|St. Marys – Two dominant ex-major leaguers, two trailblazing, grassroots leaders and a gold medal-winning national team will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.
Ex-Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay and former Montreal Expos slugger Vladimir Guerrero will be honoured in a ceremony on June 24 in St. Marys, Ont., along with long-time Baseball Canada president Ray Carter (Nanaimo, B.C.) and legendary umpire Doug Hudlin (Victoria, B.C.), who will be enshrined posthumously. Canada's Senior National Team that captured gold at the 2015 Pan Am Games will also be inducted.
"Each member of this year's class has had a tremendously positive impact on baseball in Canada," said Scott Crawford, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame's director of operations. "I'm excited that we will not only be celebrating the careers of two of the greatest professional players ever to suit up for the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos, but also two highly respected grassroots leaders and a gold-medal-winning national team that made history on home soil."
The induction ceremony will be part of a series of events that will also include "The Opening Pitch" reception which will take place in the offices of Miller Thomson LLP in Toronto (June 22), the Hall's 21st annual celebrity golf tournament and banquet (June 23) and an on-site festival sponsored by the Toronto Blue Jays (June 24).
The intense right-hander became a mainstay in the Blue Jays' starting rotation beginning in July 2001 and he established himself as the team's ace the following year when he won 19 games and led American League hurlers in innings pitched (239-1/3) and WAR (7.4) and was selected to his first All-Star team. Halladay would top that the ensuing campaign when he led the league in wins (22), innings pitched (266), complete games (9) and WAR (8.1). For his efforts, he became the third Blue Jay to capture the American League Cy Young Award (Pat Hentgen (1996), Roger Clemens (1997, 1998)).
Over his next six seasons with the Blue Jays, Halladay was arguably the league's best starter. With 20 wins in 2008, the 6-foot-6 righty became the second Blue Jay to record 20 wins in a season twice (Roger Clemens was the other). In all, in parts of 12 seasons with the Blue Jays, Halladay made a team-record seven Opening Day starts, led the American League in complete games five times (2003, 2005, 2007-09), innings pitched three times (2002, 2003, 2008) and was a six-time All-Star (2002-03, 2005-06, 2008-09). He finished his Blue Jays career with a 148-76 won/loss record – good for a .661 winning percentage, which is the best in franchise history. He also ranks second all-time amongst Blue Jays pitchers in wins (148), shutouts (15), strikeouts (1,495) and WAR (48.5).
On top of his on-field excellence, Halladay and his wife, Brandy, sponsored Doc's Box at Rogers Centre, a program which invited children and families from the Hospital for Sick Children to watch a game in a private box at the stadium. Halladay also donated $100,000 a year to the Jays Care Foundation as part of his contract with the club. For his humanitarian efforts, Halladay was named the Blue Jays nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award multiple times and the club's nominee for the Major League Baseball Players' Association's Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2008.
After being dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies in December 2009, Halladay continued his dominance in the National League, recording 21 wins and leading the circuit in innings pitched (250-2/3), complete games (9) and WAR (8.3) in 2010 to earn his second Cy Young Award. On May 29th of that season, he tossed the 20thperfect game in major league history and just over four months later, on October 6, he became the first National League pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the playoffs when he blanked the Cincinnati Reds in the opening game of the National League Division Series. For an encore with the Phillies, Halladay posted a 2.35 ERA and topped the National League in complete games (8) and WAR (8.9) and finished second in Cy Young Award voting in 2011.
In total, in his 16-year major league career, Halladay was selected to eight All-Star games, collected 203 wins and posted a .659 winning percentage, which ranks 19th all-time.
"Toronto has been my home away from home throughout my career and even to this day. My oldest son now 16 was born in Toronto and considers himself Canadian," said Halladay. "It was a privilege to live and play in Canada for as long as I did. The people here were kind, supportive, respectful and always seemed to welcome me home even when I came to visit and sat in the wrong dugout. To be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is just another example of exceptional treatment I have received from Canada. I can't explain the feelings that accompanied goose bumps every time you showed me how much I was appreciated and once again after getting word of this honour Canada has given me, those same feelings to go along with the goose bumps. Thank you!"
In all, in his eight seasons with the Expos from 1996 to 2003, Guerrero was a four-time All-Star (1999 to 2002), three-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1999-00, 2002) and he received MVP votes in six seasons. He also possessed one of baseball's strongest arms and he topped National League right fielders in assists twice (2001, 2002). Guerrero also established all-time Expos records for batting average (.323), home runs (234), slugging percentage (.588) and on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) (.978).
Off the field, the Dominican slugger served as an outstanding ambassador for the club. While with the Expos, he provided tickets to home games for 10 different Montreal youth groups which enabled underprivileged children to attend games. He also sponsored a youth league and collected baseball equipment for young players in the Dominican Republic. For his humanitarian efforts, he was named the Expos' Roberto Clemente Award nominee in 2001.
Following the 2003 campaign, Guerrero signed with the Los Angeles Angels and continued to be one of baseball's most dangerous hitters. In his six seasons with the Angels, he was an all-star four times (2004-07), captured four Silver Slugger Awards (2004-07) and was named the American League MVP in 2004. He joined the Texas Rangers in 2010 and after clubbing 29 home runs and registering 115 RBI, he was selected to his ninth All-Star team, won his eighth Silver Slugger Award and was honoured with the Edgar Martinez Award, as the league's top designated hitter.
In all, in his 16-year big league career, he batted .318, walloped 449 home runs (38th all-time) and recorded a .553 career slugging percentage, which ranks 24th all-time.
"I was surprised and excited to hear that I'm being inducted," said Guerrero through a translator. "I knew that I would need to wait at least one more year to join the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but I'm very pleased to join the Canadian hall of fame first, since I was given my first opportunity to play Major League Baseball in Canada."
