Wednesday, October 26, 2016
World Series Canadians
This article is copied from the archives of Michael Murray. Michael lives in Picton, Ontario, and winters in Cape Coral, Florida. I am grateful to him for allowing me to reprint his work here.
Johnny Rutherford, who pitched in the Series for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952, later earned a medical degree. Peter Carver and I interviewed him at his home north of Detroit.
different Canadians have played in the World Series since 1884. The
modern World Series didn't start until 1903, but MLB did host World
Championships prior to that. Of those twenty players 11 won the World
Series. Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer George Selkirk has won
the most Championships with 5 titles.
*Arthur Irwin Providence 1884
*James Tip O'Neill St. Louis Browns 1885, 86, 87, 88
Fred Lake Boston Beaneaters 1897
Bill O'Neill Chicago White Sox 1906
*Jimmy Archer Detroit 1907, Chicago Cubs 1910
*George Gibson Pittsburgh 1909
*Larry McLean NY Giants 1913
*Jack Graney Cleveland 1920
*George Selkirk NY Yankees 1936, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42
Johnny Rutherford Brooklyn 1952
*Ron Taylor St. Louis 1964, NY Mets 1969
*John Hiller Detroit 1968
*Reggie Cleveland Boston 1975
Rob Butler Toronto 1993
*Larry Walker St. Louis 2004
Jeff Francis Colorado 2007
Eric Gagne Boston 2007
*Matt Stairs Philadelphia 2008, 09
John Axford St. Louis 2013
Ryan Dempster Boston 2013
Bolded means won World Series that year
* means inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
Best World Series performances:
Tip O'Neill 1886 – G-6, R-4, H-8, T-2, HR-2, RBI-5, BB-4, SB-2, OBP .500, SLG .900, AVG .400
Larry McLean 1913 – G-5, H-6, RBI-2, OBP .500, SLG .500, AVG .500
George Selkirk 1936 – G-6, R-6, H-8, T-1, HR-2, RBI-3, BB-4, OBP .429, SLG .667. AVG .333
Ron Taylor 1964/1969 – G-4, ERA 0.00, SV-2, IP-7, H-0, SO-5
Larry Walker 2004 – G-4, R-2, H-5, D-2, HR-2, RBI-3, BB-2, OBP .438, SLG .929, AVG .357
of Famers Jimmy Archer and Jack Graney (right) are the only two
Canadians to play for the Cubs and Indians in the World Series.
played 1st base and catcher in 3 of the 5 games in the 1910 World
Series that Chicago lost to Philadelphia. Jimmy had 11 at-bats, 1 runs
scored, 2 hits, 1 double and 4 strikeouts in the series.
played in 3 of the 7 games in the 1920 World Series beating Brooklyn.
Jack had 3 pinch hit at-bats with 2 strikeouts in the series and played
in the outfield.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
The 2016 World Series
anticipated World Series in the history of the event opens
tonight in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians played host to the National
League champions, the Chicago Cubs from Illinois. It is the baseball
championship that will be, especially for Americans, a wonderful
distraction from another battle taking place in their country. There
is a presidential election in a couple of weeks in the United States,
and most Americans are weary from the frenzy leading up to election
night. It has been a long, nasty, and arduous campaign for both the
Democrats and the Republicans.
and the Cubbies have spent some time preparing for the event. The
Cubs have not seen a World Series banner raised in their home ball
park in 108 years. They left their Spring Training camp with more
anticipation in that regard than ever before. It has only been 75
years for the Indians. Both teams are mighty hungry.
In April, I
touched on the fact that we might see the Cubs in the Fall Classic.
The management of the team had placed a very strong roster on the
field, and had given themselves a chance at the title.
Understandably, there are those unanticipated factors that can derail
a team before they ever get to the final: injuries, suspensions,
slumps, and countless other distractions that will add up to failure.
Both the Indians and the Cubs have managed to survive the tests of
time, up until the present.
A brief tale
of the tape will shed a little light on what to expect over the next
week of baseball. Bear with me.
plate, I like Willson Contreras from the Cubs. He is batting .400 in
the post season, and handles pitchers well. Roberto Perez is doing a
fine job behind the plate for the Tribe, but his .174 batting average
is anemic. Both teams have outstanding pitching, from start to
finish. And both teams need to send “Thank You” cards to the New
York Yankees after the season is over. The Yankees traded away two
pitchers during the season. Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman are the
best relievers in baseball. Chapman consistently throws pitches to
the plate clocking at over 100mph for the Cubs, and Miller is not too
starts for the Indians, most effectively. Trevor Bauer hopes his
finger will heal before the Series concludes. The Blue Jays caught a
break when he could not get out of the first inning against them;
however, Cleveland had enough in the tank to put the Jays away quite
handily. John Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Jake Arrieta are the
starters for the Cubbies, and will likely make the difference in this
have so many wonderful young players. They are destined to remain
contenders for many years: Anthony Rizzo is a quality first baseman;
Alex Rodriguez flatly stated that second sacker Javier Baez is headed
to the Hall of Fame; Addison Russell is only 22, but is a wonderful
shortstop; Kris Bryant just completed a season worthy of MVP status;
and the Cubs have advantages in the outfield as well.
