COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 24: Matthew and Hannah Hinojosa, both from Toronto, Canada, hold up a modified Canadian flag in honor of inductee Roberto Alomar at Clark Sports Center prior to the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 24, 2011 in Cooperstown, New York. In 17 major league seasons, Alomar tallied 2,724 hits, 210 home runs, 1,134 RBI, a .984 fielding percentage and a .300 batting average. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Since it is Canada Day, I figured we should take a look back at the Canadians born players that have played for the Jays. There have been 16 Canadian born Blue Jays. We've never had a Canadian born catcher. Maybe we should claim Ernie Whitt. He's managed our national teams for long enough. Let's consider him Canadian.
Anyway the 16 are:
Dave McKay: Switch-hitter from Vancouver, BC. McKay played in our first ever game, at third base, he went 2 for 4 with an RBI in our first win against the White Sox. He played the first month and a half as our everyday 3B, then moved around the rest of the infield that year. in 1978 he was our regular second baseman and he started 1979 at the same spot, but the team tired of his .203 average in the middle of May. He was recalled in September. After the season the Jays released Dave and he signed with the A's as a free agent. With the Jays, in his 3 seasons, he hit .223/.252/.314 in 287 games.
Paul Hodgson: The second Canadian Jay was born in Montreal, Quebec. He was an outfield that played 20 games for us in 1980. In 41 at bats he had 9 hits, 1 triple, 1 home run, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts and 5 RBI. That was his major league career.
Rob Ducey: Left-handed batter from Toronto, ON. Rob played a few games, for the Jays, in 7 seasons, but never had more then 80 at bats in any one of them. He was he was a pretty decent defensive outfielder, but we had George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield playing for us. He wasn't going to push any of them off a spot. He was with the team from 1987 to 1992 and then he was traded to the Angels with Greg Myers for Mark Eichhorn. He bounced around to a few different teams and then we traded to get him from, and 12 days later trade him back to, the Phillies. For the Jays, he hit .231/.307/.321 in 188 games, with 2 home runs, 31 RBI and 8 steals. After his playing career the Jays employed him as a scout.
Vince Horsman: A left-handed pitcher, from Halifax, Nova Scotia , who came up through out minor league system, and got into 4 games as a reliever in 1991. 4 innings, 2 hits, 3 walks, 2 k. The A's took him from us, off waivers before the 1992 season. He was a pretty useful LOOGY reliever for them for the next 3 years.
Denis Boucher: Another Montreal born player. He made 7 starts for us, in his rookie year of 1991, going 0-3 with a 4.48 ERA, then we traded him, Glenallen Hill and Mark Whiten to the Indians for Tom Candiotti and Turner Ward. Over 4 seasons he pitched in 35 games, including 15 for his home town Expos.
Rob Butler: Born in East York, Ontario. A left-handed hitting outfielder. Rob got into 17 games with our World Series winning 1993 teams and 41 games the next year. After the season, we sent him off to the Phillies. We signed him again in 1999 gave him all of 7 at bats. As a Jay he hit .209/.297/.256 win 129 at bats.
Paul Spoljaric: A lefty reliever from Kelowna, B.C. Paul got into a couple of games in 1994, then 28 games in 1996. In 1997 he was doing a pretty good job for us, a 3.69 ERA in 37 games, when the Mariners decided they needed a couple middle relievers for their playoff run. We traded Paul and Mike Timlin to them for Jose Cruz, Jr. A pretty good deal. Then, in May of 1999, we got him back for Robert Person to the Phillies. Person is the pitcher we got for John Olerud a couple of years before. Gord Ash was such a great GM. After the 1999 season we sent him off again, with Pat Hentgen, to the Cardinals for Alberto Castillo, Matt DeWitt and Lance Painter. As a Jay, Paul had a 4.31 ERA, in 104 games, 3 starts, 4-8 with 4 saves.
