Francis, Morneau, Ward and Martinez to be honoured by Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on induction day

Francis, Morneau, Ward and Martinez to be honoured by Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on induction day

2020 inductees John Olerud and Jacques Doucet to be honoured in 2023

St. Marys, Ont. – The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame will induct Jeff Francis, Justin Morneau, Duane Ward and Pedro Martinez in an in-person ceremony at the Hall of Fame grounds in St. Marys, Ont., on June 18.

The inductees come from three different classes: Martinez (2018), Morneau and Ward (2020) and Francis (2022).

Longtime National Post baseball writer John Lott will also be presented with the 2021 Jack Graney Award. The Hall presents this award annually to a member of the media who has made significant contributions to baseball in Canada through their life’s work.

“We’re very excited to hold our first in-person induction ceremony since 2019,” said Jeremy Diamond, chair of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors. “We’re looking forward to celebrating the careers of four outstanding former players and a highly respected writer who have made tremendous contributions to baseball in this country on and off the field.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has prohibited the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame from holding an in-person induction ceremony for the past two years.

The Hall’s 2021 class was comprised of 17 historical inductees. The group consisted of trailblazing players, executives, an umpire and an international championship winning team that were selected by a six-person Committee of Canadian baseball historians from across the country. The 2021 inductees were honoured posthumously in a virtual ceremony in November.

The induction ceremony will be part of a series of activities that will also include a meet-and-greet with the inductees and other special guests called “The Opening Pitch” in Toronto (June 16) and the Hall’s 24th annual celebrity golf tournament and banquet (June 17). A complete agenda for the three days of activities accompanies this release.

Martinez had been previously unavailable to come to St. Marys. He will be in attendance for Saturday’s induction ceremony, but will not be available for the public autograph session.

It should also be noted that 2020 inductees John Olerud and Jacques Doucet are unable to attend this year’s ceremony and will be honoured in person in 2023.

Agenda of 2022 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Events

*All times in Eastern Standard Time (E.T.)

Thursday, June 16

Event: The Opening Pitch at Left Field Brewery in Toronto, which will feature a meet and greet with inductees Justin Morneau, Duane Ward and Jeff Francis, plus other Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductees and media personalities. Food will be provided by Sportsnet Grill.

Location: 36 Wagstaff Drive, Toronto, Ont.

Time: 6:00 to 10:00 pm

Cost: Tickets are $100. For more information visit baseballhalloffame.ca

Friday, June 17

Event: 24th Annual Celebrity Golf Classic and Banquet

Time: Registration at 9 a.m., Tee-off at 10 a.m., Dinner/banquet starts at 4:30 p.m., Program and awards will immediately follow the dinner.

Location: St. Marys Golf and Country Club, 769 Queen Street East, St. Marys, Ont. Banquet will be held on Hall of Fame grounds, 386 Church Street South.

Cost: Golf tournament is sold out, but you can still purchase tickets to the banquet only for $85 each until end of the day on Wednesday. Doors open for the banquet at 4:30 p.m. To purchase tickets to the banquet, please call (519) 284-1838 or e-mail us at baseball@baseballhalloffame.ca

Celebrities for this event will include: Fergie Jenkins, Jeff Francis, Justin Morneau, Duane Ward, Lloyd Moseby, Ernie Whitt, Allan Simpson, Steve Rogers, Richard Griffin, Mark Bell, Larry Landreth, Billy Atkinson, Jamie Romak, Merlin Malinowski, Dalton Pompey, Brock Kjeldgaard, Dave Van Horne, Pete Orr, Bill Humber

Saturday, June 18

Induction tent

Event: Induction Ceremony for Pedro Martinez, Justin Morneau, Duane Ward and Jeff Francis. It will be emceed by Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae.

