Happy Canada Day!
Just three days before Independence Day, America’s Northern neighbours are celebrating their own origins. On this day, let’s celebrate some of baseball’s great Canadian connections, stats, facts, and players:
The total rWAR accumulated by Canadian leader Fergie Jenkins, one of two Canadians inducted as Hall of Famers in Cooperstown. Jenkins has over 4,500 innings pitched and 3,100 strikeouts across 19 seasons.
The number of players selected to teams’ 2020 season player pools. Among those most familiar are Joey Votto, Mike Soroka, James Paxton and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
The most recent Canadian to debut in MLB was Abraham Toro, the pride of Longueuil, Quebec. Toro took the field for Astros last season among a 2019 Canadian rookie class of five. In his eighth career game, he hammered his second Major League home run on Canadian soil, in front of his family, against the Blue Jays to give Houston the lead in the ninth inning. Shortly after, Justin Verlander secured his third no-hitter, a win thanks to Toro.
The number of Canadians to play Major League Baseball. The first-ever was Bob Addy, who debuted in 1871, playing six seasons and managing two.
The percentage of the BBWAA who voted to induct Larry Walker into baseball’s Hall of Fame in his last year of eligibility, becoming the first Canadian position player in the hall.
The Toronto Blue Jays’ record on July 1st, Canada Day.
“Touch ‘Em All Joe…”
The most famous home run on Canadian turf came in 1993. Deep into October, it was Joe Carter’s bat that cemented the Toronto Blue Jays as World Series Champions for a second consecutive year. The pitch came from Phillies’ closer Mitch Williams, who collected 43 saves that season, the most of his career.
6 hours and 13 minutes:
The length of the Canada Day faceoff between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians in 2016. The 19 inning thriller resulted in a 2-1 Cleveland victory, their 14th consecutive.
A trip to the Postseason:
In 1981, Montreal’s Expos became the first Canadian team to progress beyond the regular season. The team led by three Hall of Fame bats, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines and Gary Carter, finished second in the National League East before losing in the NLCS to the Dodgers.
The slash line of 255 Canadian MLB batters. The group combined for 156,152 plate appearances, 45 All-Star Games, and exactly 3,000 home runs.
The record and ERA of 132 Canadian MLB pitchers. Over 41,014 innings pitched the group combined for 25,994 strikeouts and 20 All-Star Games.
Canadian Dominance At Home:
On May 8th, 2018, Canadian James Paxton no-hit the Toronto Blue Jays in his home nation. He became the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter since Dick Fowler of the Philadelphia A’s first did so in 1945.
St. Mary’s, Ontario:
The location of Canada’s own Baseball Hall of Fame. The cozy town features a museum dedicated to honouring rich baseball history rooted in Canada.
The title of the championship awarded to the winner of the season series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos. Named after former Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, the faceoff was designed to raise funds for Canadian baseball. Each team won three times, with four ties in the ten-year history of the Pearson Cup.
At the tender age of 19, playing for the Providence Grays Babe Ruth hit his first-ever professional home run while visiting the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hit in game one of a doubleheader, the ball was said to have landed in Lake Ontario where it remains, the game being played on Toronto Island.
Three young Canadians have just begun their journey in professional baseball. Owen Caissie, David Calabrese and Logan Hofmann were all selected in this year’s amateur draft. Now they set out to begin carving a new chapter in Canadian baseball history.
These are just a few of Canada’s accomplishments in America’s pastime. With a bright future headlined by the likes of Mike Soroka and Vladmimir Guererro Jr., there’s sure to be many more highlights in store.