Paul Quantrill: A right-handed reliever from London, On. In December of 1995, we traded Howard Battle and Ricardo Jordan to the Red Sox to get him. We had him for 6 seasons, he had a 3.67 ERA in 386 games 20 starts, he was 30-34 with 15 saves. Paul was rubber armed, he had seasons of 77, 82, 68 and 80 games with us. He made the All-Star game in 2001, a pretty rare thing for a middle reliever. Paul was one of the best reliever we ever had. We trade him to the Dodgers, in 2001, with Cesar Izturis for Chad Ricketts and Luke Prokopec, not one of out better trades.
Steve Sinclair: A left-handed pitcher from Victoria, B.C, we drafted him in the 28th round of the 1991 draft. He was called up at the end of April 1998, and got into 4 games, before going back down, and then again in early August, staying for the rest of the season. He got into a couple of games, at the start of the 1999 season, and then was traded to Seattle with Tom Davey for David Segui. He pitched in 18 games for them and that was the end of his major league career. As a Jay, he had a 6.10 ERA, in 27 games, 0-2 record.
Steven Pond: Steven was a lefty hitting outfielder, from North Vancouver. He played in 16 games, mostly as DH, for us in 2004, .163/.250/.265, 1 home run, 6 RBI. He has played for a number of teams' minor league systems since but hasn't made made it back to the majors.
Corey Koskie: A left-handed hitter from Anola, Manitoba. We signed him as a free agent before the 2005 season. It didn't go well, he had an injury plagued 2005. Corey hit .249/.337/.398 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI. We traded him to the Brewers after the season for Brian Wolfe. He played 76 games for them before a collision that caused a concussion and has ended his career.
Matt Stairs: A left-handed hitter from St. John, New Brunswick. Matt had a really good long career, that started in Montreal in 1992 and had visits in a bunch of other MLB cities before making his way to Toronto in 2007. He was terrific in 2007, hitting .289/.368/.549 in 125 games, with 21 homers and 64 RBI. Unfortunately, his 2008 season was near as good, he was hitting .250/.342/.394, when we traded him off to the Phillies. He helped them to a World Series win, so it all worked out for him. Matt's has been a favorite of mine for years. I remember seeing him, in Toronto, years ago, playing for Oakland. He was in RF, right near where we were sitting, and he warmed up with one of the ball boys. Matt took some time getting the ball boy to throw right over top, instead of the 3/4 arm he had been. Telling him that his aim would be better. I was really impressed he would take that time, until I realized that he was likely just tired of chasing after the kid's throws.
Scott Richmond: From Vancouver, Scott made 5 starts for us in 2008 and then was a great for us at the start of the 2009 season. In April of 2009, he went 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA and was named AL Rookie Pitcher of the Month. His season went down hill from there and he missed some time with an injury. Scott made 1 relief appearance, last year, getting 1 out. And he is back in our bullpen now. So far he is 9-14 with a 5.29 ERA in 35 games, 29 of them starts.
Shawn Hill: From Mississauga, ON, Shawn made 4 starts for us last year, and wasn't bad. 1-2, 2.61 ERA in 20.2 innings. He's in Vegas now. The way this season is going, I'd imagine we'll see him at some point.
Adam Loewen: From Surrey, BC, Adam was in our system for 3 years, trying to make it back to the majors as an outfielder after making the Orioles as a pitcher, but running into injury troubles. Last season, Adam was a September call up, and hit .188/.297/.313 with 1 home run and 4 RBI in 32 at bats. I thought he'd be ok as a 4th outfielder, but since all his options were used up, back when he was a pitcher, it limited his usefulness He signed with the Mets, as a free agent, in the off-season. I see he has only had a few at bats in the Mets' minor league system, he's been hurt, but played again yesterday, so he must be off the DL.
Brett Lawrie: From Langley, BC, just some guy we traded a really good pitcher to get. Don't know what happened to him. I've heard, from a very wise baseball commentator, that this was a bad trade.