Romano to be presented with Tip O’Neill Award prior to Blue Jays’ home opener

Romano to be presented with Tip O’Neill Award prior to Blue Jays’ home opener

St. Marys, Ont. – Toronto Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) will be presented with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2022 Tip O’Neill Award in a pre-game ceremony at the Blue Jays’ home opener against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre tonight.

“Jordan Romano had one of the best major league seasons ever by a Canadian relief pitcher in 2022, and the fact that he enjoyed it with the Blue Jays, his hometown team, made it even more special,” said Jeremy Diamond, chair of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors. “Several Canadians had outstanding major league seasons, but Jordan’s performance really stood out. We’re proud to recognize him with this award.”

Romano is a first-time winner of the award, which is presented annually to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals.

In 63 games in 2022, the hard-throwing Romano recorded a 2.11 ERA, which is the eighth best ERA ever by a Canadian reliever that has thrown at least 50 innings in a season.

The Markham, Ont., native also registered 36 saves, which was the third most in the American League, and he also became the first Canadian to register 30 saves in a season for a Canadian major league team. Eric Gagne (Mascouche, Que.), John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) and John Hiller (Toronto, Ont.) are the only three Canadians to have registered more saves in a single major league season.

Despite being used exclusively as a late-inning reliever, Romano topped all Canadian major league pitchers in 2022 with a 2.9 WAR (Wins Above Replacement). He also held opponents to a .190 batting average.

Romano was at his best in the second half for the Blue Jays, posting a 1.50 ERA with 16 saves, while striking out 34 batters in 30 innings, in 28 appearances.

The Canadian righty also finished first among American League pitchers in Win Probability Added (3.7) and third in games finished (52). For his efforts, he was named American League Reliever of the Month in April and July and was a first-time All-Star.

The 2022 campaign was Romano’s fourth with the Blue Jays. After honing his skills with Ontario Blue Jays and Junior National Team, Romano was selected in the 10th round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Blue Jays. He made his major league debut on June 12, 2019 at the age of 26.

“This is really special to win this award,” said Romano. “I’ve followed the award over the years and I have a lot of respect for the previous winners. It will be great to have my name on the trophy alongside their names. Thank you to everyone who voted for me.”

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 their support in fan voting. The Hall also has a Tip O’Neill Award committee, consisting of a panel of Canadian baseball experts, who vote on the honour.

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
2020 – Jamie Romak
2021 – Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
2022 – Jordan Romano