Extra Innings – News from the Hall Of Fame

Opening day in the major leagues is here.  The Blue Jays’ season kicks off on April 3 against The Orioles and their home opener takes place on Tuesday, April 11 against Milwaukee.

But it seems that Montreal is the place for fans to be.  On March 25, the city hosted the third annual Montreal Baseball Hack Day, one of seven baseball-loving cities to do so, the others being Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland.  The one-day event encourages the development of baseball-related projects, partnerships and experiments to create better ties between the technology and sports communities. As the organizers put it, “With a data set that extends back almost 150 years, there is no better sport to challenge the development of unique technical & design focused internet projects.”  More information on this unique event, including winners, may be found online at baseballhackday.com and on Twitter at @mtlbbhackday .

The baseball momentum in Montreal continues with the Jays-Pirates game at the Big O on April 1. As they have in previous years, two of our Board members will take to the field in front of 50,000 enthusiastic fans to present CBHFM’s Jack Graney Award to Larry Millson.  Catch Larry at our own Induction Day on Saturday, June 24.

Back here, our Director of Operations will be on Stratford radio station CJCS on Monday, April 3 to talk about opening day and CBHFM.  Scott’s days are always full, but especially so now with summer staff hiring, Induction Weekend bookings for out-of-town guests, dealing with advertisers for the Induction Weekend program and billboard promotions, and a host of other related matters, including a baseball research request from the Society for American Baseball Research and a meeting with Twitter Canada Sports.  As part of the St Marys Minor Ball Executive, Scott also finds time to help with baseball clinics here in town.  This year’s dates are March 31, April 7, 21 and 28 at St. Marys DCVI from 6 to 7:30 p.m. for ages 9 and under and from 7:30 to 9 p.m. for ages 10 and up.

Inductee birthdays in April:  Bill Phillips (exact day unknown), 1 – Jeff Heath and Rusty Staub, 8 – Gary Carter, John Hiller and Frank Shaughnessy, 9 – Kirk McCaskill, 21 – Allan Simpson, 23 – Rheal Cormier, Joseph Lannin and Lester B. Pearson, 25 – Russ Ford.

Why, you may ask, is a Canadian Prime Minister among the Inductees?  Well, Lester Pearson was a great all-round athlete, playing football, rugby, basketball, lacrosse and hockey, but baseball was his passion. Together with his brother Vaughan, Pearson attended games at Toronto’s famed Hanlan’s Point stadium as a youngster, then played with the Guelph Maple Leafs of the Ontario Intercounty Baseball League.  Later in life, the Nobel Peace Prize winner served as an honorary board member with the Montreal Expos.

Pearson died 1972.  In 1978 a mid-season exhibition game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos was initiated in his honour. Essentially a fund-raiser for minor league baseball in Canada, the Pearson Cup capitalized on a friendly rivalry between the two Canadian major league teams.  It ran from 1978-1986 and the cup itself is now in our Museum.

Pearson isn’t the only Canadian PM with baseball connections.  Justin Trudeau’s Grandfather, Charles-Emile, was a noted baseball enthusiast, the largest shareholder and member of the Board of Directors of the Montreal Royals, and the team’s vice-president at the time of his death in 1935.  In fact, he died while on the road with the Royals.  And Pierre Trudeau once swam in the St Marys quarry

Recommended website:  The Canadian Baseball Network for its lists of Canadians in the sport and its podcasts.  Up now on the podcast, Alexis Brudnicki talking to Dustin Saracini about the World Baseball Classic. Alexis has also penned an article with the intriguing title “ Wingnut to Rhino to Guardian” about pitcher Scott Richmond.  All at www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com .

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