Eddie Robinson is the last surviving member of the Indians team that won the World Series in 1945. He is now 95 years old, and still enjoys the game. He is waiting for the Tribe to call him, and invite him to the Series.
Jay fans took notice of the power and speed of the Indians recently,
as the Jays limped to defeat winning only one game out of five. This
will be a Series to remember, one not to miss. It will be chilly
baseball weather. Let's hope the rains hold off.
And that is
why it is dubbed, “The Fall Classic”. Enjoy.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Augusta James-Bath, Ontario
The Case for Augusta James Earning a Card
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Hockey Nights in South West Florida
Everblades Coach Brad Ralph
Everblades opened their 2016-2017 season last weekend with a nice
birthday present for new Head Coach Brad Ralph. Ralph celebrated his
36th birthday yesterday. The Blades defeated the
Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Friday and Saturday night.
night's game was a barn burner. Trailing 2-0 with less than three
minutes remaining, Ralph pulled goalie Anthony Peters for an extra
attacker. Zack Kamrass scored to cut the margin to one goal. Mike
Aviani scored in the last minute to tie the game, and defenceman Matt
McKenzie scored with 18 seconds remaining in the game to seal the
deal. Pretty exciting stuff in front of more than 5 000 fans.
Former Wellington Duke Anthony Peters
night, the Blades completed the weekend sweep with a 5-3 victory that
went a little easier on the coach. They scored the first three
goals, but let the Rabbits back in the game, leading 3-2 at the end
of the second period. Two Everblades' markers extended the lead, and
that was enough for the victory.
now head out for their first road games this coming weekend against
the Orlando Solar Bears at the Amway Arena. Naturally, in order to
keep costs down, the Blades play most of their road games in their
own general geographic area: Atlanta Gladiators, South Carolina
Stingrays, Orlando Solar Bears, Cincinnati Cyclones, and Norfolk
Admirals in the south. The Eastern Division opponents: Adirondack
Thunder, Wheeling Nailers, Elmira Jackals, Reading Royals, Brampton
Beast, and Manchester Monarchs.
the Blades will travel to Brampton on a northern swing, and in March
they will face Toledo and Fort Wayne from the Western Division. Other
teams in the west include Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and Alaska! Some
check on hockeydb.com, the
most invaluable of all hockey sites, tells us that coach Ralph
retired from active play in 2009. He began his junior career with
Kanata in the CJHL, and moved on to play three years with the Oshawa
Generals. He is a member of the “one game wonders”, those
individuals who played one game in the NHL. He spent most of his
career in the ECHL with his last stop in Charlotte.
earned his first win on Saturday night. He also played in Oshawa, and
enjoyed a cup of coffee with the Belleville Bulls. He is sharing
goaltending duties with Anthony Peters, a goaltender who had a stint
with the Wellington Dukes, and the Belleville Bulls.
challenge for any coach at the beginning of the season is to find the
appropriate chemistry for his players. At this level, it is most
difficult, as there is always movement up to the American Hockey
League for some, a transition to European teams for others. Coaches
strive to find the ideal fit for players on lines and on defence
pairings. Just before Friday night's game, nine players arrived,
looking for work.
It would be
like fitting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, trying to find
the perfect fit, without resorting to scissors.
enjoyed his playing years in the ECHL, then began his coaching career
with the Augusta River Hawks of the SPHL. Last season he coached the
Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League.
As is the
case with all hockey nuts, it was great to be back after the summer
The Blades play in Orlando Saturday night, then return to the Germain Arena to face South Carolina on Friday, October 28th. See you there!!
Tim Hortons Hockey Cards 2016-2017
Once again this year,
collectors have been given the opportunity to put together a set of
hockey cards, while sipping their coffee.
There are 100 cards in
the Tim Hortons collection, beginning with # 1 Tim Horton. These
cards came out as the World Cup of Hockey was getting underway in
Canada. Naturally, one of the key cards in the set is that of Sidney
Crosby. He is the marquee player in the set. His image is on the
front of each and every pack.
He certainly has
re-established himself as the best player in the game today,
following his Stanley Cup victory last spring, and his fine play in
the World Cup. Unfortunately, he is prone to concussions, and the
Penguins announced today that he has suffered yet another concussion.
If you happen to like
insert cards, there is a heap of them in this set: local leaders
checklist cards, game day action, pure gold, clear cut platinum,
franchise force, 2016 NHL Draft, Tim Hortons cash prize cards,
autographed cards, jersey cards, etc.
