It’s been a busy few weeks with the announcement of our 2017 Inductees. Our Director of Operations Scott Crawford has been busy on the phone with the Inductees and media outlets and is already occupied with arrangements for Induction Day. There is heightened interest in the event with Roy Halladay and Vladimir Guerrero in this year’s class and June 24 promises to be a busier-than-usual, exciting day.
The Museum recently welcomed students from the Fanshawe College Broadcast Television Program in connection with the production of a 5-minute video about a charitable organization. Last weekend, Scott took a display of artifacts to the Rogers Centre as part of National Coaching Clinic with over 250 coaches from around the province and came home with a few more contributions to the Museum holdings.
New Inductee Vladimir Guerrero celebrated his 42nd birthday on February 9th. Other Inductee birthdays this month: February 4 – Roy Miller; 5 – Roberto Alomar, 14 Arthur Irwin and Oscar Judd, 22 – George ‘Sparky’ Anderson, 23 – Howard Starkman, 27 – Matt Stairs.
Oscar Judd is almost a local. While official records show London as his birthplace, he was actually born in the hamlet of Rebecca, now the site of London’s International Airport, on Valentine’s Day 1908. His father, John W. Judd, was a farmer in Nissouri West Township and his mother, Eve, was a nurse.
Oscar’s glory days were in the middle of World War II. After leading Ingersoll and Guelph to Ontario championships, he pitched in seven different pro and semi-pro leagues prior to his major league debut in 1941. His minor league career included stints in the Cubs and Cardinals organizations.
While in the Cards system, Judd, who had hit .416 in 1939, was asked by baseball legend Branch Rickey to become a full-time outfielder; the southpaw refused.
Judd would make his big league debut with the Red Sox in 1941, but it wasn’t until 1942, at age 34, that he became a regular starter, posting eight wins and a 3.89 ERA. The following season was Judd’s finest, when he went 11-6, with an ERA of 2.90, and earned himself a trip to the All-Star game. He played his last major league game in 1948 and died in Ingersoll in 1995. (Find out more about all the Inductees on our website: baseballhalloffame.ca )
With the return of winter weather, we’re back to books. Our last recommendations concerned baseball history in general and now we turn to Canadian baseball reads. Our top 5 in no particular order are:
Baseball’s Back in Town: From the Don to the Blue Jays, A History of Baseball in Toronto – Lou Cauz
Diamonds of the North: A Concise History of Baseball in Canada – Bill Humber (available from our main street office)
Baseball’s Creation Myth: Adam Ford, Abner Graves and the Cooperstown Story – Brian ‘Chip’ Martin (also at our store; noteworthy for local content)
Shoeless Joe – W.P. Kinsella
Heroes, Bums and Ordinary Men: Profiles in Canadian Baseball – Dan Turner
Speaking of CBHFM member Bill Humber, his Continuing Ed course entitled ‘Baseball Spring Training’ is back at Seneca College for a remarkable 39th year. Assisted by another of our members, Barry Naymark, Bill looks at the upcoming year of baseball over six Saturday mornings in a classroom setting. Highlights are discussions of baseball history, minor league reports and a visit from some Toronto Blue Jays. We’d like to see more such sessions held country-wide to keep the spirit of baseball alive in Canada.
Finally, Spring Training is here! The Jays pitchers and catchers reported to camp on Valentine’s Day, and position players on the 17th. Maybe someone you know is going to Dunedin!