Canada boasts a strong tradition of honouring the finest athletes and contributors to popular sports, with baseball not being any different.
For the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, a museum was opened in 1982 in Toronto – but is now housed in St. Marys, Ontario – to showcase the incredible careers and contributions of over 150 inductees.
Each year, the Selection Committee discusses all qualified nominations to create a new class of inductees, with the most recent bringing in Jeff Francis, Justin Morneau, Pedro Martínez, and Duane Ward.
This is what you need to know about the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, from how it came to be to the icons who have been immortalized within its walls.
Founding of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
Canada can trace its baseball roots as far back as 1838 to a game eerily similar to the popular sport being played in Beachville, Ontario.
It wasn’t until November 1982 that the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was founded, being hosted by Exhibition Place.
In June 1998, after a stint at Ontario Place, St. Mary’s opened the modern Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, which continues to be dedicated to preserving the nation’s baseball heritage.
In 1983, the Hall of Fame welcomed its first six inductees, who were James “Tip O’Neill,” Phil Marchildon, George Selkirk, and Frank Shaughnessy, along with builders of the sport John Ducey and Lester B. Pearson.
Recently, in 2021, Helen Callaghan became the first individual female to become an inductee.
How to get into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
To get into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, the person has to be nominated by the public and then confirmed by a 24-person Selection Committee, which features professionals from the media, historians, executives, and Hall of Fame members.
The public has until December 1 each year to submit nominations.
In order to qualify as a legitimate nominee for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, the person in question needs to meet the following criteria:
Retired for at least three years if a player (other roles can be active).
Be Canadian or have contributed significantly to the sport in Canada.
Once qualified, the nominee has to receive at least three-quarters of the annual ballot vote to become an inductee.
However, if they don’t meet the 75 percent mark the first time around, the nominee will stay on the ballot for as many as nine years unless they receive zero votes in consecutive years.
On the 50th anniversary of Fergie Jenkins’ 20th win in his Cy Young season, we are excited to share a rendering of his statue that will be installed during the 2022 season at Wrigley Field. pic.twitter.com/CKS77EzGyn— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 20, 2021
Icons of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has cemented the legacies of a vast number of players, officials, executives, coaches, and other associated contributors to the sport.
It certainly got off to a hot start with the likes of Selkirk, Shaughnessy, and O’Neill.
In the years that followed 1983, the likes of Fergie Jenkins (1987 inductee), Jackie Robinson (1991), the 1991 National Youth Team (1992), Pat Gillick (1997), Cito Gaston (2002), Charles Smith (2005), Dave Stieb (2005), Tom Cheek (2013), Matt Stairs (2015), Vladimir Guerrero (2017), and Lloyd Moseby (2018) were all inducted.
The biggest Canadian name in the Hall of Fame remains Larry Walker (2009). Widely considered to be the greatest Canadian baseball player of all time, he also ranks among the best to play in the MLB and is a feature of the Hall of Fame down south.
His famous No. 33 was retired by the Colorado Rockies, who could really do with a slugger of Walker’s talent again, sitting out at +50,000 in the betting to win the World Series.
Active athletes making a case for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
While we’ll have to wait three years after their eventual retirements to see them get nominated, there are a few current MLB stars who are already laying the groundwork for a place in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Chief among them is, very clearly, Joey Votto. During the 2022 campaign, he played his 1,989th MLB game, which broke the Canadian record once set by the legendary Larry Walker.
The first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds continues to be a key piece despite being 38-years-old.
For his record-breaking game, which ended with a win, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame presented Votto with a commemorative plaque. The Toronto native is all but guaranteed a place in the Hall as soon as he’s eligible.
There’s hopefully a long career ahead for him, but if Vladimir Guerrero Jr. keeps true to his 2021 effort, he’ll certainly have a shot at joining his father in St. Mary’s.
At 23-years-old, he’s already key to the Toronto Blue Jays and their +1400 hopes of landing the 2022 championship in the MLB odds.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto is set to play his 1,989th major league game on Sunday, which will break Maple Ridge, B.C., native Larry Walker’s record for most games played by a Canadian. https://t.co/ZlUmYMIUMB pic.twitter.com/6yRDCg1Ctw— Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum 🇨🇦⚾️ (@CDNBaseballHOF) August 14, 2022
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will continue to honour the greatest contributors to the sport that the nation has ever seen, with there being clear potential for future nominees in the MLB today.
*Credit for all images in this article belongs to AP Photo*
FIRST PUBLISHED: 27th August 2022