BWDIK: Alvarez, Hudson, Molleken, Peterson, Raines, Walker

But What Do I Know? … Larry Walker, Tim Raines, Dustin Molleken
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada

My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:

MLB.com’s Andrew Simon offers the best statistical evidence I’ve read yet that Maple Ridge, B.C., native Larry Walker deserves to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Simon uses advanced statistics to make a case for the Canadian star. One of the most convincing statistics that Simon shares is that Walker’s career 72.6 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), an all-encompassing statistic that measures the numbers of wins a player (taking into account their offensive and defensive contributions) adds to their team above a replacement level player (triple-A player), is better than current Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn, Duke Snider, Dave Winfield, Andre Dawson and Jim Rice. This year represents Walker’s sixth year on the writers’ ballot. Ryan Thibs tracks the baseball writers’ ballots that have been made public each year (Tracker here: http://is.gd/KSjpP7) So far this year, Walker has been voted for on just 12.0 per cent of 108 writers’ ballots that have been made public. He must receive 75 per cent support to be enshrined.

_ The news is better for former Montreal Expos star Tim Raines in the Hall of Fame voting. So far, according to Thibs, 108 writers’ ballots have been made public and Raines has been voted for on 81.5% of them. Here are the top five 2016 Hall of Fame candidates in the voting (as of Dec. 27) and the percentage of ballots they have been named on: Ken Griffey Jr., 100%; Mike Piazza, 90.7%; Jeff Bagwell, 85.2%; Raines, 81.5% and Trevor Hoffman, 62.0%. 

_ Former New York Yankees pitcher Fritz Peterson shared this touching tribute to the former major leaguers that passed away in 2015 on his Facebook page on Saturday. A photo of greatly missed Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Fanning is included at the 2:25 mark.

_ It was 10 years ago today that the Toronto Blue Jays traded second baseman Orlando Hudson and pitcher Miguel Batista to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Troy Glaus and Sergio Santos. One of the game’s most feared sluggers at the time, Glaus proceeded to sock 38 homers for the Jays in 2006 and was named to the American League all-star team. An injury limited him to 20 round-trippers the following campaign before he was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals for Scott Rolen on January 14, 2008. For his part, Hudson enjoyed his three finest big league seasons with the D-Backs, batting .287, .294 and .305 respectively from 2006 to 2008, while also picking up two Gold Glove Awards. Batista went 11-8 and recorded a 4.58 ERA in 34 games for the D-Backs prior to signing with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent on December 14, 2006.

_ Regina, Sask., native Dustin Molleken signed a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. Now heading into his 13th pro season, the 31-year-old right-hander has previously pitched in the Pirates, Rockies, Brewers and Indians organizations and toed the rubber for parts of two seasons with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan in 2012 and 2013. He posted a 5-3 record and a 3.25 ERA last season for the Cleveland Indians’ triple-A Columbus Clippers.

_ With the signing of right-hander Henderson Alvarez to a one-year, $4-million deal on Dec. 18, the Oakland A’s could have as many as six former Blue Jays on their pitching staff in 2016. Other ex-Jays hurlers that are now property of the A’s are Kendall Graveman, Marc Rzepczynski, Sean Nolin, Liam Hendriks and Felix Doubront. These six ex-Jays could join Port Dover, Ont., native John Axford, who signed a two-year, $10-million contract with the A’s on Dec. 9, on the staff. 

_ The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame could use your support in its year-end fundraising drive. The St. Marys, Ont.-based shrine is a non-profit organization that does an excellent job of promoting the history of baseball in our country. For information on how you can donate ,,,
 

_ Shoeless Joe Jackson is best known for his hitting heroics and his fall from grace for his role in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. His inability to read and write has been well-documented, but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t sharp and witty. A story goes that one day as he walked to the plate in a game in Cleveland a fan was heckling him about him being illiterate. “Hey Joe, can you spell illiterate?” the fan yelled out repeatedly. Jackson promptly belted the first pitch he saw into the right-centre field gap and ended up on third base. “Hey big mouth,” Jackson yelled to the heckling fan. “Can you spell triple?”
    

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Kevin Glew

Regaled with stories about Mickey Mantle by his father, Ralph, when he was growing up, Kevin Glew developed a keen interest in baseball at a young age in Dorchester, Ont. playing against teams from Vienna, Straffordville, St. Thomas, Stratford, Harrietsville, Belmont, London and Sarnia. His interest blossomed into a full-blown fascination after enduring a bone-chilling wind on the bench seats down the right-field line at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto on Oct. 5, 1985 to witness the Blue Jays secure their first division title. Though Dale Murphy was his favourite player, the teenage Glew played more like a poor man's Spike Owen - another of his childhood heroes whom he later had the opportunity to interview. When he realized he had no shot at a big league career, Glew focussed his efforts on becoming a sportswriter. During his tenure in the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa from 1992 to 1996, he watched the Triple-A Ottawa Lynx in their glory years and vividly recalls a young Matt Stairs suiting up for the Lynx.With few jobs in sports journalism available upon graduation, Glew entered the financial services industry. But after eight years of writing about RRSPs, Glew decided it was time to write about RBIs again. Since leaving his position in the financial sector, he has had freelance articles published in Baseball Digest, Baseball America and the London Free Press. He has also contributed to CBC Sports, SLAM! Sports, Rogers Sportsnet and MLB.com. In June 2010, he started a Canadian baseball history blog called Cooperstowners in Canada. You can read his blog here. Glew is also a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. He is available for paid writing gigs and can be reached at kevin.glew@sympatico.ca