Koskie HR led to pursuit of Canucks going deep in Canada

by on January 23, 2013

Corey Koskie

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* Catching an afternoon businessman’s special and seeing both Matt Stairs and Corey Koskie homer, led the author to track down the most homers hit by non-Americans in their home and native land. The fact that Larry Walker (58) leads is no surprise, now is Stairs (22) being second, but Brett Lawrie (12) was a surprising third ….  

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By David Matchett 

I played hooky and caught the 12:37 PM businessman’s special at the Rogers Centre between the Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals on May 11, 2005.

It was a slugfest won by the Jays 12-9 thanks to a five-run outburst in the bottom of the eighth inning. What struck me the most that day was that in the top of the seventh inning Matt Stairs of Fredericton, N.B. homered to give the Royals a 9-7 lead and then in the bottom of the eighth, Corey Koskie of Anola, Man. went deep for the Jays in their comeback rally.

Canadians had hit home runs in Canada before. The May 11 homer was Koskie’s fourth in Toronto in 2005 alone. More than one Canadian had homered in the same game a few times, including Koskie and former Twins teammate Justin Morneau of New Westminster, BC on in 2003 and 2004.

Way back on Sept. 14, 1941, the Indians’ Jeff Heath of Fort William, Ont. and the Yankees’ George Selkirk from Huntsville, Ont. both went deep (the last of Selkirk’s career).

But was this the first time that two Canadians had homered in a game played in Canada?

And what about other countries?

Have players born outside Canada and the USA also hit home runs in their homelands?

The Montreal Expos played a full slate of home games from 1969 through 2004 and the Toronto Blue Jays did so from 1977 through 2012 – over 5,600 games played in Canada.

What other countries have hosted major league games and were any games played in Canada before 1969? This information can be found on Retrosheet.org in the Park Directory: four games were played in Monterrey, Mexico (three in 1996 and one in 1999), eight in Tokyo, Japan (two each in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012), and 47 in San Juan, Puerto Rico (one in 2001, 22 in 2003, 21 in 2004 and three in 2010). There were no other games in Canada except the Expos’ and Jays’ home games.

For the Canadian games I searched the home run logs of Canadian-born players who appeared from 1969 onward. For the Mexican, Japanese and Puerto Rican games, I reviewed box scores then confirmed the nationality of anyone who hit a home run.

What follows is the list of all of the players who where not born in the USA who hit regular season home runs in their countries of birth, the date they first joined the list and the number of home runs hit in their homeland, followed by my research notes.

 

Canada

Dave McKay May 4, 1977 6 home runs hit in Canada

Terry Puhl July 25, 1980 5 home runs hit in Canada

Rob Ducey Sept 14, 1987 2 home runs hit in Canada

Larry Walker June 22, 1990 58 home runs hit in Canada

Matt Stairs July 27, 1996 22 home runs hit in Canada

 

Corey Koskie April 7, 2002 6 home runs hit in Canada

Aaron Guiel May 3, 2004 1 home run hit in Canada

Russell Martin June 19, 2007 2 home runs hit in Canada

Justin Morneau July 23 2007 6 home runs hit in Canada

Jason Bay Sept. 20, 2008 4 home runs hit in Canada

 

Joey Votto June 25, 2009 1 home run hit in Canada

Michael Saunders Sept 22, 2010 3 home runs hit in Canada

Brett Lawrie Aug. 10, 2011 12 home runs hit in Canada

Adam Loewen Sept. 11, 2011 1 home run hit in Canada

 

An exclusion … with an explanation

Mark Teahen is a dual Canadian-US citizen since his father’s was born in St. Marys, Ont. Mark was born in Redlands, Calif., later became a naturalized Canadian citizen and he has represented Canada in international tournaments including the World Baseball Classic. He hit two home runs in Canada during his career but he has been left off this list because it is based on country of birth, not citizenship.

This exclusion is not meant to be a slight against Teahen’s accomplishments or nationality; it is based on a simplifying assumption that the list is based on where the person was born. [Sorry Mark!]

 

Puerto Rico

Jose Vidro April 11, 2003 3 home runs hit in Puerto Rico

Javy Lopez April 17, 2003 2 home runs hit in Puerto Rico

Felipe Lopez April 20, 2003 1 home run hit in Puerto Rico

Bengie Molina June 3, 2003 1 home run hit in Puerto Rico

Juan Gonzalez June 8, 2003 1 home run hit in Puerto Rico

Ramon Castro Sept 6, 2003 1 home run hit in Puerto Rico

 

Japan

Hideki Matsui March 31, 2004 1 home run hit in Japan

 

Other Lists

Walk Off Home Runs

Dave McKay Aug. 26, 1978 10th inning

Larry Walker Sept. 13, 1992 9th inning

Larry Walker Sept. 25, 1992 10th inning

Larry Walker May 29, 1994 10th inning

Brett Lawrie Sept. 5 2011 11th inning

Brett Lawrie May 1, 2012 9th inning

 