Induction Day Schedule:

9 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Baseball games will be played on the Hall’s diamonds. (See schedule of specific teams below)
9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. – Inductee press conference inside the museum (386 Church St. S.) (media only)
11:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Museum open to public for regular admission fees.
1:00 pm to 3:00 p.m. – Induction Ceremony for inductees on the Hall of Fame grounds (386 Church St. S.)
3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.Autograph session* (Please read rules below) with Justin Morneau, Duane Ward, Jeff Francis, Fergie Jenkins, Steve Rogers, Lloyd Moseby, Ernie Whitt, Pat Gillick, Dave Van Horne, Bill Humber, Allan Simpson, Howard Starkman, Gord Ash, Jason Dickson, Billy Atkinson and other special guests.
*Please note Pedro Martinez will not be signing autographs after the ceremony.

Cost for Autograph Session*(Please read rules below): Members should bring their membership card. Members $15 each to enter, non-members $25 each to enter the autograph session.

*Hall of Fame 2022 members will enter the autograph line first.
*Autograph session is 90 minutes long.
*Autographs are limited to one item per person per inductee/special guest.
*Autographs will be signed on a first-come first-serve basis.
*Hall of Fame staff reserve the right to cut the autograph line at any time.
*Autographs are not guaranteed.
*NO posed photos.

Induction Day Games Schedule – June 18

Cement Field – Ontario Nationals
Rotary Field – Great Lake Canadians and Ontario Nationals
King Field – St. Marys 13U games

The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is located in St. Marys, Ontario. The Hall of Fame and Museum commemorates great players, teams, and accomplishments of baseball in Canada. The Museum was founded in November 1982 in Toronto at Exhibition Place and later moved to Ontario Place theme park. In August 1994, it was awarded to St. Marys, Ontario and in June 1998 the doors officially opened in St. Marys.  The Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to preserving Canada’s baseball heritage which dates back to the late 1700’s. The CBHFM annually hosts 700+ kids’ events on site and have developed to include baseball fields, museum space and trails.

Inductee Bios

Pedro Martinez

hall-of-famer-pedro-martinez

Born in Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic, in 1971, Pedro Martinez was signed as an amateur free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988. He was used primarily as a reliever for parts of two seasons with the Dodgers before he was dealt to the Montreal Expos for Delino DeShields on November 19, 1993.

It was in Montreal that his major league career would truly take off. A key member of the Expos’ rotation in 1994, when the team owned a six-game lead atop the National League East division in August before a strike wiped out the rest of the season, Martinez would evolve into the club’s ace. After registering 14 wins and a 3.51 ERA in 30 starts in 1995, he was selected to his first All-Star Game in 1996 when he recorded 13 victories and struck out 222 batters in 216-2/3 innings.

But it was his 1997 season that was one for the ages. In the midst of the steroid era, when offensive numbers were exploding, Martinez posted a 17-8 record and led the league with a 1.90 ERA. He also topped NL pitchers in complete games (13) and WAR (9.0) and his 305 strikeouts set a single-season franchise record. As a result, he became the first and only Expos pitcher to win the National League Cy Young Award.

“When I got the call from Scott Crawford of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum telling me that I was a member of the 2018 induction class, I felt honoured, humbled and a bit surprised. I never expected, when I was playing the game, to be here today. I took each day like it was a dream. I was so proud to play baseball every day and was fortunate as a player to be welcomed with open arms in both Canada and the United States. These countries provided me the opportunity to play the game I love so much,” said Martinez.

“Although I only played four seasons with the Expos, the fans always went out of their way to show how much they cared, appreciated and loved me. There is a huge amount of love and respect between me and the Expos’ fans. I want to thank the people who voted for me. Thank you to all the members of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I would not be here today without my teammates and my family. It is truly an honour to be the fifth Dominican born baseball player to be inducted, along with Vladimir Guerrero, Felipe Alou, Tony Fernandez and George Bell.”

Read more about Pedro HERE.

Justin Morneau

Born in New Westminster, B.C., in 1981, Justin Morneau honed his skills with the North Delta Blue Jays of the B.C. Premier Baseball League and the Canadian Junior National Team before being selected by the Minnesota Twins in the third round of the 1999 MLB draft.

