Photo: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

June 9, 2024

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

Some Canadian baseball news and notes from the past week:

-I hope you can make the trip to St. Marys, Ont., for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony that will take place on Saturday. Former Toronto Blue Jays greats Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) and Jimmy Key (who will not be in attendance) will be inducted, along with former Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey (Toronto, Ont.) and national team greats Ashley Stephenson (Mississauga, Ont.) and Rod Heisler (Moose Jaw, Sask.). Legendary Leaside baseball coach, executive and umpire Howard Birnie (Toronto, Ont.) will also be honoured. The ceremony is free to attend. For more information, click here.

-Just two days after being activated from the 10-day injured list, Boston Red Sox outfielder Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, B.C.) had to leave Friday’s game against the Chicago White Sox in the third inning after reaggravating a right knee injury. O’Neill told reporters after Friday’s game that he’s hoping to avoid another IL stint. “I don’t know what the next steps are going to look like,” said O’Neill. “But I just want to get it cleaned up as soon as possible. It’s not fun playing in pain.” O’Neill had registered two-hit games for the Sox on Wednesday and Thursday after being activated. In total, the 28-year-old Langley Blaze and Junior National Team alum is batting .250 with 11 home runs in 44 games this season.

Colorado Rockies right-hander Cal Quantrill recorded his fifth win of the season on Thursday. Photo: Colorado Rockies

-Colorado Rockies right-hander Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) tossed five scoreless innings to record his fifth win of the season on Thursday in the Rockies’ 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. That win moves Quantrill into a tie with Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) for most by a Canadian in the big leagues this season. Quantrill, an Ontario Terriers and Junior National Team alum, now has a 3.58 ERA in 13 starts for the Rockies this season and has fanned 51 batters in 73 innings. The 29-year-right-hander was traded to the Rockies by the Guardians on November 17 after being limited to 19 starts by shoulder woes last season.

-The official Major League Baseball All-Star Game ballot was unveiled this week. Five players born in Canada are on it, including American League first basemen Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Montreal, Que.) and Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.). Josh’s brother Bo is on the ballot at the catching position, while Abraham Toro (Longueuil, Que.) is among the third basemen you can vote for. O’Neill is the lone Canadian outfielder on the ballot. There are no Canadians on the National League ballot unless you count Freddie Freeman, whose parents were born in Canada, at first base and Otto Lopez, who spent part of his youth in Montreal, at second base. You can vote here.

-Speaking of Lopez, congratulations to him on the birth of his daughter! The Miami Marlins have placed him on the paternity list. Lopez is on a six-game hitting streak and has raised his batting average to .295 in 35 games this season. He has taken over as the Marlins’ everyday second baseman. On February 13, Lopez had his contract sold to the San Francisco Giants by the Blue Jays. He spent spring training with the Giants before he was designated for assignment and claimed on waivers by the Marlins. Born in Santo Domingo, D.R., Lopez was signed as an international free agent by the Blue Jays prior to the 2017 season.

–Davis Schneider is one of the American League second basemen you can vote for on the All-Star ballot and his sisters Olivia and Madeline have been campaigning for him online. And how can you not vote for him after seeing this photo (below)?

-The Minnesota Twins demoted Edouard Julien (Quebec, Que.) to the triple-A St. Paul Saints last Sunday. The 23-year-old infielder, who enjoyed a breakout rookie season with the Twins in 2023, was understandably devastated. But the Twins want him to go down and work on hitting off-speed pitches. Do-Hyoung Park, of MLB.com, reported that Julien is just 6-for-72 (.083) when putting non-fastballs in play. Julien’s average for the season had fallen to .207 in 58 games. “You’ve got to do what you know is right for the team, but also for the player, and I think that this is the right thing for Eddy,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told MLB.com. “He’s going to use this time very well and productively and come back a much better version of himself.”

-Dodgers left-hander James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) suffered his first loss of the season on Wednesday when he was rocked for six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Dodgers’ 10-6 loss at PNC Park. The 35-year-old southpaw actually retired the side in order in the first inning before facing 10 batters in the second. “They were just on the fastball. I think I was leaving it a little over the plate too much,” Paxton told reporters after the game. “Too much stuff in the middle of the plate. And they made me pay.” Despite being 5-1, Paxton has struggled with his command this season. He has 30 walks in 53 1/3 innings.

-On this date 30 years ago, Paul Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) earned his first National League save with the Philadelphia Phillies. He tossed three scoreless innings in relief in the Phils’ 6-2 win over the Cardinals at Veterans Stadium. That was one of three saves he would register in the National League. He had one save in each of the 2002 and 2003 seasons with the Dodgers.

-Cleveland Guardians right-hander Cade Smith (Abbotsford, B.C.) picked up his third win of his major league career on Tuesday. The 25-year-old right-hander hurled 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief in the Guardians’ 8-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field. In 28 big league appearances, spanning 29 2/3 innings, in 2024, Smith owns a 1.82 ERA and has 39 strikeouts. Signed by the Guardians as a free agent in 2020 out of the University of Hawaii, the Junior National Team and Abbotsford Cardinals grad topped all Canuck minor league pitchers in 2023 in appearances (47), saves (15) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.6).

-I’m sure I’m slow to recognize this, but we’re just 64 games into the 2024 season and Daulton Varsho has batted in every different spot (1 through 9) in the Blue Jays’ order for at least one game this season. I’ve followed the Blue Jays for over 40 years and I can’t think of another player who has hit in this many different lineup spots with the season not even half over.

-Congratulations to former Montreal Expos right-hander and Chatham, Ont., native Bill Atkinson who had his number 42 retired by the Chatham Barnstormers prior to their game against the Brantford Red Sox at Fergie Jenkins Field last night. Atkinson, who has been a tireless ambassador for the Barnstormers, pitched in parts of four seasons with the Expos from 1976 to 1979, posting an 11-4 record and a 3.42 ERA in 98 appearances.

-This week’s trivia question: Who is the player in the photo below? Hint: He was the first Toronto Blue Jays pitcher to strike out 10 batters in a regular season game. Hint 2: One season, he threw 244 2/3 innings and 12 complete games for the Blue Jays. Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below.

-The answer to last week’s trivia question: Who is the player in the photo below? Hint: He was the first Toronto Blue Jays player to hit a grand slam in a regular season game and he hit it off Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry. Hint 2: Earlier in his career, he played for the Montreal Expos. The answer is Hector Torres.

-The answer to last week’s trivia question (Who is the only player to have represented the Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays in the MLB All-Star Game (meaning he was chosen as the Expos rep one year and then as the Blue Jays rep in another year)?) was Ron Fairly. He was an all-star with the Expos in 1973 and with the Blue Jays in 1977.

The post But What Do I Know? . . . Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Tyler O’Neill, Cal Quantrill appeared first on Cooperstowners in Canada.