Paul Godfrey
Election Date: February 6, 2024
Induction Date: June 15, 2024
Birth Date / Place: January 12, 1939 in Toronto, Ontario
Primary Position: Executive
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Years: 1977-2009
Teams: Toronto Blue Jays

Paul Godfrey

“I was very surprised and thrilled with the news of being inducted in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. It even brought tears of happiness to my eyes. Being inducted into this wonderful institution is one of the great honours of my life. I love baseball and joining this Hall of Fame is a thrill beyond belief.”

Born in Toronto in 1939, Paul Godfrey played a crucial role in bringing Major League Baseball to Toronto. As a young North York alderman in 1968, he watched Montreal land a big league franchise and wanted the same for his home city. 

So, in 1969, the ambitious 30-year-old politician paid his own way to Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings at the Americana Hotel in Bal Harbor, Fla. He waited for commissioner Bowie Kuhn at the bottom of a set of stairs in the hotel and boldly approached the commissioner telling him he wanted to secure a big league team for Toronto. Kuhn told Godfrey that he would have to have a baseball stadium in Toronto before they would even consider it. 

Armed with that feedback, Godfrey returned to Toronto with his sights set on creating a stadium. In 1973, Godfrey was elected chairman of Metropolitan Toronto, and on his first day in his new position, he promised he would land a big league team for the city and see that a dome stadium was built.  

In the short term, however, he needed a budget-friendly alternative, so he came up with the idea to retrofit Exhibition Stadium into a dual baseball/football stadium. In November 1973, he convinced Ontario premier Bill Davis to chip in half the estimated $15-million cost to renovate the stadium. The resulting retrofit of Exhibition Stadium, as well Godfrey’s strong negotiation skills, helped lay the groundwork for the ownership group of Labatt Breweries, CIBC and Howard Webster to secure a major league team in 1976. 

After 11 years as the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto, Godfrey became the publisher and CEO of the Toronto Sun in 1984. In that same year, he was appointed to the Crown Corporation that was in charge of the design, construction and selecting a location for a domed stadium in Toronto, a project that would become known as SkyDome that would open in 1989. 

Godfrey continued as a top executive with the Toronto Sun Publishing Corporation until 2000 before being hired as president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays. Godfrey remained with the Blue Jays though the 2008 season. 

Since leaving the Blue Jays, Godfrey has served in several prominent executive positions, including as chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and president and CEO of Postmedia Network. 

For his leadership efforts, Godfrey received the Civic Award of Merit from his home city in 1990. He was also named a member of the Order of Canada in 1999 and to the Order of Ontario in 2010. 


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