St. Marys The original face of the Montreal Expos, the current mastermind of the uprising Milwaukee Brewers, the legendary lefthander from Moncton, New Brunswick, and the reigning gold medalists from the 2011 Pan Am Games will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame at 11:00am on Saturday, June 23rd, 2012.
The ceremony for Rusty Staub, Doug Melvin, Rheal Cormier and Team Canada (represented by field manager Ernie Whitt, GM Greg Hamilton, and as many players as can be rounded up) will take place on the ceremonial grounds beside the Ball Hall’s museum, located at 386 Church St. South, St. Marys, Ontario, culminating a festival of events that will include a celebrity slo-pitch game on the Thursday evening and a celebrity golf classic on Friday.
DANIEL JOSEPH STAUB, born April 1, 1944 in New Orleans, LA, and nicknamed “Rusty” for his red hair, was affectionately known as “Le Grande Orange” to Expos fans for the same reason. Staub wore the Expos uniform in three of his six All-Star games, in 1969, 1970 and 1971. He also toiled for the Expos in 1979. The left-handed slugger played a total of 518 games for the Expos, amassing 531 hits, 81 homeruns, 284 RBI, 24 stolen bases, and compiling a fourth best all-time .295 batting average, a .402 on-base percentage (1st), a .497 slugging percentage (2nd) and an .899 OPS (2nd). His attempts to learn the French language and his charitable work off the field endeared him to the French-Canadian fans, as did his play on the field. His uniform number (10) was first jersey ever retired by the Expos. In 1972, Expos traded Staub to the Mets for Ken Singleton, Tim Foli, and Mike Jorgenson, a trio that flourished with the Expos for years to follow.
Staub is the only player in Major League history to chalk up more than 500 hits for four different teams (Houston, Montreal, Detroit, New York Mets). He, along with Ty Cobb and Gary Sheffield, are the only players ever to hit a homerun in the major leagues before the age of 20 and after the age of 40. The burly outfielder/first baseman hit at least one homerun in 23 consecutive seasons, third-best all-time behind Ricky Henderson (25) and Cobb (24). Staub’s 2,951 games played rank him 12th all-time, and of those 12, only he and Pete Rose are not yet inducted into Cooperstown.
“It's very gratifying to be recognized as a special player, especially when the award is of such ilk,” said Staub from his home in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“For me, it's even more special because of my relationships with so many people in Montreal, Quebec and all over Canada. I have shared some great memories of my career during the time the Expos introduced Major League baseball to Canada. My first three years in Montreal were great times. To help establish our franchise all over Canada was one of the fondest periods of my career. I sincerely would like to thank the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for honouring me.”
RHEAL CORMIER, born April 23, 1967, in Moncton New Brunswick, pitched 16 years in the major leagues, the third most seasons played by a Canadian, behind Fergie Jenkins and Matt Stairs (tied with 19), and Larry Walker (17). His 683 games pitched for St. Louis (1991-‘94), Boston (1995, 1999-‘00), Montreal (1996-‘97), Philadelphia (2001-‘06), and Cincinnati (2006-‘07) represent the most outings ever by a Canadian behind Canadian Baseball Hall-of-Famer Paul Quantrill (841). He was drafted in the sixth round in 1988 by the St. Louis Cardinals, and was one of only eight Canucks selected that year. He finished his Major League career with 71 wins, a 4.03 ERA, 1221 innings pitched, and 760 strikeouts alongside 317 bases on balls. His best season was 2003 for the Phillies, where he finished with an 8-0 win-loss record, a 1.70 ERA, pitching 84 innings while striking out 67 and allowing just 54 hits. Having only played twice in the post-season, in 1995 and 1999 (both with Boston), Cormier pitched in eight games, compiling a 1.08 ERA over eight innings with 10 strikeouts.
