Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

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Living in the lower mainland we are excited for the start of the Vancouver Canadians as they get set to throw out the first pitch June 14th in a nooner match-up as they play host to the Spokane Indians.

The first three games are against Spokane, while the four remaining home games are against the Eugene Emeralds, then they hit the road for seven games. The designers at Pincious are ready to turn your ideas into a highly sought after custom trading pins for your whole team members, order yours now!

The “Nat” as it’s commonly called by the locals continue to be impressed with the level of ball and considering that this is Single “A”, the players are quite possibly the stars of tomorrow.

The off-season has seen the stadium undergo significant changes, both on the diamond and in the press-box, given the fact they have reached broadcast rights with SportsNet for a handful of TV games with good friend Rob Fai on the mic.

We have seen some exceptional players ply their trade at the “Nat” with some advancing to the Majors, many coming out of  the BC Premier Baseball League which consists of 13 teams including Delta’s own North Delta BlueJays under the guidance of GM Gerry White.

The players continue to impress and hearing that the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is set to induct four individuals June 15th at the Hall of Fame grounds in St Marys Ontario who combined have eight (8) World Series Rings and  five all-star selections and four Tip O’Neill awards.

The four inducted this year are Trail BC’s Jason Bay, Sechelt BC ex-pitcher Ryan Dempster, Coach Rob Thomson who calls Sarnia home and Toronto’s long-time executive Gord Ash.

Jason Bay (Trail BC)

He played for Trail in the 1990 Little League World Series and hits right-handed hitting and plays in the outfielder.

He played two years at Gonzaga University earning a first-team All-West Coast Conference honours in his junior and senior seasons and was selected by the Expos in the 22nd round in the 2000 MLB draft.

After two seasons in Montreal he was dealt to the New York Mets, then to the San Diego Padres in a span of over a four-month in 2002.

He made his big league debut in 2003 with the Padres but was traded to the Pirates, where he excelled to stardom.

He starting in left field May 7/2004 managing to hit .282 while hammering 26 HR’s in 120 games and was the first Canadian to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Bay continued to excel for the Pirates over the next four seasons, registering back-to-back 30-home run, 100-RBI campaigns in 2005 and 2006 and earning all-star honours in each of those years.

But his game was more than just power, the athletic Canadian swiped 21 bases in 22 attempts in 2005 to lead the National League in stolen base percentage (95.46%).

He was also a solid defender, twice finishing second among NL left-fielders in assists (2006, 2007).

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Ryan Dempster (Sechelt BC)

Dempster grew up in Gibsons BC, which is a short Ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay and played for the North Shore Twins advancing to pitch for the Canadian Junior National Team in two (2) World Youth  Championship tournaments in 1993 and 1994.

Based on strong arm delivery the Texas Rangers selected him in the third round of the 1995 MLB draft, but after just over 14 months in the Rangers organization, he was dealt to the Florida Marlins (June 1996) as part of a package for RH John Burkett.

His career took off and after parts of two seasons in the Marlins’ minor league system, he made his major league debut on May 23, 1998.

In 2000, he posted a 14-10 record along with a 3.66 ERA in 226-1/3 innings in 33 starts and selected to the National League All-Star team as well as named the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Tip O’Neill Award winner.

He managed to collect 15 additional wins before being dealt to the Cincinnati Reds July 11, 2002 where he would spend parts of two seasons then signed by the Chicago Cubs in January 2004.

Photo Credit Nam Y. Huh/AP

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