December 08, 2022

It Breaks Your Heart. It is Designed to Break Your Heart.

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops."  

This is from one of Bart Giamatti's great baseball writings "The Green Fields of the Mind". The whole passage is talking about the abrupt end of a season (written on the final day of the 1977 season, the next verse starts "Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone").

August 05, 2022

Jack Morris revisited


The following is an updated version of an article I first wrote in 2013 and was published on an earlier version of the “Hall of Very Good” site.

Jack Morris is widely considered to be the greatest pitcher of the 1980s, and no one will ever forget his Game 7 complete game in theWorld Series. He was very durable and consistent. Yet, he was on the Hall of Fame ballot for 15 years (2000 – 2014) without getting elected, and it took a Veteran’s Committee (VC) vote in 2018 to get him inducted.  Why is that?

July 01, 2022

Happy Canada Day, Red Sox Fans

The Boston Red Sox have had a long history of Canadian born players who have had an impact on the franchise.  This year's edition (as has been the case more often than not since 1990), no MLB team has more Canucks on their roster than this Amercian League team that plays home games in Boston. Here is a brief look at the Canadians who were fortunate to play home games at Fenway Park:

Prior to the 1920s, the following mainly forgettable names suited up for the Red Sox:

February 01, 2021

Thank you, Mr. Pedroia

With Dustin Pedroia announcing his retirement, it was time I re-shared the story of when I first met him. It was originally posted on a long-since defunct website that I maintained to convince sportswriters why they should vote for Jim Rice to get inducted into Cooperstown.  But that website was taken down about 10 years ago, so it this is a perfect time to retell this, as many of my readers will be seeing it for the first time. 

This story starts sometime in the winter of 2004, when while still basking in the afterglow of a RED SOX WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP, our family decided that we would go to Disneyland for 2005 spring break. The plan was to leave Saturday morning, spend two days driving there (about a 2 500 km/1,500 mile trip from Calgary), get a five day multi park pass, and spend the next weekend driving back home. Coincidentally (honestly – we had decided on the trip before I found this out), the Red Sox were going to play their last two spring training games in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks at their home stadium on the Thursday and Friday of the week we were planning on being in LA.

June 30, 2020

Canadians in the MLB

I saw this tweet, and it occurred to me how rare it was to see Canadians in the MLB in the 1980s
So, I decided to take a look.  I started in 1979, and these were the Canadian born players who were in the MLB:

Fergie Jenkins - Hall of famer who retired in 1983, after a long career mainly with the Cubs and Rangers (and a pit stop in Boston)
Reggie Cleveland - retired in 1981 - also one of the best Canadians to ever play for the Red Sox
Bill Atkinson - pitched his last 10 games for the Expos in 1979
Dave McKay - was with the Blue Jays, and played until retiting in Oakland in1982
Terry Puhl - 1978 all star, who played with the Astros until 1990, before retiring in KC in 1991
John Hiller - two time all star who played in Detroit his whole career, before retiring in 1980

Along with the aforementioned Gordie Pladson, that's a total of seven.  That's the most there would be until the 1990s.

In 1980, Paul Hodgson had a handful of at-bats for the Blue Jays, and with Atkinson having retired, that kept the total at seven.