Cormier also pitched for Canada’s 1985 Junior National Team, as well as for Team Canada at the 1987 Pan Am Games and Intercontinental Cup, the 1988 and 2008 Olympic Summer Games, and in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. In 1996, the Expos nominated him for the True Value Roberto Clemente Award for his involvement in several school programs in New Brunswick and because he was a spokesman for a teenage anti-suicide and anti-drug campaigns.
“This is an unbelievable honour to have been chosen and mentioned in the same breath as the great Canadians who have been inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame before me,” stated Cormier from his home in Park City, Utah.
DOUG MELVIN, born August 8, 1952, is Chatham, Ontario’s second most famous baseball man, behind Hall-of-Famer Fergie Jenkins. The Milwaukee Brewers general manager since 2002 had a brief pitching career in the minor leagues from 1972-78 with Pittsburgh and the New York Yankees, followed by administrative jobs including baseball operations assistant with the Yankees in 1983-‘84, scouting director with the Yankees in 1985, special assistant to general manager Roland Hemond in 1987 with the Baltimore Orioles, assistant GM and director of player personnel from 1988-‘93 with the Orioles, and then landing his first general manager’s job from 1994-2001 with the Texas Rangers. Melvin was noted for signing superstar Alex Rodriquez to a ten-year, $250 million dollar contract on January 26, 2001. After a brief stint in minor league operations with the Boston Red Sox, was named executive vice president and general manager with the Brewers on September 26, 2002. He is the eighth general manager in Brewers, and is currently under contract through the 2012 season. Melvin ended 25-year playoff droughts in both Texas and Milwaukee.
Melvin was named Baseball Executive of the Year in 2011 by Baseball America after the team won a franchise-record 96 games and won the National League Central Division title. Melvin was also awarded Co-Executive of the Year by The Sporting News along with Detroit? Tiger’s Dave Dombrowski. Prior to that, in addition to Melvin being inducted into the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, he won a pair of Executive of the Year Awards in 1996 and 1998. Prior to the 2011 season, he was credited with acquiring former American League Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, pitcher Shaun Marcum, and outfielder Nyjer Morgan via trades. On the night of the 2011 All-Star Game, Melvin acquired reliever Francisco Rodriguez, and later in the season, Jerry Hairston. Both veterans proved to be key contributors to the team’s second post-season appearance in four years.
Heading into the 2012 season, Melvin and his staff made a number of key free agent signings to keep the team strong, including the signing of third baseman Aramis Ramirez, shortstop Alex Gonzalez and outfielder Norichika Aoki from the Japanese League. Melvin also bolstered the bullpen by acquiring reliever Jose Veras via trade with Pittsburgh. Melvin also inked one of the Brewers? homegrown stars, National League MVP Ryan Braun, to a long-term extension through the 2020 season, marking the longest contract in franchise history.
During his time as General Manager, Melvin has dramatically overhauled the Brewers' roster, creating a roster of veteran players alongside the homegrown, youthful talent. In his eight years as General Manager, Melvin has recorded 717 wins, three winning seasons, two Postseason berths and a NL Central Division Championship. His acquisition of CC Sabathia in 2008 was instrumental to the Brewers entering its first post-season since 1982. He is one of five Canadian natives to ever be a Major League General Manager, joining George Selkirk of the Washington Senators, Murray Cook of the New York Yankees, Montreal Expos and Cincinnati Reds, Gord Ash of the Toronto Blue Jays, who currently works with the Brewers, and current Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.
Doug and his wife Ellen have also been visible in the community, making a yearly commitment to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness. In appreciation of the community support, they donate $25,000 a year to selected programs through the Brewers Community Foundation. Doug and Ellen have two children, Ashley and Cory. Cory is in his fourth season in the organization as a professional scout. Melvin’s parents, Art and Bernice, as well as his brother Andy and sister Chris still reside in Chatham.
