Fergie Jenkins

HALL OF FAMER FERGIE JENKINS

Fergie Jenkins grew up in Chatham, Ontario, where he excelled in baseball, basketball, and hockey. After graduating from high school in the early ’60s, he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, but it wasn’t until he was acquired by the Chicago Cubs in 1966 that he was converted into a starting pitcher.

In his first season as a full-time starter, Jenkins recorded 20 wins and was selected to play in the 1967 all-star game. The durable hurler followed that up by leading the National League with 40 starts and a 20-15 record in 1968. Those two seasons were part of a remarkable string of six consecutive 20-win seasons (1967 to 1972) for the Canuck superstar. His 1971 campaign ranks as his most impressive. That season, he led the National League with 24 wins, 30 complete games and 325 innings pitched and became the first Cub to win the Cy Young Award.

Read more HERE.

Ron Taylor

HALL OF FAMER RON TAYLOR

In 1955, Toronto-area scout, Chester Dies, convinced Ron Taylor to try out for the Cleveland Indians. By that time, the teenage hurler from the Toronto’s Leaside Baseball Association had been dominating players several years older than him. Taylor impressed at the tryout and the Indians inked him to a deal that included a $4,000 signing bonus.

After several years in the minors, Taylor made one of the most remarkable pitching debuts in major league history, hurling 11 scoreless innings against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on April 11, 1962. Later that year, the young moundsman was dealt to St. Louis, where he would assume a key bullpen role on the Cards’ 1964 World Series-winning squad. With the Cards trailing 2-1 in that Fall Classic series, Taylor held a Yankee lineup that boasted Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Elston Howard hitless for four innings in relief in Game 4 to preserve a one-run victory.

Read more HERE.

Richard Belec

HALL OF FAMER RICHARD BELEC

Richard Bélec was one of the leading organizers of amateur baseball in Quebec for more than 50 years. After helping to establish Baseball Quebec, he served as the organization’s president for two terms (1970 to 1972, 1980 to 1994) and as president of the Quebec Junior Elite League for 16 years.

The diamond pioneer also helped create L’Académie Baseball Canada (ABC), a groundbreaking program that gives players the opportunity to obtain a post-secondary education in Canada, while playing competitive baseball. Eric Gagne is one of the program’s graduates. While with Baseball Quebec, Bélec also acted as a liaison with the Montreal Expos. Read more HERE.

Doug Hudlin

HALL OF FAMER DOUG HUDLIN

Born in 1922 in Victoria, B.C., Hudlin served as an umpire in his home province for more than 40 years. Though he was a skilled baseball player as a teenager, Hudlin didn’t begin umpiring until after he hurt his back playing soccer in 1951. Two years later, he started umpiring Little League Baseball and in 1956, he began working senior men’s contests. Known for his good humor and sense of fairness, Hudlin evolved into one of his province’s most respected umpires and he was elected president of the Victoria District Umpires Association in 1963 and served in that post until he founded and became the first president of the B.C. Baseball Umpires Association in 1974, a position he retained for five years. Read more HERE.

COOK_MURRAY

HALL OF FAMER MURRAY COOK

Born in Sackville, N.B. in 1940, Murray Cook has spent more than half a century in professional baseball. After graduating from Ohio University with a master’s degree in history in 1962, he was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played shortstop and third base in the lower levels of their system for parts of four years, before hanging up his spikes to become the general manager of their Class-A affiliate in Gastonia in 1966.

Cook impressed in his new role and the Pirates promoted him to their big league front office in 1967. He was named the team’s assistant farm director the following year and soon rose through the ranks to become the club’s assistant director of minor league operations in 1972 and director of scouting in 1977.

Read more HERE.

Billy Harris

HALL OF FAMER BILLY HARRIS

Right-hander Billy Harris caught the eye of big league scouts when he led the Dieppe Junior Cardinals to a Maritime championship in 1949 and the Moncton Legionnaires to a senior title the following year. Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951, the Canuck hurler notched 18 wins and recorded a 2.19 ERA for the Class D Valdosta Dodgers in his inaugural professional campaign. He would top that the next season, when he won 25 games, tossed 12 shutouts and registered a miniscule 0.83 ERA for the Class B Miami Sun Sox. His success continued in 1953 when he authored a perfect game for the Double-A Mobile Bears.

Read more HERE.

Mike Soroka By: Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves

MIKE SOROKA WINS TIP O’NEILL AWARD

Mike Soroka wins Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Tip O’Neill Award

St. Marys, Ont. – Calgary native Mike Soroka has been named the winner of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2019 Tip O’Neill Award.

Canada’s baseball shrine presents this honour annually to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals.

Soroka, who finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting and sixth in the Cy Young Award voting, is a first-time winner of the award. He staved off strong competition from last year’s winner James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) to secure the honour.

“Mike Soroka put together one of the best rookie seasons by a Canadian pitcher in major league history,” said Scott Crawford, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s director of operations. “He not only had an outstanding regular season with the Atlanta Braves, but he was also dominant in his first post-season start. He’s definitely a worthy recipient of the award.”