The left-handed hitting Canuck began his minor league career as a catcher but was converted into a first baseman in 2000 in Rookie ball. Over parts of five minor league campaigns, he developed into a top prospect, earning invitations to two MLB Futures Games (2002, 2004) before he was called up to make his major league debut with the Twins on June 10, 2003.

Morneau would spend the next decade with the Twins and evolve into one of the American League’s most feared sluggers. Between 2003 and 2013, he was a four-time all-star (2007 to 2010), won two Silver Slugger awards (2006, 2008), had four 100-RBI seasons – including tying Larry Walker’s single-season Canadian record with 130 RBIs in 2006 – and in that same season, he became the first – and still only – Canadian to be named American League MVP. In 2008, he also became the first – and still only – Canadian to win the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game. For his efforts, Morneau was named the Twins’ team MVP twice (2006, 2008).

Throughout his career, Morneau also consistently answered the call for the Canadian national team. After suiting up for the Junior National Team in 1999, he competed for the senior squad at the IBAF Baseball World Cup in 2001, at an Olympic Qualifier in 2003 and in all four World Baseball Classics. His name was added to Baseball Canada’s Wall of Excellence in 2010.

In all, Morneau played in parts of 14 big league seasons and he ranks in the top five among Canadian major leaguers in many all-time offensive statistical categories, including third in RBIs (985), hits (1,603), doubles (349) and total bases (2,739) and fourth in home runs (247). Over the course of his career, Morneau was also named the winner of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Tip O’Neill Award, as top Canadian player, three times (2006, 2008, 2014).

In recent years, Morneau has served as a part-time analyst on Twins’ TV broadcasts and as an analyst on the Sportsnet Central panel for the network’s World Series coverage.

“When I heard the news that I would be enshrined in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame I was honoured,” said Morneau. “When I learned of fellow inductees, John Olerud, Duane Ward and Jacques Doucet, I was at a loss for words. To think that I would be joining these distinguished members that had such a lasting impact on baseball in Canada is truly humbling. I am looking forward to being in St. Marys to celebrate with my fellow inductees in person. Thank you to the voters and the Hall for this incredible honour, and all that the Hall does for the game of baseball in Canada.” 

Read more about Justin HERE.

Duane Ward

Selected in the first round (ninth overall) of the 1982 MLB draft by the Atlanta Braves, Duane Ward was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays for Doyle Alexander on July 6, 1986. From 1988 to 1992, the hard-throwing right-hander established himself as one of the best shutdown set-up men in the game, combining with closer and 2011 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Tom Henke to form the most overpowering and beloved bullpen tandem in franchise history.

After Henke departed via free agency following the 1992 season, Ward assumed the closer’s role and excelled, topping the American League with 45 saves and 70 games finished in 1993, while allowing just 49 hits and striking out 97 batters in 71-2/3 innings. For his efforts, he was selected to the American League All-Star team and finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting. His 45 saves and 70 games finished remain single-season franchise records. His performance helped propel the Blue Jays to their second consecutive World Series title.

In 1992 and 1993, Ward was at his best in the Fall Classic. In a combined eight World Series appearances, he posted a 3-0 record with a 1.13 ERA while striking out 13 batters in eight innings, and also registering two saves.

In total, in nine seasons with the Blue Jays, Ward appeared in 452 games, the second-most by a pitcher in franchise history. He is also second in saves (121) and games finished (266).

“When I was informed about my induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, the only thing I felt at the time was completely overwhelmed, a flood of feelings and emotions came after a few minutes of reflection and thought,” said Ward. “I can’t state enough how deeply honoured I am to be a part of the 2020 class of inductees to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. 

“I want to thank all of my teammates, coaches, and everyone who helped me through the years. And to my family and friends who supported me unconditionally, saying thank you will never be enough. To my fellow inductees, ‘Congratulations.’” 