Grand Slams

Terry Puhl May 4, 1986

Matt Stairs Aug. 13, 1999

Larry Walker Aug. 11, 2000

Javy Lopez April 17, 2003

Brett Lawrie Aug. 10, 2011

Michael Saunders April 27, 2012

 

Multi Homers Games

Larry Walker April 5, 1997 3 home runs

Larry Walker June 28, 1992 2 home runs

Larry Walker Aug. 4, 1994 2 home runs

Matt Stairs Aug. 13, 1999 2 home runs

Javy Lopez April 17, 2003 2 home runs

Larry Walker June 14, 2005 2 home runs

Justin Morneau July 23, 2007 2 home runs

Justin Morneau May 17, 2010 2 home runs

Michael Saunders April 27, 2012 2 home runs

 

Stadiums

Olympic Stadium, Montreal 62 home runs hit

Sky Dome/Rogers Centre, Toronto 60 home runs hit

Estadio Hiram Bithorn, San Juan 9 home runs hit

Exhibition Stadium, Toronto 7 home runs hit

Tokyo Dome 1 home run hit

Jarry Park, Montreal 0 home runs hit

Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey 0 home runs hit

 

Some firsts

First on the list Dave McKay May 4, 1977

First in Canada Dave McKay May 4, 1977

First in Puerto Rico Jose Vidro April 11, 2003

First in Japan Hideki Matsui March 31, 2004

First in Mexico: [none]

First in Toronto Dave McKay May 4, 1977

First in Montreal Terry Puhl July 25, 1980

First as a Blue Jay Dave McKay May 4, 1977

First as an Expo Larry Walker June 22, 1990

Last by an Expo Rob Ducey June 15, 2001

First back-to-back games Larry Walker June 29-30 1990

First and only in Montreal-Toronto interleague game Rob Ducey June 15, 2001

 

Other tidbits

Through 2012 a total of 139 home runs have been hit in the country of birth of players born outside the USA: 129 in Canada, nine in Puerto Rico and one in Japan.

Martin’s home run in Toronto on June 19, 2007 was the 100th on this list.

Ducey is the only Canadian-born player to homer in Canada as an Expo and as a Blue Jay. He is in fact the only Canadian to do this regardless of the venue.

Bay almost matched Ducey. He has hit four home runs in Toronto and he hit two in an Expos’ home game on July 9, 2004, but that game was played in San Juan and not Montreal.

On Aug. 13, 1999, the first of Matt Stairs’ two home runs was hit off Paul Spoljaric of Kelowna, BC. This is the only case of a Canadian batter hitting a home run off a Canadian pitcher in a game played in Canada. This didn’t happen in Puerto Rico or Japan. Stairs had a chance for to repeat the feat later in the same game but in his last at bat Paul Quantrill of London, Ont. struck him out.

As noted above, Mark Teahen has been left out of this discussion because he was born in the USA despite having dual Canadian-US citizenship and having represented Canada in international tournaments. However, Teahen matched Stairs’ feat on June 6, 2009 when he hit a home run in Toronto off fellow Canadian Scott Richmond of Vancouver, BC. Teahen hit another home run in Canada, the last home run of his career, in Toronto as a Blue Jay on Aug. 13, 2011.

Sixteen Canadian-born players appeared for the Expos before they moved to Washington but only three hit home runs. Larry Walker and Rob Ducey are noted above. Doug Frobel of Ottawa, Ont. was the third. He played in 12 games for the Expos in 1985 and he did hit a home run, the first Canadian to do so for the Expos, but he did it in Chicago. He only appeared in four games in Montreal as an Expo and he went 1-for-14 with a single. Including his time with the Pirates, Frobel came to bat 58 times in Montreal and went 9-for-53 with eight singles, a double four walks and a sacrifice.

Seventeen Canadian-born players have played for the Blue Jays. In addition to Stairs, Lawrie, Koskie, McKay, Ducey and Loewen, there were Simon Pond of North Vancouver, BC and Paul Hodgson of Fredericton, N.B. and both homered as Blue Jays, but in road games.

And Stairs and Koskie? That game in 2005 was the first and, through 2012, the only time two different Canadians homered in a game played in Canada and this never happened in Puerto Rico, Mexico or Japan.

David Matchett
The Expos played their first game a couple of weeks after David’s sixth birthday and some of his fondest childhood memories are of sitting in the bleachers at Parc Jarry. He inherited his passion for baseball from his Ted Williams-worshiping father and built on this enthusiasm listening to Dave Van Horne and Duke Snider call the games throughout his adolescence. His move from his native Lachine, Quebec to Toronto was perfectly timed to coincide with the Blue Jays’ two World Series Championships and he cheers for his new favourite team now that the ex-Expos are dead to him (curse you Jeffrey Loria!!!)

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