Thanksgiving weekend is here and with it the last day the Museum is open for regular visits. 2017 has been a great year, with the most successful Induction Weekend ever, an increase of 5% in foot traffic at the Museum and a 33% increase in annual memberships. On the downside, our outdoor facilities were hit by vandalism and thefts in August and September. But we’re forward-looking and trust that the planned addition to the Museum will help to make 2018 even better!
CBHFM participated in last weekend’s Doors Open Ontario. More than 150 people took advantage of the sunny day and free admission to pop by with guests from as far away as Los Angeles, Australia, Iowa and Ireland.
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum now has a presence, or at least T-shirts, in Cuba. Volunteers Andrew and Elena North recently returned from the exciting Cubaball tour organized every year by Vancouverite Kit Krieger. Along with baseballs, they took a bunch of CBFHM T-shirts, which were gratefully received by the MLB discussion group (in Spanish, peña) that meets every Friday in Havana’s John Lennon Park. These enthusiasts appear at the end of a TSN documentary about Cuba’s Gurriel brothers, one of whom is now part of the Jays’ system. The film is entitled ‘The First Family’ and may be viewed on TSN’s website, tsn.ca. It’s worth noting that the Norths had the privilege of meeting 81-year-old Luis Zayas, who trained the Jays’ Kendrys Morales early in his career.
In MLB news, 2016 CBHFM inductee and scouting legend Wayne Norton threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Seattle Mariners game on September 30. Fellow Canadian James Paxton, recently named Mariners Pitcher of the Year, caught the ball. The occasion was particularly poignant as Norton suffers from ALS.
Thanks to blogger and CBHFM supporter Kevin Glew for this item about one of our inductees: The Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies and possibly the New York Mets will be looking for new managers in the off-season, and Windsor, ON native Stubby Clapp, the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year is a viable candidate. Clapp, who led the St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A Memphis Redbirds to a franchise record in wins, is likely to land some interviews, provided the Cards allow other teams to talk to him. A lot of Cardinals fans on social media and online forums would like to see him replace Mike Matheny. For Canadian fans of Clapp, not to mention Clapp himself, it would be an amazing achievement. The last Canadian big league manager was London’s George Gibson, who did the honours for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1935.
With the end of the season and preparations for renovations to the Museum, this column is taking a break. We hope to provide occasional progress reports on the Museum in The Indy and to expand our social media presence during the hiatus. Please note that for the time being, Museum tours will be available by appointment by calling the office at 519-284-1838. And keep checking our website (baseballhalloffame.ca), as well as Facebook and Twitter, for inductee birthdays, the Christmas auction and other items of interest.
For now, a million thanks to The Independent for giving us space for this article. Heartfelt appreciation to our valued sponsors, our exceptional staff and grounds crew, and our hard-working volunteers. Thanks as well to the Board of Directors, who give time and money to the organization for the sheer love of baseball.
We are Canada’s baseball memory. See you next year!