Tagged: canadian baseball hall of fame

2014 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Induction & Events

Hall of Fame 2014

Hall of Fame 2014

This week signifies two very important things: The first day of Summer (finally!), and the Induction Ceremony for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (which falls on the same day). What better way to kick of the season?

I had the pleasure of attending the induction ceremony last year, and interviewed Rob Ducey, George Bell, Tim Raines, who were all being inducted into the 2013 Class. I also connected with Shirley Cheek, who was accepting the induction award on behalf of her late husband, Toronto Blue Jays’ broadcasting legend, Tom Cheek. More on that here.

This year, the festivities span several days, offering something for the whole family. The Hall of Fame is proud to announce this year’s inductees: Tim Wallach, Dave Van Horne, Murray Cook, & Jim Ridley.

The 3x Gold Glover was also a 5X All-Star, and 2x Silver Slugger

Tim Wallach was a 3x Gold Glover, a 5X All-Star, and 2x Silver Slugger

Van Horne was the Expos announcer for 32 years!

Van Horne was the Expos announcer for 32 years!

Murray Cook was the GM of the Yankees, Expos, and Reds

Murray Cook was the GM of the Yankees, Expos, and Reds

Jim Ridley was a player, a scout, and a coach

Jim Ridley was a player (Milwaukee Braves), a scout (Tigers, Jays, Twins), and a coach (Olympics, Pan Am Games)

The events kick-off on Thursday, July 19th with a celebrity softball game, which I’m honoured to have been invited to participate in (obviously as media, not as a celebrity!). The teams will be represented by Tim Wallach, and Hall-of-Famer Fergie Jenkins. Other celebrities include Dave Van Horne, Murray Cook, Jim Fanning, Paul Spoljaric, Billy Atkinson, many other notable former professional players, as well as representatives from Team Canada Fastball. There will also be a Slo-pitch homerun derby.

I was discussing past celebrity games with the Director of Operations of the HOF, Scott Crawford, who outlined one of his favourite memories from just a few years ago being Larry Walker hitting a homerun out over right field corner wall. Last year Tim Raines and George Bell played. This year there will be even more celebrities. This is an event you don’t want to miss!

Friday (June 20th) is possibly the busiest day of the week. The day kicks off with the 4th Annual “London Salutes Canadian Baseball” fundraising breakfast, sponsored by Lerners Lawyers and the London Convention Centre. There with be a Q & A with the celebrities, a live auction, and O’Canada by Canadian legend Michael Burgess. Also in attendance will be George Bell, Devon White, and Duane Ward.

Later that morning is the 18th Annual Celebrity Golf Classic & Sports Banquet. The list of incredible celebrities is way too long to list, but include the likes of Tom Henke, Tony Fernandez, Paul Beeston, and Babe Ruth’s Granddaughter Linda Ruth Tosetti. There is a banquet following the tournament, and tickets can be purchased separately as well.

Finally, Saturday June 21st kicks off with a Baseball Family Street Festival from 9 am to Noon, with a variety of events for kids of all ages. The induction ceremony starts at 1 pm, with a Blue Jays Honda Super Camp following, at 3 pm, where youth will get the opportunity to receive baseball instruction from Duane Ward, Devon White, and George Bell. I attended the Guelph Honda Super Camp, more on that here.

If you needed any more reasons to attend, this year is very special in that the inductees cover all facets of the game of baseball. Tim Wallach played for the Expos for the majority of his career, Dave Van Horne was an announcer for the Expos for 32 years and now covers Marlins games, Murray Cook is a Canadian who was the General Manger of the Yankees, Expos, and Reds, and Jim Ridley was a scout from 1976 – 2002. The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame continues to build and expand, and is well worth the drive to St Marys.

For more information click here, or call the Hall of Fame directly at: Phone: 519-284-1838, Toll-free: 877-250-2255

Blue Jays Greats Interview Highlight Reel

Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame 2013 Inductee Interviews – Tim Raines, Shirley Cheek, Rob Ducey, & George Bell

Tom Cheek Induction Ceremony Plaque

Tom Cheek Induction Ceremony Plaque

Click here to listen to: Brock Picken interview Tim Raines, Shirley Cheek, Rob Ducey, & George Bell

Brock Picken talks with 2013 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees at the Induction Ceremony in St Marys.

