The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys. Photo by Flickr user Robert Taylor. Used with a Creative Commons licence.

Halladay, Guerrero Named To Canadian Baseball Hall Of Fame

Two of the best players to ever don the uniforms of the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos will join a Baseball Canada president and a gold medal winning Team Canada in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.

The hall announced its 2017 inductees on Thursday morning.

Roy Halladay, Vladimir Guerrero, Ray Carter, Doug Hudlin, and the 2015 Pan Am Games gold medal winning Team Canada will be enshrined in the St. Marys hall on June 24.

The Team Canada that captured gold with an extra-inning win over the United States included Chris Robinson of Dorchester, Brock Kjeldgaard of London, Evan Rutckyj of Windsor, and Brock Dykxhoorn of Goderich.

“Each member of this year’s class has had a tremendously positive impact on baseball in Canada,” said Scott Crawford, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s director of operations. “I’m excited that we will not only be celebrating the careers of two of the greatest professional players ever to suit up for the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos, but also two highly respected grassroots leaders and a gold-medal-winning national team that made history on home soil.”

Halladay is generally considered one of, if not the, best pitcher to ever be drafted and developed by the Blue Jays. The native of Denver, Colorado came within out out of throwing a no-hitter in a second big league start for Toronto.

However, a disastrous start to his 2000 season led to his demotion to Class-A Dunedin where, with the help of former Jays pitching coach Mel Queen, he rebuilt his delivery and became one of the most feared pitchers in baseball for several years.

In 2003, he became the third Blue Jays pitcher to win the American League Cy Young Award. He was traded to Philadelphia in 2009. In May of 2000, he threw a perfect game for the Phillies. Later that same year, in his first ever post-season start, Halliday threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds.

In his 16-year career, he made eight All-Star teams and collected 203 wins with a career Earned Run Average of 3.38.

Halladay signed a one-day contract with Toronto in December of 2013 so he could retire as a Blue Jay.

“Toronto has been my home away from home throughout my career and even to this day. My oldest son now 16 was born in Toronto and considers himself Canadian,” said Halladay. “It was a privilege to live and play in Canada for as long as I did. The people here were kind, supportive, respectful and always seemed to welcome me home even when I came to visit and sat in the wrong dugout. To be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is just another example of exceptional treatment I have received from Canada. I can’t explain the feelings that accompanied goose bumps every time you showed me how much I was appreciated and once again after getting word of this honour Canada has given me, those same feelings to go along with the goose bumps. Thank you!”

Induction to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame will be the first of what will likely be two Hall of Fame inductions Vladimir Guerrero will experience.

The former Montreal Expos rightfielder, whose legendary throwing arm kept many a runner held up at third base, is widely expected to be voted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown within the next few years. He fell just short of the required 75% of the vote in this year’s balloting.

Guerrero was signed as an amateur free agent by the Expos in 1993 and made his big league debut in September of 1996.

In his eight seasons with the Expos, he was a four-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and received MVP votes in six seasons.

Known just as much for his bat as his arm, Guerrero also established all-time Expos records for batting average (.323), home runs (234), slugging percentage (.588) and on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) (.978).

After signing with the L.A. Angels after the 2003 season, Guerrero made the All-Star game four times, won four Silver Slugger Awards, and was voted the American League MVP in 2004.

He also won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2001 for his humanitarian efforts.

Guerrero joined the Texas Rangers in 2010, then finished his career with Baltimore in 2011. In all, in his 16-year big league career, he batted .318, hit 449 home runs, and recorded a .553 career slugging percentage, which ranks 24th all-time.

“I was surprised and excited to hear that I’m being inducted,” said Guerrero through a translator. “I knew that I would need to wait at least one more year to join the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but I’m very pleased to join the Canadian hall of fame first, since I was given my first opportunity to play Major League Baseball in Canada.”

The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame will also induct Ray Carter, who was president of Baseball Canada for 16 years, from 2000 to 2016.

During that time, the men’s and women’s national teams won 13 international medals, including the men’s Senior National Team’s first two gold medals at the Pan Am Games in 2011 and 2015.

Carter helped to establish the women’s National Team in 2004. The women’s team has since won five international medals – including two silvers – and is now ranked second in the world.

“I’m deeply honoured to be elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame,” said Carter. “To be inducted with Roy Halladay, Vladimir Guerrero, umpire Doug Hudlin and the Canadian 2015 Pan Am gold medal team is indeed special. I thank the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and those involved for this wonderful news.”

The hall will also posthumously induct Doug Hudlin, who served as an umpire in British Columbia for 40 years.

He was chosen as the first non-American umpire to work the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., in 1967. Seven years later, he returned to umpire the event, making him the first international umpire ever to work two Little League World Series.

Hudlin passed away on January 5, 2014 at the age of 91. To honour his legacy, the B.C. Baseball Umpires Association presents the Doug Hudlin Distinguished Service Award each year to a dedicated and long-serving umpire in the province.