Former Jays centrefielder, baseball historian, pitching great inducted into Hall
By Pat Payton
Lloyd Moseby says most people who know him never call him Lloyd. They call him by his nickname, ‘Shaker.’ He acquired the moniker while playing basketball as a youngster.
But Moseby is in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum because of baseball. The former Toronto Blue Jays’ centrefielder was one of the 2018 CBHFM inductees on Saturday, along with former Montreal Expos’ pitcher Pedro Martinez, and baseball historian and author Bill Humber.
“Basketball was my first love, but baseball has been everything to me,” Moseby said during a press conference earlier in the day.
“It was because of my cross-over dribble,” he said with a laugh, explaining how his nickname came about. “Back in the day, we just shook our man. But it was (former Jays outfielder) Al Woods, who brought (the nickname) to spring training, and it went from there to my bats and ball gloves. When someone calls me Shaker, that’s when I know they really know me.”
Moseby said Danny Ainge, now GM of the NBA’s Boston Celtics, was his basketball hero. He and Moseby were Blue Jays’ teammates for a couple of years in the early 1980s, before Ainge was drafted into the NBA, where he played 14 seasons as a shooting guard.
“We used to sneak out and play one-one-ones and three-on-threes, back when we played together for Toronto,” he recalled.
Ten seasons with Blue Jays
Altogether, Moseby played 10 of his 12 Major League seasons with the Blue Jays. He had a potent combination of power and speed, knocking in nearly 100 runs on several occasions and regularly stealing 30-plus bases. In the mid-1980s, Moseby was part of the Jays’ powerful ‘Killer B’s’ outfield trio, playing centrefield between George Bell and Jesse Barfield. After the 1989 season, he signed with Detroit Tigers.
Over his career, Moseby had 869 runs, 169 home runs, 737 runs batted in, and 280 stolen bases, while batting .257. He was named an all-star in 1986. As of 2018, Moseby ranks in the top-10 among Blue Jays’ career leaders in games played, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, walks, stolen bases (franchise leader), and extra-base hits.
He served as the Jays’ first-base coach in 1998 and 1999.
Where does being inducted into the Canadian Hall rate in his great Major League career, he was asked.
“It kind of closes everything,” he replied. “I had never been on an airplane until I flew to Calgary to play in the Pioneer League with Medicine Hat (after being drafted by Toronto in 1978). There have been a lot of people in Canada who have really moulded me.
“I was born in Arkansas and raised in Oakland, California, but Canada is my home. It’s been a journey.”
Today, Moseby works for the Blue Jays (since 2009) as one of several ‘ambassadors” for the team, and travels coast to coast in Canada promoting baseball. Robbie Alomar, Duane Ward and Jesse Barfield are other former Jays who are team ambassadors.
In an emotional speech later at the Hall, Moseby thanked many people in the audience, including family, friends, and former teammates and Blue Jays’ executives. He gave special praise to Paul Beeston, noting that the former Jays’ president was very good to him and his family.
Moseby said he doesn’t look at stats and repeated a couple of times that he didn’t feel he was worthy to be inducted into the Canadian Hall. “Other players deserve it more than me,” he said.
But the audience didn’t agree with him on Saturday, and his M.L. stats and career clearly make him Hall of Fame worthy.
“It was one of the great all-time induction speeches,” Master of Ceremonies Annakin Slayd said later.
Baseball historian has penned 12 books
Toronto native Bill Humber, who has written 12 books on various topics, is regarded as Canada’s premier baseball historian. A Bowmanville resident since 1974, he is the first academic researcher to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“I think in Hollywood, they would call this a lifetime achievement award,” Humber said at the morning press conference. “It’s kind of how it feels. It’s a recognition of the breadth of what I’ve done, from the writing, to academic, to talking, to teaching point of view. All of those things have culminated into this.”
The Hall induction is a huge honour for both he and his family, he said later at the podium. His wife Cathie, children Bradley, Darryl and Karen, and brother Larry, were among family members who attended Saturday’s induction.
“Baseball in Canada changed our history. It’s our game, too, (U.S.) neighbours, but we’re sure happy to share it with you,” he added with a laugh.
Humber has been an employee at Seneca College for 42 years, and his title at the school is Director of the Office of Eco-Seneca Initiatives.