Tim Raines talks about what it takes to be a great lead off man, and the significance of his 808 stolen bases.

Shirley Cheek talks about Tom’s passion and dedication to the game, and what it would mean to him to be inducted.

Rob Ducey talks about his time in the big leagues, and as a rookie some “choice advice” George Bell gave him.

George Bell talks about his memories during his days with the Blue Jays, and his 1987 MVP season.

Click here to read my blog post about the day.

 

Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2013

2013 Induction Ceremony

2013 Induction Ceremony

If you are a baseball fan living in Ontario and haven’t been to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, do yourself a favour and check it out. The quiet little town of St Marys, situated an hour west of Kitchener is a picturesque place with quaint shops, century old homes, and large maple and cherry trees.

Early Saturday morning of the induction weekend, I had the opportunity to interview all of the inductees (Click Here To Listen To The Podcast), including Shirley Cheek, widow to the late Tom Cheek, who was also inducted.

Sitting down and chatting with Tim Raines, he shared his opinion on what makes a good leadoff man, and how the game has changed today.

Hall of Famer Tim Raines

Montreal Expos Speedster Tim Raines

Shirley Cheek shared with me that Tom had dreamed of being a broadcaster from the age of seven. He used to take a recorder to games and practice calling play-by-play. Tom Cheek called 4,306 consecutive Blue Jays games, before taking a day off for his father’s funeral in 2004. Tom passed away in 2005 from brain cancer. For an in-depth look at Tom Cheek’s career, read John Lott’s article here.

Shirley Cheek, wife to the late Tom Cheek

Shirley Cheek, wife to the late Tom Cheek

Rob Ducey, the only Canadian-born inductee of the group, was polite (as Canadians stereotypically are), soft-spoken, and had a great story about his first day in the big leagues, and some advice that George Bell had for him.

Former Blue Jay & Expo Rob Ducey

Former Blue Jay & Expo Rob Ducey

In 1987 he was the AL MVP, the only Toronto Blue Jays to have ever won the award. He had a big swing, and an even bigger personality, which still holds true today. George Bell claims that he can’t quite remember all the details from his 12 seasons in the MLB, but once you get him talking, it becomes apparent that he still has some very detailed memories from his career. This larger-than-life hall of famer was a lot of fun to spend time with.

1987 AL MVP George Bell

1987 AL MVP George Bell

INDUCTION CEREMONY

Following the national anthems being sung by none other than critically acclaimed singer and actor Michael Burgess, Canadian sports announcer and emcee for the day, Rod Black took to the mic and immediately warmed the crowd:

Rod didn’t stop there (it must have been the Red Bull). He delivered a witty and hilarious speech on what it means to be Canadian:

Rod Black, Hall of Fame Inductees, Cito Gaston, Tom Henke

Rod Black, Hall of Fame Inductees, Cito Gaston, Tom Henke

Following the ceremony, my wife and I headed off to the museum to look at the baseball memorabilia.

Induction Ceremony Bats

Induction Ceremony Bats

Tom Cheek Induction Ceremony Plaque

Tom Cheek Induction Ceremony Plaque

1940's Pitching Machine

1940’s Pitching Machine

Jackie Robinson Memorabilia

Jackie Robinson Memorabilia

My Wife Marta with the home plate Joe Carter crossed following his 1993 World Series winning walk-off home run.

My Wife Marta with the home plate Joe Carter crossed following his 1993 World Series winning walk-off home run.

The Dugout – Show #5 – Al Coombs 1290 CJBK London Radio: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Al Coombs talks Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Al Coombs & Brock Picken talk Blue Jays Baseball.

Click Here to Listen To: The Dugout Show #5 – Al Coombs on The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Brock Picken & Al Coombs from 1290 CJBK London Talk Radio talk Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, American League East expectations for 2013, no-hitters that weren’t, and wild Toronto Blue Jays predictions.

Listen to Al’s London Radio Show: Click Here

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