The St. Marys, Ont.-based shrine presents this award annually to a member of the media who has made significant contributions to baseball in Canada through their life’s work.
“For three decades, Serge Touchette covered the Montreal Expos with tremendous passion and skill,” said Scott Crawford, the Hall’s director of operations. “He’s a respected leader in his field and is one of our country’s most knowledgeable, charismatic and beloved baseball writers. We’re proud to recognize him with this award.”
Born in Montreal on August 1, 1952, Touchette fell in love with baseball the first time he saw Giants superstar Willie Mays play on TV in the 1960’s. He began covering the Montreal Expos as a reporter for Le Journal de Montréal in 1975 and remained on the Expos beat, with the exception of a six-week period in 1999 in which he served as a columnist, until the club moved to Washington in 2004.
During his tenure covering the Expos, he was on hand to document the club’s sole playoff appearance in 1981, Dennis Martinez’s perfect game on July 28, 1991, Gary Carter’s last season in 1992 and Vladimir Guerrero’s entire record-breaking tenure with the club.
Touchette was also a fixture in the press box during the Expos’ 1994 campaign that saw the club compile a 74-40 record to sit six games atop the National League East division before a players’ strike wiped out the rest of the season. He was also present at the Expos’ last game at Olympic Stadium on September 29, 2004.
While on the Expos beat, Touchette also served tenures as the president of the Montreal chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and vice-president of the national (Canadian) BBWAA. He was also a generous mentor to up-and-coming sportswriters, including Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Bob Elliott.
A versatile journalist, Touchette has covered more than 20 World Series, The Masters, two Olympics, three Super Bowls and several Stanley Cup Finals. He currently writes for the NHL’s website.
Through it all, baseball has remained Touchette’s No. 1 passion and for his efforts, he was inducted into Quebec Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.
“Wow! I didn’t expect this. Thank you to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and to those that voted for me for this award,” said Touchette. “When I read the names of the past winners, I realize how special this honour is. I’m flattered to have my name on this award alongside so many of the previous recipients that I respect and admire.”
Details on when Touchette will be presented with the 2015 Jack Graney Award will be announced in the coming months.
Born in St. Thomas, Ont., Jack Graney was a scrappy leadoff hitter for the Cleveland Indians. His big league resume boasts a number of firsts. When he walked to the plate in a game against the Boston Red Sox on July 11, 1914, he became the first batter to face Babe Ruth. Almost two years later, on June 26, 1916, he was the first major leaguer to bat wearing a number on his uniform. After hanging up his spikes, Graney became the first ex-player to make the transition to the broadcast booth, performing radio play-by-play for the Indians from 1932 to 1953.
Previous Winners of the Jack Graney Award:
1987 – Neil MacCarl – Toronto Star
1988 – Milt Dunnell – Toronto Star
1990 – Austin “Dink” Carroll – Montreal Gazette
1991 – Joe Crysdale & Hal Kelly – CKEY
1996 – Dave Van Horne – Montreal Expos
2001 – Tom Cheek – Toronto Blue Jays
2002 – Ernie Harwell – Detroit Tigers
2003 – Allan Simpson – Baseball America
2004 – Jacques Doucet – Montreal Expos
2005 – Len Bramson – TBS Sports
2009 – Ian MacDonald – Montreal Gazette
2010 – Bob Elliott – Sun Media & canadianbaseballnetwork.com
2011 – W. P. Kinsella – “Shoeless Joe” novel adapted to film “Field of Dreams”
2012 – Jerry Howarth – Toronto Blue Jays
2013 – Rodger Brulotte – Montreal Expos, Toronto Blue Jays
2014 – Richard Griffin – Toronto Star