Owner Calvin Griffith, stats guru Allan Roth to be enshrined posthumously

Thursday, January 28, 2010

St. Marys – Roberto Alomar, arguably the greatest all-round Toronto Blue Jay player ever, and Canadian pitcher Paul Quantrill, whose 841 game appearances rank him 35th all-time in major league history and first among Canadians, will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on June 19th, 2010 in St. Marys, Ontario.

Joining the duo of former Blue Jays will be a pair of Montrealers who will be enshrined posthumously.

Calvin Griffith, who began his 60 years in baseball as a batboy with the Washington Senators, had a brief minor league career and then re-joined the Senators front office. He took ownership of the team in 1955, moved them to Minneapolis in 1961, and owned the Twins until 1984. Griffith, who will be represented by his son Clark at the Induction Ceremony, passed away in 1999 at the age of 87.

Allan Roth, referred to as the “Father of Sabermetrics,” Bill James’ term for the modern statistical analysis of baseball.  He was a pioneer in convincing teams to use baseball statistics as a tactic. After charting stats for his hometown Montreal Canadiens and the National Hockey League, Roth became the first full-time statistician to be hired by a major league club when Brooklyn Dodgers’ president & general manager Branch Rickey hired him in 1947. Roth, who will be represented by his son Michael at the Induction Ceremony, died in 1992 at the age of 74.

“Quantrill, Griffith and Roth further demonstrate the often-underestimated impact that Canadians have had on so many facets of the baseball industry,” said Ball Hall president & CEO Tom Valcke.

“And while we do not strive to be identified as the Expos/Blue Jays Hall of Fame, there is little doubt that the calibre of player that Robbie Alomar was during his time with the Jays penetrated every grass roots program from coast to coast and helped develop infielders. Being superb at his position made countless Canadian youth wish that they could play like Robbie Alomar, and that distinction is why we’ll be honoring him here in St. Marys in June.”

Roberto Alomar

Roberto Alomar“This is an honour, truly a privilege,” said an excited Alomar, who is currently in Toronto launching a clothing line.

“I cherished my years with the Blue Jays and have always loved the Canadian people. Those years were the very best of my career.”

Alomar, born February 5,1968 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, began his major league career with the San Diego Padres, arriving in the majors in 1988. He became part of one of the biggest trades in baseball history on December 5, 1990 when he and Joe Carter were sent to Toronto in return for 2008-CBHFM-inductee Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff. Alomar, who played 17 years in all, went on to play for Baltimore, Cleveland, the New York Mets, Chicago White Sox, and Arizona, but his longest stint was in Toronto, where he led the Blue Jays to back-to-back World Series championships in 1992-93.

The slick-fielding second baseman was named to the All-Star Game all five years he played in Toronto, and 12 times in all. He also won five of his 10 Gold Glove awards and one of his four Silver Slugger awards while toiling for the Blue Jays. The 1992 ALCS MVP was named Blue Jays Player of the Year in 1991, ’92 and ’95, and later was named to their “Level of Excellence.”

Alomar’s .307 batting average with the Blue Jays ranks him first all-time. He compiled a lifetime .300 BA and a .313 post-season BA. His 206 stolen bases ranks him second to Lloyd Moseby, and he swiped 474 in his career. His .382 on-base percentage during his time with the Blue Jays is fourth-best all-time (his career OBP was .371). Alomar had 832 hits and 55 homeruns with the Blue Jays while amassing 2,724 hits and 210 homers in his 2,379-game career.

Alomar, who recently missed being inducted into Cooperstown by just eight votes, currently resides in Tampa, Florida with his wife Maria. He has an eight-year old son named Robertito.

Paul Quantrill

Paul Quantrill“Baseball has been a huge and wonderful part of my family’s life, so getting the call from St. Marys created a lot of excitement around our home,” said Quantrill from his residence in Port Hope, Ontario.

“The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame represents a community that has a true love and respect for our game. I hope my genuine enthusiasm and passion for a kid’s game reflects well on the Hall. Thank you for the tremendous honour of representing our baseball community, and we can’t wait to be in St. Marys with Robbie and representatives from the Griffith and Roth families this coming June.”

Quantrill, born November 3, 1968 in London, Ontario attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was originally drafted in the 26th round in 1986 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, and then again by the Boston Red Sox in the sixth round in 1989. The rubber-armed right-hander’s first appearance was with the Red Sox on July 20, 1992, and his final game was on September 27, 2005 with the Florida Marlins. In between, he played for Philadelphia, Toronto (his longest stint with one team, from 1996-2001), Los Angeles, the New York Yankees, and San Diego.

Quantrill even toed the rubber for Team Canada during the 2006 inaugural World Baseball Classic. He also coached Team Canada in the 2009 WBC along with 2009-CBHFM-inductees Ernie Whitt, Larry Walker and Bernie Soulliere, and assisted Greg Hamilton with the Canadian Junior National Team as well.