“I am surprised and excited and honoured to hear the news of my induction, and I hope that my induction continues to bring awareness to those who aspire a front office career in our great game,” said Melvin from his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“Two Hall-of-Famers set high standards for Canadians in baseball. Fergie Jenkins inspired me as a player and Pat Gillick inspired me as a front office executive. Since my little leagues days in Chatham in the 1960’s, baseball in Canada has grown rapidly with increased participation and the awareness that Canada can compete with any other country. The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is the driving force that energizes the youth of Canadian baseball with its programs. Their hard work to preserve Canada’s baseball heritage is also recognized, respected and appreciated throughout the country and the baseball industry.”
THE 2011 TEAM CANADA SENIOR NATIONAL TEAM, managed by Hall-of-Famer Ernie Whitt, had a storybook year in taking their first-ever gold medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games, held in Guadalajara, Mexico that followed their second consecutive bronze medal at the World Cup, held in Panama City. Canada now is ranked sixth in the world by the International Baseball Federation, its highest ever. While Canada is also peaking at the Major League level, with a record 26 natives having seen time in 2011, Whitt only had three ex-major leaguers on his roster in Scott Richmond, Shawn Hill and Mike Johnson. The teams Business Manager was Windsor's Bernie Soulliere, who was Inducted into the Ball Hall with Whitt in 2009. Fellow Windsorite third base coach Stubby Clapp was a member of Canada's 1991 World Jr. gold medal winning team that was inducted into the Ball Hall in 1992.
At the Pan Am Games, Canada opened with a 5-4 over Puerto Rico, and then lost to Cuba 9-5. After beating Venezuela 4-1, which qualified them for the medal round, Team Canada edged the host Mexico 5-3 in the semi-finals, and took down the undefeated USA 2-1 to win gold. Andrew Albers, from North Battleford, Saskatchewan, who chalked up a win and struck out 10 over nine innings in two games, compiled an ERA of 1.86. James Van Ostrand, of Richmond, British Columbia, led Canada offensively with nine hits in 19 at bats for a .474 average, an on-base percentage of .565 and a slugging percentage of .579.
In the World Cup, where Canada has only won two medals ever, Whitt’s troops opened with four consecutive victories, winning 9-1 over Puerto Rico, handing World Baseball Classic defending champion Japan 3-1, a mercy-rule 12-2 spanking of Greece, and 4-0 shutout of Chinese Taipei. Following a 12-3 loss to Panama, Canada then beat The Netherlands 5-4 and took down the USA 6-1. Australia then handed the Canucks their second loss 7-0, but Canada rebounded with a 7-0 win over Venezuela and a 4-0 blanking of South Korea to complete the qualifying round. Cuba came on strong to beat the Canadians 8-2 in the semi-finals, and rainy weather prevented the bronze medal game against the USA from being played. Canada was awarded the bronze based on their earlier defeat of the Americans. Jonathan Malo, of Joliette, Quebec, was named to the Tournament All-Star Team, going 13-for34 at the plate for a .382 batting average. Albers chalked up a pair of wins and a sparkling 0.00 ERA over four games, striking out nine over 15 innings.
"I've got chills up and down all over again," gleamed Whitt.
“I am just thrilled to hear this great news, first for the players that work so hard to represent Canada and finally bringing home the gold, and secondly, I was so happy for Greg (Hamilton) and his staff who has work so hard with Baseball Canada.”
“I'm very proud to to have been associated with a great group of players and staff to represent Canada. I will never forget the feeling of watching our players on the podium as the national anthem was played. WOW - what a feeling!”
Hamilton, the coach and director of Baseball Canada’s national team programs, who was recently named the most influential person in Canadian baseball, was also elated to hear the news.
‘It’s an absolute honour for our players, coaches and staff to be enshrined as a team in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame,” he said from his home in Ottawa.
“We are all so very proud of the opportunity to wear our country’s colours in international competition, and to have our team’s accomplishments recognized and associated with Canadian baseball excellent is simply special.”
ST. MARYS 7 February 2012