While Canada hasn’t always had a huge contingent in Major League Baseball, the nation to the north has certainly produced some memorable stars for the sport.
A total of 12 Canadians have gone on to win the World Series, from Bill O’Neill with the Chicago White Sox in 1906 all the way to the recent 2021 triumph of Freddie Freeman with the Atlanta Braves.
Here, we’re having a look at the greatest ten Canadian MLB players of all time. While a list of ten doesn’t provide enough space to showcase all of the top-class Canadian baseball stars, these players stand out.
Greatest MLB Players From Canada
Find out why these ten Canadian MLB players made the cut below.
Larry Walker (1989-2005)
Having entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2020, few would doubt that Larry Walker is one of the greatest Canadian MLB players of all time and is fully deserving of a place among the very best players ever.
Finishing his career with 72.7 WAR, .313 BA, 230 SB, and 383 HR, Walker went above and beyond to earn his five All-Star, seven Gold Glove, and three Silver Slugger Awards.
Looking at his career stats, Walker easily sits among the best players in MLB history, making the most of his time in Colorado.
The high altitude certainly doesn’t diminish the legacy of the five-tool talent, though, with the Maple Ridge native putting up a leading 5.5 WAR/150 line.
Fergie Jenkins (1965-1983)
Ferguson “Fergie” Jenkins is a legend of the sport of baseball, a three-time All-Star, a two-time wins leader, and won the NL Cy Young Award in 1971.
The righty spent much of his career with the Chicago Cubs, putting up 20-plus wins in each season from 1967 to 1972, adding another 25-win season with the Texas Rangers in 1974.
Deservingly so, Jenkins became the first Canadian to enter the Hall of Fame, with the honour coming in 1991. It took 19 years for the next player from north of the border to join him.
Joey Votto (2007-Active)
Joey Votto continues to pad his career stat line in the MLB, remaining a one-team player with the Cincinnati Reds, where he’s become a six-time All-Star and NL MVP.
While the presence of the Canadian veteran hasn’t improved Cincinnati’s odds in the online sports betting markets, he’s still a vital part of the team.
Votto’s excess of 340 home runs and 1,100 RBIs speak for themselves.
Russell Martin (2006-2019)
Ontario-native Russell Martin enjoyed a soaring start to his MLB career in 2006, immediately breaking into the Los Angeles Dodgers ranks as their everyday catcher.
For three years, he was an ace on both sides of the ball, landing two All-Star call-ups, the Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger Awards in 2007.
However, Martin’s performances declined in 2009 and 2010, leading to him starting a new challenge with the New York Yankees, where he bounced back to land another All-Star selection.
He added his fourth in 2015 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Russell Martin takes to Instagram to announce his retirement. pic.twitter.com/d91yKGzUbt— TSN (@TSN_Sports) May 28, 2022
Justin Morneau (2003-2016)
A recent inductee to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Justin Morneau spent much of his career in the AL with the Minnesota Twins.
He did, however, seal the NL Batting Champion crown with the Colorado Rockies in 2014 with a .319.
Here, the British Columbian would earn most of the accolades that punctuated his career. Four consecutive All-Star call-ups, the AL MVP title, and two Silver Slugger Awards were all earned with the Twins.
Tip O’Neill (1883-1892)
Despite having a relatively short MLB career of ten years, James “Tip” O’Neill made enough of an impression to be dubbed “Canada’s Babe Ruth” and have the award for the best Canadian baseball player named after him.
O’Neill’s greatest achievement was hitting for a Triple Crown in 1887. As only the second player in the league’s history to do so, the Québécois put up a .435 batting average, 123 RBIs, and 14 home runs.
The year prior, he won the World Series with the St. Louis Browns.
George Selkirk (1934-1942)
From the man dubbed “Canada’s Babe Ruth” to the Canadian who replaced Babe Ruth for the Yankees, George Selkirk was a core part of the dynasty that won four consecutive World Series from 1936 to 1939 and then added another in 1941.
Over nine years, the outfielder played 846 games, with a career stat line of 108 HR, 576 RBI, .290 BA, .400 OBP, and .483 SLG, as well as two All-Star nods in 1936 and 1939.
Matt Stairs (1992-2011)
Matt Stairs has earned a legacy as one of the greatest Canadian-born hitters the league has ever seen. Even though he flipped between 12 franchises in his career, he never failed to come up clutch.
While he has the record for the most pinch-hit home runs at 23, by far and away, the greatest came in 2008 during Game 4 of the NL Championship Series, which paved the way for his hoisting of the World Series that year.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (2019-Active)
It might seem a bit out there to put a player who’s so young in his career on a list of greats, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr’s trajectory is uncanny.
At 23-years-old, the son of a Hall of Famer is already considered to be one of the league’s top hitters, and he’s doing it for the Blue Jays.
The 2021 campaign was the Canadian-Dominican’s best to date, putting up 48 HR, 111 RBI, .401 OBP, .601 SLG, and 1.002 OPS to land his first All-Star and All-MLB First Team picks, Silver Slugger Award, AL Hank Aaron Award, and the MLB home run leader crown.
Guerrero Jr. is a big reason why Toronto is among the frontrunners for the 2022 World Series at +1200 in the MLB odds.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the youngest player EVER to win the Hank Aaron Award! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/EYNDyl8n8Z— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) November 10, 2021
Éric Gagné (1999-2008)
His career may have gone out with a whimper, but from 2002 to 2004, Éric Gagné was one of the most feared closers in the MLB.
During that time with the LA Dodgers, he won the NL Cy Young Award, received three All-Star call-ups, two NL Rolaids Relief Man Awards, and was the NL saves leader.
His World Series, however, didn’t come until 2007, with the Boston Red Sox.
*Credit for all images in this article belongs to AP Photo*
FIRST PUBLISHED: 11th August 2022