After a one-year partnership with Jack Morris, long-time Blue Jays radio play-by-play man Jerry Howarth will be partnered with former catcher Joe Siddall in 2014. Siddall, a 46-year-old from Windsor, Ontario, made his broadcasting debut just last Wednesday during the Blue Jays' first spring training game. Although Howarth mentioned several times during the Wednesday broadcast that Siddall was going to be joining him for the entire season, the decision was not made official until today.
It was previously reported by the Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott that Siddall was just the frontrunner for the analyst job, and would be auditioning in the spring with others joining the booth in the second half of March. Sportsnet Radio 590 the FAN approached Jeff Nelson, C.J. Nitkowski, and Matt Stairs as well, Elliott reported, but they did not want to commit to a full 162-game season.
Having only caught parts of two games on the radio so far in the spring, it is hard for me to form a definitive opinion of Siddall as a radio analyst, but I have enjoyed it so far. Siddall, being a former catcher, has given some good situational analysis,but does occasionally does slide into cliches. However, as Jerry Howarth said at the end of the Saturday broadcast, Siddall has been doing great for a broadcasting rookie.
Joseph Todd Siddall was signed by the Montreal Expos as an amateur free agent in 1987 and made his professional debut the next year in their short-season A affiliate in the New York-Penn League. He was promoted a level each season until reaching double-A in 1991 where he stayed for two seasons. He was promoted to triple-A Ottawa in 1993 and made his major league debut for Montreal on July 28, 1993 at age 25. On September 6 of that season, Siddall was tapped to catch Denis Boucher at Stade Olympique, forming just the eighth all-Canadian battery in major league history. In that game, for the first time in major league history, three Canadians were in the starting lineup (Larry Walker was in right field).
Siddall would end up catching just 73 games over parts of four seasons in the majors for the Expos, Marlins, and Tigers. He signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox and was triple-A Pawtucket's backup catcher in 2000 before he hung up his cleats in June, right before his kids' summer vacation.
"When I retired, I left the Red Sox at the first of June (2000) and it was a very difficult thing . . . and when I came home by the end of June, the kids were out of school and it was the greatest decision I ever made in my life," he told Slam! Sports in a 2006 interview. Unfortunately, Siddall lost his son Kevin to cancer less than a month ago on February 4-days before the teen's fifteenth birthday.
You can stream the radio broadcasts to all Blue Jays spring training games for free at BlueJays.com. You just need to sign up for an MLB account.