Sharing the spotlight
with Crosby is Nathan MacKinnon. One of the commercials promoting the
cards has the pair of them seated in a restaurant. Crosby holds up a
MacKinnon card to trade, and MacKinnon says, “You're going to trade
your best player?” It really breaks Crosby up. He is speechless.
Quite well done.
There are pin codes
inside each pack. Collectors are encouraged to enter the codes to
collect the set on line. If a card pops up that you already have in
your collection, you can trade it with another collector. You are
encouraged to thank the person who supplies you with the card you
Every 24 hours, you are
also rewarded with three free cards without purchasing any product.
Even though I was not sure about this concept when I first began, I
did enjoy the activity. Mind you, I have only collected about half of
the cards. I am uncertain as to the length of the activity. I could
use another month of free cards.
The cards are
manufactured by Upper Deck, and are spectacular. They contain the
statistics for the players for the past five seasons. Card # 16 is
Max Domi's card. Last year was his rookie season, and the card tells
us he had 18 goals and 34 assists. He was in the running as the
rookie of the year, but was overshadowed by the remarkable Black Hawk
rookie Artemi Panarin.
St. Louis Blues' rookie
Robby Fabbri also had 18 goals last season, and 37 points. The Blues
are expecting big things from him this season. This could be a banner
year for the Oilers' Connor McDavid. He will be playing in a new
barn, with an exciting young team.
If you are interested
in obtaining a set of these cards, get in touch with me in early
December. They become readily available following the big card show
Monday, October 03, 2016
Bird migration has become a topic of some discussion in these parts
lately. Apparently, the Orioles are not quite ready to head south, and
are planning to hang around the Metropolitan Toronto area for the next
couple of days. The Blue Jays have consented to stay around, and join
them for a friendly game. It is a wild card game, and it was a wild ride
just getting there!!
I am going to focus on two players who might make the difference in the
game. Mind you, when you read this, one of those two teams is heading
somewhere to play again. The other team is heading to the golf course.
Roberto Osuna gets to pitch for the Blue Jays near the end of the game.
He is know as a "closer". It is his responsibility to shut down the
offence of the opposition to preserve wins. Closers usually throw very
fast, and have a couple of other exceptional pitches. They throw heat,
and have nasty out pitches. Osuna has pitched brilliantly most of the
season. He falters occasionally, and that is never a good thing. You
could compare him to a goaltender in the last five minutes of a hockey
game. If he is sharp, you win. If he starts to fight the puck, dire
consequences. Both the goalies and the closers are the last line of defence.
Mind you, there are eight other players on the field to help the closer.
In their last game of the season, both Donaldson and Tulowitzki made
brilliant plays to preserve the Jays' victory. A bobble on either one of
those ground balls, an errant throw, and the season would have been in
Ultimately, it is up to the closer to shut the door. He is given the
ball to pitch with a lead, and he must preserve that lead. For many
years, the best at it was Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees.
Opponents were never happy to see him strolling from the bullpen to lock
down the game. He did it with guile, not speed, and he did it successfully.
The Baltimore Orioles rely on Zach Britton, with good reason. He has
been called upon many times this season to preserve wins for his team.
Not once has he faltered. He relies on a "power sinker" to take care of
the opposition. He has been perfect this season, and may be in line to
receive the Cy
Young Award as the best pitcher in the American League.
Rarely is it doled out to a reliever; in this case, it might be
justified. This is by far his best season as well. He had pitched in 183
games up to the beginning of this season, and had an ERA of 3.70. Not
too shabby. But his ERA this year is under one, something like 0.99.,
meaning that teams have averaged less than one run over nine innings
when he pitches.
Naturally, the trick for the Blue Jays is to avoid Britton. If they have
a large lead heading into the latter stages of the game, that helps.
In a recent game, Osuna prepared to face a Red Sox batter, with a runner
on third base. All of a sudden, the umpire jumped out from behind home
plate and gestured to the base runner to head home. There was a large
collective gasp in Beantown. Osuna had balked! The score was tied. The
Jays were on the ropes. Fortunately, they recovered sufficiently to earn
the berth in the Wild card game.
There is a variety of illegal motions that a pitcher can do to
necessitate a balk call. There are 15 different scenarios in this
regard. Most have to do with trying to fake out a base runner. It is
called quite rarely, and is always controversial. Osuna's balk was
obvious. He made motions to pitch, then seemed to change his mind.
Steve Carlton hold the record for the most balks in a career-90. While
pitching for Oakland in 1988, Dave Stewart had 16 balks, the most in a
regular season. Bob Shaw had five in one game, at a time when umpires
were trying to decide on the definition of a balk. The most famous balk
took place in an All Star Game in 1961.
The winds were swirling in Candlestick Park. They were so strong that
they caused pitcher Stu Miller to sway erratically, resulting in the
By the time you read this, the Jays' fate for 2016 will be sealed.
Hopefully, not by a silly balk.
James Hurst October 3, 2916