Known for his spot location and nasty sinkerball, Quantrill appeared in 386 games with the Blue Jays from 1996-2001 (4th overall), where he won 30 games and saved 15, compiling a 3.67 ERA. 64 of his career 841 appearances were starts, and the majority of the rest were middle and late-game relief. He chalked up 68 wins, 21 saves, and a 3.83 ERA over his 14-year career, striking out 725 over 1,255 innings.

“Q”, as he is known by friends and teammates, was the Blue Jays Pitcher of the Year in 2001 and was named to the All-Star team. He led the American League in games pitched that season with 80, and his .846 winning percentage that season (11 wins, 2 losses) represented the second highest in Blue Jays history. He also led the AL in appearances in 2004 with 86, and led the National League in appearances in 2002 (86) and 2003 (89). He led the AL in “Holds” with 32 in 2002. Both his 841 career appearances and 89 game appearances in the 2003 season are Canadian records.

Quantrill’s only complete game happened to be a shutout, when the Red Sox rookie allowed only a single by Jay Buhner and a double by Mackey Sasser, both in the second inning, as he went on to strike out six in blanking the Seattle Mariners 6-0 on July 4, 1993.

Quantrill has been married to his wife Alyson for 16 years, and they have a son Cal (14) and two daughters, Reese (12) and Avery (8).

Calvin Griffith

Calvin Griffith“To be remembered a full decade after his death is a true honour for my father,” said Clark Griffith from his home in Minneapolis.

“This is just fantastic news, and all of us our very proud that his legacy remains strong and will carry forward in St. Marys.”

Born Calvin Robertson on December 1, 1911 in Montreal, brother of 2007-CBHFM-inductee Sherry Robertson, he was the nephew of Clark Griffith, a former major leaguer and owner of the Washington Senators. Calvin was from a poor family and when his natural father Jimmy Robertson died, Clark Griffith began raising Calvin and then adopted him in 1924. The youngster became a baseball junkie under his uncle’s tutelage, and was known to have spent countless hours in the living room figuring out batting orders and farm team acquisitions to help the team as a youngster. Calvin played baseball and basketball at Staunton Military Academy from 1928 to 1933, and then baseball at George Washington University beginning in 1933. Following that, he managed in the minor leagues in Chattanooga and Charlotte from 1937 to 1941. He moved into several administrative positions throughout the organization, including secretary-treasurer and then vice president beginning in 1942. By the early 1950’s, Calvin was basically running the Senators’ day-to-day operations, and he was handed the ownership of the team after the senior Griffith’s death in 1955 .

Calvin Griffith was instrumental in bringing the club from Washington to Minneapolis in 1961, where he served 24 more years as president and principal owner of the Minnesota Twins. The Twins won three AL West titles under his reign (1965, ’69, ’70), one AL pennant (1965), and they hosted the MLB All-Star Game in 1965, the year that Calvin was awarded the AL’s Executive of the Year award. He was inducted into the Twins’ Hall of Fame in 2000, and the organization named the team MVP award after him. Canadian Justin Morneau won that award in 2006 and 2008. There are currently a row of seats in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome named “Calvin’s Seats,” which are used to host underprivileged families at Twins home games.

When Carl Pohlad purchased the Twins for $38 million in 1984, Griffith cried at the signing of the agreement. He spent most of his final years in Minnesota, still attending Twins games and serving as an icon on the Minneapolis sports scene.

Both Calvin and his father were knows for some famous one-liners.

His father Clark, who is inducted in Cooperstown, once said about his Senators, “Fans like homeruns, and we have assembled a pitching staff to please our fans!”

Calvin was quoted saying “He’ll either be the best manager in baseball, or the worst,” after giving a young Billy Martin his first job as a manager.

But his sense of humour was hidden during contract negotiations. Pitcher Bert Blyleven offered this story about negotiating with Griffith. Agents were not a part of baseball at that time, so players had to negotiate with Griffith one on one.

“You would go into his office and he would sit in a high chair behind a high desk and you would sit on a couch that sank down, so it was like you were looking up about ten feet at this big owner. He would then basically tell you what you were going to make the next year, because that is what he thought you were worth, period.”

Griffith passed away on October 20, 1999 in Melbourne, Florida. He was predeceased by his first wife Natalie Griffith and their daughter Corinne Griffith Pillsbury.  He is survived by their son Clark Griffith II and daughter Clare Griffith, as well as his second wife Belva Block.  He has three grand children, Clark III, Natalie and Caroline.

Allan Roth

Allan Roth“My father’s induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is a great thrill for my mother, and a huge honour for our entire family, and we will be proud to participate in St. Marys” said Allan’s son Michael from his home in Los Angeles.

“We are well aware that baseball has a very long and rich history in Canada. My dad was baseball’s pre-eminent statistician, working with the Brooklyn and LA Dodgers, but he originally fell in love with baseball as a child in Montreal and enjoyed seeing the Royals when he could. As a young man, he was thrilled watching the exploits of a young infielder named Jackie Robinson, and my father joined the Dodgers organization in 1947, the very same year that Jackie broke the colour barrier. My father then went on to a 45-year career working in Major League Baseball, but it all started in Canada.”

