BWDIK: Bautista, Biggio, Martinez, Smoltz, Ward

But What Do I Know? … Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Jose Bautista
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada

My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:

_ The Montreal Expos will be well represented in Cooperstown Sunday as the National Baseball Hall of Fame inducts its class of 2015. Expos Nation, a passionate group of fans who are pushing for Major League Baseball’s return to Montreal, packed a bus that left Montreal at 6:30 a.m. this morning to travel to the festivities to pay tribute to former Expos superstar Pedro Martinez and to Randy Johnson, who pitched parts of five seasons in the Expos’ organization, before being dealt to the Seattle Mariners as part of a package for left-hander Mark Langston on May 25, 1989. In his speech, Martinez, who won the National League Cy Young Award with the Expos in 1997, will likely pay tribute to the city that he described to Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe as “the most peaceful place” he ever played.
 

_ John Smoltz is less likely to pay tribute to Montreal in his induction speech today, but maybe he should. His performance in the city definitely helped him earn his plaque in Cooperstown. In 26 career games at Olympic Stadium, Smoltz was 10-3 with a 2.01 ERA – that’s his best ERA at any big league park. You might also remember that Smoltz was the winner of Game 5 of the 1992 World Series played at the SkyDome. In that contest, Smoltz held the Toronto Blue Jays to two runs on five hits in six innings and out-dueled Jack Morris in the Braves’ 7-2 victory.

_ Craig Biggio, another of the inductees, should also have found memories of playing against the Expos. The Astros star had the first multi-hit game of his big league career against the Expos on July 4, 1988 at the Astrodome. In that contest, he batted eighth and went 2-for-4. He was a catcher at the time, but that didn’t stop him from legging out his first major league triple in the third inning. 
 
_ Jose Bautista belted his 224th home run as a Blue Jay in Friday night’s game in Seattle. With that round-tripper, he passed Vernon Wells to move into second place on the Blue Jays’ all-time list. Wells congratulated Bautista on Twitter on Saturday morning. “Congrats @joeybats but good luck with that next guy! Uff, he hit a lot of homers! @carlosdelgado #BlueJays.” For the record, Delgado clubbed 336 homers as a Blue Jay.

_ Even talk show legend Larry King has an opinion about the Blue Jays these days. On Thursday he tweeted, “The @BlueJays are a mystery to me, I thought they’d be a lot better. I think they’re going to make a deal before next week.”

_ Happy 78th birthday to Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Pete Ward. The Montreal native made his big league debut with the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 21, 1962 and hit a two-run single against the Minnesota Twins in his first big league at bat. Following that season, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox in a blockbuster deal that brought Luis Aparicio to Baltimore. In his first season with the White Sox, he hit .295, smashed 22 home runs and was named The Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year. For an encore, he slugged 23 homers and knocked in a career-best 94 runs in 1964. Unfortunately, he suffered a neck injury in a car accident in 1965 that would hamper him for the rest of his career. He played his final season with the New York Yankees in 1970. After retiring as a player, he managed for eight seasons in the minors with the Yankees, White Sox and Pirates. He currently resides in Lake Oswego, Oregon. 
  
_ Thirty-one years ago today, Pete Rose singled twice for the Expos in their 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium. His second single in that game was the 3,052nd of his career tying him with Ty Cobb for the most all-time.

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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