Hall of Fame managers with Canadian links”

Intimidating spitballer Burleigh Grimes managed in Montreal and Toronto

In “Baseball’s Fabulous Montreal Royals,” William Brown writes that the media was surprised to discover a clean-shaven, finely dressed Burleigh Grimes at the press conference that officially unveiled the five-time, 20-game winner as the manager of the Montreal Royals in 1939. After all, when Grimes was pitching, he was nicknamed “Ol’ Stubblebeard” because he optedContinue reading “Intimidating spitballer Burleigh Grimes managed in Montreal and Toronto”

Sparky Anderson’s first managerial job was in Toronto

When the Detroit Tigers won the World Series in 1984, Sparky Anderson became the first manager to win a championship with both an American League and National League (Cincinnati 1975, 1976) club. But while most associate the fiery, white-haired skipper with the Big Red Machine or the powerful ’80s Tigers teams, it’s important to noteContinue reading “Sparky Anderson’s first managerial job was in Toronto”

Dick Williams’ “Impossible Dream” began in Toronto

(I’m re-posting this entry. This was the first blog entry I wrote before I went public with my blog.) In his candid biography “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” Dick Williams admits he was a “designated smart ass” during his playing career. A chronic shoulder injury hampered him as a player and eventually relegated him toContinue reading “Dick Williams’ “Impossible Dream” began in Toronto”

Yankees legend Tony Lazzeri played and managed in Toronto

It ranks as a mere footnote in the career of Tony Lazzeri, but the Hall of Fame second baseman enjoyed a 254-game stint with the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs in 1939 and 1940. A valuable but overshadowed member of the storied 1927 Murderers’ Row Yankees, Lazzeri was a quiet leader, renowned for his baseballContinue reading “Yankees legend Tony Lazzeri played and managed in Toronto”

The man who replaced Babe Ruth in Yankees outfield was Canadian

Here’s an article I wrote about Huntsville, Ont., native George Selkirk, the man who replaced Babe Ruth in the Yankees outfield. This story was published in the Huntsville Forester last October: George Selkirk: Canada’s Mr. October By Kevin Glew With five World Series rings, he’s Canada’s Mr. October. Unfortunately, the vast majority of baseball fansContinue reading “The man who replaced Babe Ruth in Yankees outfield was Canadian”