Monday, April 22, 2013

Canadians Playing Baseball in Canada

For some reason, I've always liked Canada's MLB teams. The Expos were the first team I considered my favorite (long story), and that fondness carries over to the current-day Nationals. The Blue Jays were the visiting team in the first ballgame I ever attended, and their classic uniforms are one of my all-time favorites (their return to this look may give them to top spot if I were to rank all of MLB's uniforms again). I may not be Canadian, but I can appreciate the country's baseball offerings.

A while back, someone on a message board posed the question of how many Canadian players played for the Expos and Blue Jays. It made me curious, so I decided to find out the answer. I counted a player as "Canadian" if he was born in Canada, because I don't have time to research whether a player may have moved there after being born somewhere else.

The answers I came up with were:

Expos (16): Claude Raymond, Larry Landreth, Bill Atkinson, Doug Frobel, Larry Walker, Dave Wainhouse, Matt Maysey, Matt Stairs, Denis Boucher, Mike Gardiner, Joe Siddall, Derek Aucoin, Rheal Cormier, Mike Johnson, Rob Ducey, Shawn Hill.

Blue Jays (17): Dave McKay, Paul Hodgson, Rob Ducey, Vince Horsman, Denis Boucher, Rob Butler, Paul Spoljaric, Paul Quantrill, Rich Butler, Steve Sinclair, Simon Pond, Corey Koskie, Matt Stairs, Scott Richmond, Shawn Hill, Adam Loewen, Brett Lawrie.

Several players, as you might have noticed, appeared on both lists, namely Matt Stairs, Denis Boucher, Rob Ducey and Shawn Hill. Only these four men can claim to be Canadian-born and to have played for both Canadian teams.

If I had more time, I could look into the question of which MLB team had the most Canadian-born players in one season, but right now, I can only answer for the Expos and Blue Jays.

The 1993 Expos had five Canadians (Boucher, Gardiner, Siddell, Stairs, Walker) and the 1999 Blue Jays had four Canadians (Rob Butler, Quantrill, Sinclair, Spoljaric).

Is there any team that had more than five? Perhaps someday this blog will be able to answer that question.

One thing I noticed while researching this information was that the 1980's seemed to be a low point for Canadian baseball players. There was no shortage of them in the previous decades, and in the 1990's there was a new wave of them, but not many came up during the 1980's. I have no idea why that is. Perhaps Canadian baseball culture in the '60s and '70s was weak? Could the '90s boom be attributed to the successes of the Expos and Blue Jays? I'd be interested in hearing from someone who knows.