Carter helped to establish the women's National Team in 2004. The women's team has since won five international medals – including two silvers – and is now ranked second in the world.
Among the other Baseball Canada programs that Carter helped spearhead has been Challenger Baseball, which allows children with disabilities to participate in the sport and be part of a team. The B.C. native has also overseen the development of the DQ Rally Cap program for initiation players, which provides coaches with tools to teach skills and build enthusiasm for the game in children at an early age. Carter was also a driving force behind the development of the National Coaches Certification Program, which offers standardized training for coaches across the country and has resulted in the development of higher caliber players that are increasingly being selected in the early rounds of the major league draft.
Prior to becoming president of Baseball Canada, Carter was the organization's vice president in 1998 and 1999. In his home province, Carter served as president of Baseball British Columbia for eight years and B.C. Minor Baseball for two years.
For his tireless commitment to baseball, Carter was inducted into the Delta Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. He's also a life member of the Western Canada Baseball Association, a member of the Baseball B.C. Honor Roll and was a Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient in 2012. His name has become so synonymous with baseball in this country that the Canadian 15 and under Boys Championship tournament has been renamed the Ray Carter Cup.
"I'm deeply honoured to be elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame," said Carter. "To be inducted with Roy Halladay, Vladimir Guerrero, umpire Doug Hudlin and the Canadian 2015 Pan Am gold medal team is indeed special. I thank the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and those involved for this wonderful news."
Along the way, he was chosen as the first non-American umpire to work the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., in 1967. Seven years later, he returned to umpire the event, making him the first international umpire ever to work two Little League World Series.
Hudlin also worked the Canada Little League Championships five times (1966-67, 1973, 1981, 1987), the Senior Little League World Series in Gary, Ind., twice (1968, 1974) and the B.C. Summer Games in 1988. That same year, he was selected by the Celebration '88 Committee to receive a medal for his longstanding service to the Victoria community as a sports official.
Hudlin umpired his final Little League game in 1992. Six years later, he was elected to the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame and in 2011, he was inducted into the B.C. Baseball Umpires Association Hall of Fame. His stellar work behind the plate also earned him lifetime memberships in the Victoria and District Baseball Association (1983), Little League World Series Umpire Alumni (1984), the British Columbia Baseball Umpires Association (1988) and Little League Baseball British Columbia (1989). Hudlin was also the founding director of the British Columbia Black History Awareness Society.
Hudlin passed away on January 5, 2014 at the age of 91. To honour his legacy, the B.C. Baseball Umpires Association presents the Doug Hudlin Distinguished Service Award each year to a dedicated and long-serving umpire in the province.
"I was very happy to hear the news of Doug's induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and spent the rest of the day remembering that little smile that he had when something went well," said Judy Messerli, Hudlin's step-daughter.
Managed by Ernie Whitt, Baseball Canada's Senior National Team secured its second consecutive Pan Am Games gold medal with a thrilling, extra-inning win over the United States on July 19, 2015.
In the nail-biting gold medal contest played in front of 5,489 boisterous fans in Ajax, Ont., the Canadian squad trailed the Americans 6-4 heading into the bottom of the 10th inning. International baseball rules dictate that teams must start extra innings with runners on first and second base. With one out, Pete Orr (Richmond Hill, Ont.) flared a single to centre field to score Tyson Gillies (Vancouver, B.C.) to make it a 6-5 game. American lefty David Huff then threw wildly when he attempted to pick Orr off first base and Skyler Stromsmoe (Bow Island, Alta.) darted home to tie the game. Orr aggressively dashed for third base and U.S. right fielder Brian Bogusevic threw the ball wide of the bag. Orr then scampered for home, while U.S. shortstop Tyler Pastornicky corralled the ball and threw it to U.S. catcher Thomas Murphy. Orr slid in safely in a close play at the plate and Canada won 7-6. It was an unforgettable sequence of events that will be remembered as one of the greatest in Canadian baseball history.
The gold medal game triumph avenged Canada's 4-1 loss to the Americans earlier in the tournament. That was Canada's only defeat in the event that saw them go 7-1 overall and down the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico. It was a combination of strong pitching and a balanced offensive attack that propelled Canada to gold. The team's 2.34 ERA was the best in the tournament. The pitching staff was led by Chris Leroux (Mississauga, Ont.) who recorded three wins, Phillipe Aumont (Gatineau, Que.) who didn't allow an earned run and struck out 16 batters (second-most in the tournament) in 13 innings and Jeff Francis (North Delta, B.C.) who had two saves as the team's closer before starting and hurling seven innings in the gold medal game.
The team's offence was led by Rene Tosoni (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) who batted .433 in the tournament and belted a three-run home run in the gold medal contest. Jordan Lennerton (Langley, B.C.) also contributed nine RBI (second-most in the tournament), while Gillies tallied nine runs (second-most in the tournament).
"Winning Pan Am gold for the second time in a row, on home soil and in the fashion that we did is something that I'll never forget," said Whitt. "It's an honour to be part of a team being inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and I'm really looking forward to being a part of the festivities in June."
Greg Hamilton, director of Canada's national teams, who was a coach on the gold medal-winning squad, shared similar thoughts.
"The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame includes inductees that have had a significant impact on baseball in our country, so to be a part of this group is truly an honour," he said.
Thursday, June 22, 2017 - "The Opening Pitch" reception which will take place in the offices of
Friday, June 23, 2017 – 21st Annual
Celebrity Golf Classic & Banquet
October 9 to May 5, 2017 – open by pre-booked group tours only. Minimum 6 people or $30 for a one-hour tour.
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