Read more about Duane HERE.

Jeff Francis

Born in Vancouver in 1981, Jeff Francis grew up in North Delta, B.C. He honed his skills with the North Delta Blue Jays of the B.C. Premier Baseball League before starring on the mound for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds from 1999 to 2002, where he was twice selected a NAIA First Team All-American.

After the 2001 collegiate season, the 6-foot-5 lefty went 7-1 in the highly competitive Alaskan Baseball League and captured the circuit’s Player of the Year honours. His performance convinced the Colorado Rockies to select him in the first round (ninth overall) in the 2002 MLB draft.

In 2005, his first full MLB campaign, Francis won 14 games and struck out 128 batters in 183 2/3 innings in 33 starts and finished sixth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. Two seasons later, he posted career-highs in wins (17), starts (34), innings pitched (215-1/3) and strikeouts (165) to help propel the Rockies to the National League pennant. He made three postseason starts and became the first Canadian pitcher to start Game 1 of a World Series. For his efforts, he finished ninth in the National League Cy Young Award voting.

In all, in an 11-season career that saw him toe the rubber for the Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland A’s, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, Francis finished with 72 major league wins, which is the second-most by a Canuck left-hander. He also ranks second all-time among Canadian southpaws in games started (217) and innings pitched (1,291).

Francis has also competed for the Canadian national team on multiple occasions, including with the Junior National Team in 1999, the World Baseball Classic squad in 2006 and on the gold medal-winning team at the 2015 Pan Am Games. In 2016, he became the eighth person added to Baseball Canada’s Wall of Excellence.

“I was so excited to get the news from the Hall of Fame of my induction,” said Francis. “When I see the list of people and players that I will be joining on the walls in St. Marys, I’m honoured and humbled to be considered to be on that level. This is not something that is ever in an athlete’s mind during his or her playing days, but in the time since my last days of playing, I’ve become proud of what I accomplished in baseball. I consider this not just a recognition of my achievements in the game, but of the coaching, mentorship, and support I’ve received from so many other people.”

Read more about Jeff HERE.

2021 Jack Graney Award winner

John Lott

Lott caught the Journalism bug when he was named co-sports editor of his high school newspaper. After he graduated from Penn State University, he moved to Ontario and began his professional Journalism career in 1969 when he served as a general reporter for the Newmarket Era, a community newspaper, until 1975. He then moved on to a position as the editor of the Aurora Banner newspaper from 1975 to 1980.

In 1980, he was appointed Journalism coordinator at Centennial College in Toronto and he taught there for more than 20 years. But his passion for baseball never waned. In 1998, he launched the TruNorth Baseball website, which focused on Canadian players and Blue Jays prospects whom he interviewed during his summer travels to minor league venues in Canada and the U.S. The site was in operation for three years.

His work on TruNorth Baseball helped him land a freelance position, covering the Toronto Blue Jays, for the National Post in 2000. In 2004, he took early retirement from teaching to focus on his new career as a baseball writer with the National Post. He would excel in that position for 16 years, while also finding time to co-author, along with Shi Davidi, the 2013 book, Great Expectations: The Lost Toronto Blue Jays season.

Beginning in October 2016, Lott was the senior baseball writer for The Athletic Toronto. While in that role, he was named the winner of the 2018 Sports Media Canada George Gross Award for outstanding sportswriting.

“When Scott Crawford called to tell me I’d been chosen to receive the Jack Graney Award, I was floored,” said Lott. “The previous week I’d watched the virtual induction speeches of the two previous winners, Ken Fidlin and Dan Shulman, and marveled at their long and distinguished careers. My reaction to Scott’s news was that I don’t belong in the same league as those guys, whom I know and respect. I still feel that way, but I’m also deeply grateful that the selection committee felt I was deserving enough to be included in the elite group of previous winners. This is a wonderful coda to a career in baseball that brought me great pleasure, good friends and the luxury of never having to buy a ticket to a ball game.”

Read more about John HERE.

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