Two dominant ex-major leaguers, two trailblazing, grassroots leaders and a gold medal-winning national team will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.
Ex-Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay and former Montreal Expos slugger Vladimir Guerrero will be honoured in a ceremony on June 24 in St. Marys, Ont., along with long-time Baseball Canada president Ray Carter (Nanaimo, B.C.) and legendary umpire Doug Hudlin (Victoria, B.C.), who will be enshrined posthumously. Canada’s Senior National Team that captured gold at the 2015 Pan Am Games will also be inducted.
“Each member of this year’s class has had a tremendously positive impact on baseball in Canada,” said Scott Crawford, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s director of operations. “I’m excited that we will not only be celebrating the careers of two of the greatest professional players ever to suit up for the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos, but also two highly respected grassroots leaders and a gold-medal-winning national team that made history on home soil.”
2017 Inductee Bios:
Born in 1977 in Denver, Colo., Halladay was the Blue Jays’ first-round pick (17th overall) in the 1995 major league amateur draft. On September 27, 1998, in his second big league start, he carried a no-hitter into the bottom of the ninth and had two outs when Detroit Tigers pinch-hitter Bobby Higginson homered. Halladay finished the contest with a one-hitter in the Blue Jays’ 2-1 win.
The intense right-hander became a mainstay in the Blue Jays’ starting rotation beginning in July 2001 and he established himself as the team’s ace the following year when he won 19 games and led American League hurlers in innings pitched (239-1/3) and WAR (7.4) and was selected to his first All-Star team. Halladay would top that the ensuing campaign when he led the league in wins (22), innings pitched (266), complete games (9) and WAR (8.1). For his efforts, he became the third Blue Jay to capture the American League Cy Young Award (Pat Hentgen (1996), Roger Clemens (1997, 1998)).
Over his next six seasons with the Blue Jays, Halladay was arguably the league’s best starter. With 20 wins in 2008, the 6-foot-6 righty became the second Blue Jay to record 20 wins in a season twice (Roger Clemens was the other). In all, in parts of 12 seasons with the Blue Jays, Halladay made a team-record seven Opening Day starts, led the American League in complete games five times (2003, 2005, 2007-09), innings pitched three times (2002, 2003, 2008) and was a six-time All-Star (2002-03, 2005-06, 2008-09). He finished his Blue Jays career with a 148-76 won/loss record – good for a .661 winning percentage, which is the best in franchise history. He also ranks second all-time amongst Blue Jays pitchers in wins (148), shutouts (15), strikeouts (1,495) and WAR (48.5).
On top of his on-field excellence, Halladay and his wife, Brandy, sponsored Doc’s Box at Rogers Centre, a program which invited children and families from the Hospital for Sick Children to watch a game in a private box at the stadium. Halladay also donated $100,000 a year to the Jays Care Foundation as part of his contract with the club.
“Toronto has been my home away from home throughout my career and even to this day. My oldest son now 16 was born in Toronto and considers himself Canadian,” said Halladay. “It was a privilege to live and play in Canada for as long as I did”.
Born in 1975 in Don Gregorio, Nizao Dominican Republic, Guerrero boasted a tremendous combination of power and speed that, coupled with his strong throwing arm, made him one of baseball’s best all-around players during his eight seasons with the Montreal Expos. Signed as an amateur free agent by the Expos in 1993, Guerrero became a regular outfielder with the club in May 1997. After he belted 38 home runs in 1998, the five-tool outfielder made his first of four consecutive All-Star appearances in 1999. Two seasons later, he became the first Expo to record 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season, only to outdo himself the following campaign when he narrowly missed becoming the fourth member of Major League Baseball’s exclusive 40-40 club when he finished with 39 home runs and 40 stolen bases in 2002. That season, he also topped the league in hits (206) and total bases (364) and his 7.0 WAR was the second-best by a position player.
In all, in his eight seasons with the Expos from 1996 to 2003, Guerrero was a four-time All-Star (1999 to 2002), three-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1999-00, 2002) and he received MVP votes in six seasons.
Born in 1942 in Nanaimo, B.C., Carter was the president of Baseball Canada for 16 years, from 2000 to 2016, which makes him the longest-serving president in the organization’s history. During Carter’s reign, the men’s and women’s national teams enjoyed unparalleled success, securing 13 international medals, including the men’s Senior National Team’s first two gold medals at the Pan Am Games in 2011 and 2015.
Carter helped to establish the women’s National Team in 2004. The women’s team has since won five international medals – including two silvers – and is now ranked second in the world.
Among the other Baseball Canada programs that Carter helped spearhead has been Challenger Baseball, which allows children with disabilities to participate in the sport and be part of a team. The B.C. native has also overseen the development of the DQ Rally Cap program for initiation players, which provides coaches with tools to teach skills and build enthusiasm for the game in children at an early age. Carter was also a driving force behind the development of the National Coaches Certification Program, which offers standardized training for coaches across the country and has resulted in the development of higher caliber players that are increasingly being selected in the early rounds of the major league draft.
Born in 1922 in Victoria, B.C., Hudlin served as an umpire in his home province for more than 40 years. Though he was a skilled baseball player as a teenager, Hudlin didn’t begin umpiring until after he hurt his back playing soccer in 1951. Two years later, he started umpiring Little League Baseball and in 1956, he began working senior men’s contests. Known for his good humor and sense of fairness, Hudlin evolved into one of his province’s most respected umpires and he was elected president of the Victoria District Umpires Association in 1963 and served in that post until he founded and became the first president of the B.C. Baseball Umpires Association in 1974, a position he retained for five years.
Along the way, he was chosen as the first non-American umpire to work the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., in 1967. Seven years later, he returned to umpire the event, making him the first international umpire ever to work two Little League World Series.
Hudlin also worked the Canada Little League Championships five times (1966-67, 1973, 1981, 1987), the Senior Little League World Series in Gary, Ind., twice (1968, 1974) and the B.C. Summer Games in 1988. That same year, he was selected by the Celebration ’88 Committee to receive a medal for his longstanding service to the Victoria community as a sports official.
Team Canada 2015 Men’s Senior National Team – Pan Am Gold Medalists
Managed by Ernie Whitt, Baseball Canada’s Senior National Team secured its second consecutive Pan Am Games gold medal with a thrilling, extra-inning win over the United States on July 19, 2015.
In the nail-biting gold medal contest played in front of 5,489 boisterous fans in Ajax, Ont., the Canadian squad trailed the Americans 6-4 heading into the bottom of the 10th inning. International baseball rules dictate that teams must start extra innings with runners on first and second base. With one out, Pete Orr (Richmond Hill, Ont.) flared a single to centre field to score Tyson Gillies (Vancouver, B.C.) to make it a 6-5 game. American lefty David Huff then threw wildly when he attempted to pick Orr off first base and Skyler Stromsmoe (Bow Island, Alta.) darted home to tie the game. Orr aggressively dashed for third base and U.S. right fielder Brian Bogusevic threw the ball wide of the bag. Orr then scampered for home, while U.S. shortstop Tyler Pastornicky corralled the ball and threw it to U.S. catcher Thomas Murphy. Orr slid in safely in a close play at the plate and Canada won 7-6. It was an unforgettable sequence of events that will be remembered as one of the greatest in Canadian baseball history.