Jeff Francis elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Jeff Francis elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Former Colorado Rockies ace to be inducted along with 2020 inductees Justin Morneau, John Olerud, Duane Ward and Jacques Doucet in June

Vancouver-born, left-hander, Jeff Francis has been elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and will be inducted in a ceremony at the Hall of Fame grounds in St. Marys, Ont., on June 18.

Francis will be honoured along with the Hall’s 2020 induction class, which consists of; Canadian slugger Justin Morneau, former Toronto Blue Jays first baseman John Olerud , Toronto Blue Jays set-up man and closer Duane Ward and longtime Montreal Expos broadcaster Jacques Doucet.

“Jeff Francis is one of the greatest left-handed pitchers to come from Canada,” said Jeremy Diamond, the chair of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors. “He was the ace of the Colorado Rockies on their National League pennant-winning team in 2007 and is considered one of the best pitchers in Rockies’ history. He has also answered the call to play for his country whenever he has been available and is a wonderful ambassador for baseball in our country.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has prohibited the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame from having an in-person induction ceremony since 2019.

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.

Class of 2022

Jeff Francis

“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.”

Born in Vancouver in 1981, Jeff Francis grew up in North Delta, B.C. Jeff was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the first round (ninth overall) in the 2002 MLB draft.

In 2007 he posted career-highs in wins, starts, innings pitched and strikeouts 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.

Over an 11-season career Francis toed the rubber for the Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland A’s, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, finishing with 72 major league wins, which is the second-most by a Canuck left-hander. Among all Canadian major league pitchers (left-handers and right-handers), he ranks fifth in starts, seventh in wins and eighth in strikeouts and innings pitched.

Francis has also competed for the Canadian national team on multiple occasions, including the gold medal-winning team at the 2015 Pan Am Games. 

See Jeff’s full Bio HERE

Class of 2020

Justin Morneau

“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 this summer 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.”

Born in New Westminster, B.C., in 1981, Justin was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the third round of the 1999 MLB draft.

Justin made 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. Morneau was a four-time all-star, winner if of two Silver Slugger awards and became the first – and still only – Canadian to be named American League MVP.  In 2014 Morneau signed with the Colorado Rockies winning the National League batting title. 

Throughout his career, Morneau suited up for the Canadian national team including the IBAF Baseball World Cup in 2001 and all four World Baseball Classics.

In all, Morneau played in 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, hits, doubles and total bases and fourth in home runs. 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 in 2006, 2008, 2014.

See Justin’s full Bio HERE

John Olerud

When I heard that I was going to be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, I was very surprised. It was so unexpected,” said Olerud. “I am very honoured to be selected.”

After being selected in the third round of the 1989 MLB draft John signed with the Blue Jays and went directly to the big leagues. Olerud made his major league debut on September 3, 1989 and singled in his first big league at bat. With that, he became just the second Blue Jays’ draft pick to make their organizational debut at the big league level.

From 1991 to 1993, he was a key part of three consecutive division-winning squads and two World Series championship teams. In 1993, he flirted with .400 for much of the season and is still the only Blue Jays’ player to win an American League batting title.

In all, Olerud suited up over eight seasons with the Blue Jays and he ranks first all-time in franchise history in OBP, fourth in walks and sixth in batting average. His .363 batting average, .473 OBP and 33 intentional walks in 1993 remain Blue Jays’ single-season records.

In all, in his 17-year big league career, the two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner finished with a .295 batting average, a .398 OBP (which ranks 70th in major league history) and 2,239 hits.  Olerud finished his career with the New York Mets,  his hometown Seattle Mariners for parts of five campaigns, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

For many, the soft-spoken first baseman was an inspiration. Prior to his junior college season, he suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm. He worked diligently to get back on the field and recovered to enjoy a successful collegiate and pro career. His performance and perseverance earned him Major League Baseball’s Hutch Award in 1993. This honour is handed out annually to a player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of Fred Hutchinson.

See John’s full Bio HERE.

Duane Ward

“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.’”

Selected in the first round (ninth overall) of the 1982 MLB draft by the Atlanta Braves, Duane Ward was dealt to the Blue Jays in 1986. From 1988 to 1992, the hard-throwing right-hander established himself as one of the best shutdown set-up men in the game and part of the most overpowering and beloved bullpen tandems in Blue Jay’s history.

 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 and games finished.

In 1991, the workhorse righty topped American League pitchers with 81 appearances and struck out a career-best 132 batters, following that up by registering a career-best 1.95 ERA in 79 appearances .  In 1993 Ward assumed the closer’s role and excelled, topping the American League with 45 saves and 70 games finished and was selected to the American League All-Star team. 

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.

Since his retirement as a player, Ward has been an active member of the club’s alumni in many charitable efforts. In recent years, he has been one of the lead instructors at baseball clinics for the Toronto Blue Jays Academy and the Jays Care Foundation.

See Duane’s full Bio HERE.

Jacques Doucet

“I am deeply honoured to be admitted into the Canadian Baseball Hall Fame,” said Doucet. “Although I had won the Jack Graney Award in 2004, I could not, in all honesty, say that I was a full-fledged member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. This, along with the Medal of Honor of the National Assembly of the Province of Quebec, are the two highest honours I have received. I want to thank all the partners who I had the privilege to work with during all the years and who made this possible. I want to thank the members of the selection committee of the Hall of Fame for making this day possible.”

Born in Montreal in 1940, Jacques Doucet has been calling major league baseball games for more than four decades and many Quebec baseball fans credit him as the reason they fell in love with the sport

Doucet served as a Montreal Expos beat reporter for La Presse from the time the franchise was awarded to the city in 1968 to 1971. He began performing play-by-play for the Expos’ French language radio broadcasts in 1972 and continued for 33 seasons. Along the way, he called virtually every meaningful game in the franchise’s history, including 2016 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Dennis Martinez’s perfect game on July 28, 1991. For many years, Doucet also broadcast major league playoff and World Series games in French.

In total, Doucet has called more than 5,500 big league games during his storied career. In 2004 Jacques won the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Jack Graney Award and has been a finalist for the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2020 Ford C. Frick Award.

Doucet has also been a strong supporter of baseball at the grassroots level in Quebec. As an ambassador for Baseball Quebec, he has been an active supporter of many fundraising activities for minor baseball teams in the province. He also served as an executive with the Quebec Junior Elite Baseball League from 2004 to 2010 and was involved in the Quebec Summer Games held in Longueuil in 2014.

See Jacques’s full Bio HERE.

2 Responses

  1. I sincerely hope the following gentlemen are given serious consideration for their induction to your prestigious organization:

    Ex-Major Leaguers Mike Kilkenny, Bill Atkinson, Joe Siddall, Pete Craig, Stubby Clapp, and Larry Landreth. Dave Cooper and Tom Nelson are deserving candidates for their contribution and accomplishments on the national and international stage.

  2. I hope the following Ex-Major Leaguers are given serious consideration for their induction to your prestigious organization: Mike Kilkenny, Bill Atkinson, Joe Siddall, Pete Craig, Stubby Clapp, and Larry Landreth.

    I also think Dave Cooper and Tom Nelson are worthwhile candidates for their playing contributions on the national and international stage.