Friday, July 1, 2016

Canada Day research


Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian readers, of which I have many, I've discovered over the years.

Last year on Canada Day I compiled an all-Canadian all-star team to recognize the holiday. It wasn't terribly difficult as there are few enough Canadian major leaguers that every time someone sneaks over the border and into a major league uniform, the U.S. media is all over it -- "hey, HEY! Canadian over HERE! IN THE BIG LEAGUES! HEY! HE'S NOT ONE OF US!"

Also, as I've mentioned many times, I live near and have been to Canada often. It's almost common knowledge that Larry Walker, Terry Puhl, Fergie Jenkins, Eric Gagne, Joey Votto, Justin Morneau, Rich Harden, Matt Stairs, Rheal Cormier, Claude Raymond, Dave Pagan, Dave McKay, Russell Martin, Corey Koskie, John Hiller, Doug Frobel, Vince Horseman, Ryan Dempster, Jeff Francis, Erik Bedard, Jason Bay, Reggie Cleveland, Stubby Clapp, Dalton Pompey, Jim Adduci, Paul Spoljaric, Nigel Wilson, Kirk McCaskill, Paul Quantrill, Blake Hawksworth, Mike Gardiner, etc., have all played hockey ... er, are natives of Canada.

But I left a few people out. Because I wanted to do some research in a bid to discover some Canadian major leaguers who I knew about, but never knew are Canadian.

And I found some. Now, keep in mind, it's possible I knew at one time these players were Canadian. But I've now reached the stage in life where I can actually say to some young know-it-all "I've forgotten more than you ever knew" and it would be a true statement. So for this exercise, I never knew they are Canadian.

I dug up 6 players. Yup, that's all (sorry, I don't know that Canadian guy who played in 1904). But it'll make the post go by fast.


JAMES PAXTON



When it comes to alerting night owl to your existence, it's a good idea not to reside in Seattle or play for the city's baseball team. I was quite pleased that I knew who James Paxton is, that he's a lefty, and that he throws hard. But this Canadian info is new. He hails from Richmond, British Columbia.


RYAN BRAUN


No, not that Ryan Braun.



This Ryan Braun!

Remember the crazy days of 2007 when there were two Ryan Brauns rookie cards in the set?

Pitcher Ryan Braun didn't stay in the majors long -- just one season. But during that whole time when we confused by the two RB's, I had no idea that the guy who didn't rob Matt Kemp of the MVP award is from Kitchener, Ontario.


GLEN GORBOUS


Glen Gorbous' claim to fame is holding the world mark for the longest throw -- 445 feet, 10 inches -- during a minor league game in 1957. His claim to fame for me is that I have owned this card since that great grocery bag gifting of '50s cards from my father's co-worker when I was a young teen. I have enjoyed that magnificent stadium shot for that long.

However, I never knew he was from Vulcan, Alberta.

I must have missed reading the back:


Those wacky Canadians and their hockey.


SCOTT DIAMOND



Sometimes it's staggering how much I go out of my way not to know about players.

First, there is Scott Diamond's name. His name is Diamond for crying out loud.

Second, Diamond played college baseball for Binghamton University. The university is based in the town where I grew up!

But on the major league level, I know him as that guy who pitched pretty well for the Twins in 2012 and then fell apart. Apparently he's been bouncing through the minors for the last few years and is pitching for the Buffalo Bisons, which again is too close to me for me not to know what's up.

Diamond, also unbeknown to me, is from Guelph, Ontario.


PETE WARD




I've always found Pete Ward interesting because he's one of those standout players from the 1960s about which I had zero knowledge when I was growing up in the '70s and '80s. Decades after Ward retired I stumbled across him and it was like, "hey, this third baseman outfielder hit 20 home runs twice! Where have I been?"

Well, Ward was also Canadian when he was doing all that. Ward was born in Montreal and is the son of a former NHL player.


JOHNNY RUTHERFORD


This one surprises me most of all. Johnny Rutherford pitched just one season in the majors, but it was a famous season. He was a Boy of Summer with the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers, and there's probably some snippet from Roger Kahn in his book about how Rutherford is a Canadian.

Rutherford was born in Belleville, Ontario, which is on the other side of Kingston, Ontario, from me. After his baseball career he became a doctor. And he is one of the 100 oldest living former major leaguers currently.

The fact is: I did know about this one once before. I posted about it. That's how forgetful I'm getting.

So there you are.

While some of you Canadians celebrated Canada Day by coming to the U.S. to shop (I'll still never figure that one out), I celebrated it by adding a little Canada knowledge.

I do what I can for this feeble brain.

Next up: Some cards from a native Canadian!

5 comments:

  1. The best thing about Scott Diamond is that he signs his autographs with the first D in his last name as a Diamond.

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  2. Pete Ward was one of those who would have benefitted from the DH

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  3. A lot of Canadians from Ontario head to the outlets in Grove City, PA (north of Pittsburgh) to shop. Clothing and essentials are tax free in PA, and the drive isn't that bad (2.5-3 hrs from the Peace Bridge) so when we used to go, there were always a lot of Canadian plates in the parking lot.

    Interesting that the players you mentioned were all from smaller sized cities. No Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver players at all...

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  4. It appears Topps got the Ryan Brauns mixed up as both cards have Ryan Braun's, the MVP guy, signature on the other Canadian RB card.

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