Mike Soroka By: Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves
Photo by Kevin D. Liles for the Atlanta Braves

In his first full major league season, Soroka posted a 13-4 record and a 2.68 ERA, while striking out 142 batters in 174-2/3 innings in 29 starts for the Braves. His ERA ranked third in the National League, while his road ERA (1.35) was the best in the circuit and the fifth lowest in major leagues since 1913 (minimum 15 games started).

Among National League rookie hurlers, Soroka had the best ERA, was third in wins and fourth in games started, innings pitched and strikeouts. For his efforts, he was named to the National League All-Star team and a starting pitcher on Baseball America’s MLB All-Rookie team.

The Canuck right-hander was also masterful in his first post-season start, limiting the St. Louis Cardinals to one run on two hits, while striking out seven, in seven innings in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

Selected in the first round of the 2015 MLB draft, the PBF Redbirds and Junior National Team alum made his big league debut on May 1, 2018. In five starts for the Braves last season, he registered a 2-1 record and a 3.51 ERA.

On top of his strong on-the-field performance in 2019 , Soroka has also been active in charitable and community endeavors. He worked with a number of charities that the Braves Foundation supports, including the Dave Krache Foundation and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He also worked with CHOA’s epilepsy unit during the season to host a number of children and their parents at a game. Back in his home province, he serves as an ambassador for KidSport Calgary.

“When I had been told I would be the recipient of the 2019 Tip O’Neill Award, it really did put me back in a sense of awe,” said Soroka. “Having had the opportunity to grow up through the Canadian Baseball Program (Junior National Team), I have always felt a sense of pride when there are Canadians excelling in this game. I am always sure to mention to anyone watching other games in the clubhouse when a Canadian is at the plate or on the mound. I am beyond humbled to have the honour of sharing this award with some of the greats of not just Canadian baseball, but Major League Baseball period. This sense of pride has stemmed from others who represented Canadian baseball so well before me, and is something I hope to carry on as well.

“I am extremely thankful to have been considered for the Tip O’Neill, as it will be something I carry with great pride.”

Details about the presentation of the 2019 Tip O’Neill Award will be announced in the coming months.

The Hall’s Tip O’Neill Award is named after Woodstock, Ont., native James “Tip” O’Neill, who was one of Major League Baseball’s first legitimate stars. With the American Association’s St. Louis Browns in 1887, O’Neill set big league records in hits, doubles, slugging percentage and total bases, while compiling a major league record .492 batting average. Walks were counted as hits in 1887, but if O’Neill’s average was calculated by today’s standards, it would be .435, the second-highest in big league history to Hugh Duffy who hit .440 in 1894.

To determine the winner of the Tip O’Neill Award, the Hall takes into account a number of criteria, including each candidate’s on-the-field performance, contributions to their team, community and charitable endeavors and support in fan voting. Starting on November 15, the Hall had encouraged fans to vote for their top three candidates and they responded by casting their votes via e-mail and on the Hall’s website.

Past winners of the James “Tip” O’Neill Award:

1984 – Terry Puhl
1985 – Dave Shipanoff
1986 – Rob Ducey
1987 – Larry Walker
1988 – Kevin Reimer
1989 – Steve Wilson
1990 – Larry Walker
1991 – Daniel Brabant
1992 – Larry Walker
1993 – Rob Butler
1994 – Larry Walker
1995 – Larry Walker
1996 – Jason Dickson
1997 – Larry Walker
1998 – Larry Walker
1999 – Jeff Zimmerman
2000 – Ryan Dempster
2001 – Corey Koskie
2001 – Larry Walker
2002 – Eric Gagné
2002 – Larry Walker
2003 – Eric Gagné
2004 – Jason Bay
2005 – Jason Bay
2006 – Justin Morneau
2007 – Russell Martin
2008 – Justin Morneau
2009 – Jason Bay
2010 – Joey Votto
2011 – Joey Votto
2011 – John Axford
2012 – Joey Votto
2013 – Joey Votto
2014 – Justin Morneau
2015 – Joey Votto
2016 – Joey Votto
2017 – Joey Votto
2018 – James Paxton
2019 – Mike Soroka

Larry Walker

HALL OF FAMER LARRY WALKER

When Larry Walker signed his first professional contract in 1984, he preferred the Montreal Canadiens to the Montreal Expos, but after the longtime hockey goalie decided to focus on the diamond, he evolved into the greatest position player Canada has ever produced.
 
Signed by fellow Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer, Jim Fanning, Walker toiled for parts of four seasons in the minors, before making his big league debut on August 16, 1989. A five-tool threat, Walker blossomed into an all-star outfielder in his six seasons with the Expos. After the strike-shortened, 1994 campaign, Walker inked a multi-year deal with Colorado, where he would enjoy his greatest big league success. His MVP award-winning 1997 campaign was one of the best single seasons in history. In that storied year, Walker belted 49 homers, drove in 130 runs and hit .366, to earn his first of three batting titles. He would hit .379 with 37 home runs and 115 RBIs for an encore in 1999. After more than nine seasons with the Rockies, the five-time all-star was dealt to St. Louis in August 2004. He would play his final season with the Cardinals the following year.
Read more HERE.
Calvin Griffith

HALL OF FAMER CALVIN GRIFFITH

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.

Read more HERE.