Allan Roth, born in Montreal on May 10, 1917, made a pitch to Branch Rickey in 1944 that made the case for opinions such as on-base percentage being more important than batting average.

“And, wouldn’t it help a manager to know, for example, that a certain batter hit .220 against right-handed pitchers and .300 against lefties?”, Roth asked.

Rickey became intrigued, and his hiring of Roth in 1947 initiated a trend that has made the personal computer an essential element of an MLB clubhouse’s paraphernalia.

Roth did stats for the Brooklyn and LA Dodgers until 1964 and developed the RBI percentage (batting average with runners in scoring position). He charted every pitch and did the requisite calculations either in his head or with a simple calculator, insisting on working by hand throughout his career. He began working the NBC and ABC games of the week until 1990, feeding pertinent information to the broadcasters in the booth such as Al Michaels.

“Long before there was Mary Poppins, there was Allan Roth,” said the legendary Vin Scully.

“If you had some question that came to you in the middle of a game, he would reach down into his bag and the next thing you knew, you’d have your answer. It was marvelous!”

Roth once said, “Baseball is a game of percentages; I try to find the actual percentage.”

He was featured in a 10-page story in Life Magazine in 1954, and became the editor of “Who’s Who in Baseball” from 1955-71.

“Allan Roth was as vital to Branch Rickey as Robin was to Batman,” said New York Times writer Alan Schwarz.

Still today, there remains a Los Angeles chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) named after Allan Roth.

Roth died on March 3, 1992, and is survived by his wife Esther, his son Michael, and his daughter Andrea Western.

Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame List of Inductees:

1983 – John Ducey, Phil Marchildon, James “Tip” O’Neill, Lester B. Pearson, George Selkirk, Frank Shaughnessy

1984 – Andrew Bilesky, Charles Bronfman, Jack Graney, Claude Raymond, Goody Rosen

1985 – Carmen Bush, Jack Kent Cooke, Dick Fowler, John Hiller, Ron Taylor

1986 – Reggie Cleveland, Bob Emslie, Oscar Judd, Bob Prentice

1987 – Russ Ford, George ”Moon” Gibson,  Ferguson Jenkins, Glenn “Rocky” Nelson

1988 – Reno Bertoia, Ted Bowsfield, Jeff Heath, Bill Phillips, Ron Piche, 1838 Beachville & Zorra Amateur Teams

1989 – Robert Brown, Arthur “Foxy” Irwin

1990 – Jimmy Archer

1991 – Jackie Robinson, Pete Ward, Jimmy Williams

1992 – Tom Burgess, 1991 National Youth Team

1995 – Terry Puhl

1996 – Justin Jay Clarke, Father Ronald Cullen, Frank O’Rourke

1997 – Pat Gillick, John McHale

1998 – George “Knotty” Lee, Ron Roncetti, Canadian-born AAGPBL Players

1999 – Frank Colman, Bobby Mattick, George Sleeman

2000 – Jim Fanning

2001 – Gary Carter, Dave McKay

2002 – Paul Beeston, Cito Gaston, Don McDougall, Dave Shury, Harry Simmons, Bill Slack

2003 – Richard Belec, Joe Carter, Kirk McCaskill, Vancouver Asahi

2004 – Andre Dawson, Peter Hardy, Joseph “JJ” Lannin, Jim McKean

2005 – Steve Rogers, Charles “Pop” Smith, Dave Stieb, Harold “Doc” Younker

2006 – Ron Hayter, Tommy Lasorda, Larry McLean, Ron Stead

2007 – George “Sparky” Anderson, John Haar, Sherrard “Sherry” Robertson

2008 – Tony Fernandez, Billy Harris, Gladwyn Scott, Peter Widdrington

2009 – Roy “Doc” Miller, Bernie Soulliere, Larry Walker, Ernie Whitt

2010 – Roberto Alomar, Calvin Griffith, Paul Quantrill, Allan Roth

For more information, please contact:

Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum

P.O. Box 1838 (140 Queen St. E.)

St. Marys, ON, Canada, N4X 1C2

Tel: (519) 284-1838

Toll Free: 1-877-250-BALL

Fax: (519) 284-1234

Email: [email protected]


2010 SUMMER CAMPS for Boys & Girls

* Week-long camps (drop off Sunday, pick-up Saturday), including accommodation & meals

* Focus on baseball FUNdamentals, swimming, soccer & tennis, trip to Rogers Centre

* Social Justice and Cultural Awareness programs incorporated

* Baseball Celebrities to take part

Mark your calendar with these key dates in 2010:

January 1 – April 30 >> Museum open only for pre-booked group tours

May 1 >> Museum Opens for the season (open weekends only in May)

June 18 >> 14th Annual Celebrity Golf Classic

June 19 >> Induction Ceremony 2010 at 11am

July 4th >> 1st week of KIDS ON DECK summer camp program