Francona: Wallach was great player, great pal

* Former Expos 3B Tim Wallach, who is being inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys on Saturday, was pals with Terry Francona in the Expos system. The Indians' manager is ecstatic at the honour for his former teammate. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College

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St. Marys 2014: Francona a Wallach worshipper .... Cook enjoyed GM chair best ....

By Bob Elliott

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Clubhouses are quiet places on Sunday morns.

The few lucky Cleveland Indians to gain tickets to the George Strait concert the nite before at AT@T Stadium spoke about their favorite songs they’d heard the night before.

Some were simply enjoying the air condtioning before stepping out into the Texas heat at Globe Life Stadium,

And the Indians manager wasn’t scheduled for a Meet the Press session for about an hour.

Then, Terry Francona heard what the questions were about ... “c’mon in,” said Francona, excited that his former Montreal Expos pal, Tim Wallach, is being inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys Saturday afternoon.

The two were kindred spirits: Wallach, a first round pick of the Expos in 1979 (10th over-all) from the Cal-State Fullerton Titans, and Francona, an Expos first rounder the next June (22nd over-all) from the Arizona Wildcats.

They roamed West Palm Beach together in the spring, travelled the Metro together in Montreal, stayed downtown at the Chateau Lincoln and some years drove home to Beanconsfield together.

“I’m soooo happy for him, people knew the player he was, but I’m not certain everyone knew the person he is,” said Francona. “We’d drive to the park, drive home together. He could be hitting .300 and not say a word how he was doing while I’d be struggling. He had the ability to make you feel good about yourself. He always cared about his teammates.

“He always worried about other guys and never talked about himself.”

People are talking about Wallach, the Los Angeles Dodgers bench coach, Saturday, while his pal is managing the Indians in Detroit. Wallach led the Expos in games played (1,767), hits (1,694), doubles (360), RBIs (905) and total bases (2,728).

In addition to Wallach, former Expos broadcaster Dave Van Horne, who was heard coast-to-coast as Montreal made post-season bids in 1979-80 and came within a win of the 1981 World Series; three-time general manager Murray Cook, of Sackville, N.B., who ran the New York Yankees, Expos and the Cincinnati Reds in the 1980s and the late Jim Ridley, former Team Canada coach and a scout for both the Blue Jays and the Minneosota Twins, will be inducted.

Wallach played first in college, and the outfield and some first in his first two years with the Expos. It wasn’t until after the Expos dealt Larry Parrish to the Texas Rangers in the spring of 1982 that Wallach became the Expos' every day third baseman.

“To become a gold glove winner (three times) after playing the outfield and first base, now that takes some work,” said Francona. “I never saw anyone better on a foul pop up down the line. He could look up once, put his head down and run to the spot like he had radar.

“I remember (coach) Steve Boros hitting him all those ground balls. He was one of the most reliable players in the game. Totally respected, throughout the industry.”

Wallach was a five time all-star.

“He’ll manage someday,” Francona said. “The only reason he’s not is because he was such a good player, he played a lot longer than guys like me ... he started coaching late.”

Wallach has been interviewed to manage the Milwaukee Brewers, the Detroit Tigers and the Seattle Mariners, the Boston Red Sox (although Boston was going through the motions until working out a trade for Blue Jays manager John Farrell).


Murray Cook

Detroit Tigers regional cross checker.

Born: Sackville, N.B.

Age: 73

Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates 21 years, GM New York Yankees, GM Expos, GM Cincinnati Reds, scouted for Minnesota Twins, Miami Marlins, Boston Red Sox and the Tigers.

Other Canadian GMs: George Selkirk, Washington Senators, 1964-69. Gord Ash, Blue Jays, 1995-2001, Doug Melvin, Texas Rangers, 1994-2001; Milwaukee Brewers, 2003-present, Alex Anthopoulos, Blue Jays, 2009 to present.


Jim Ridley

Born: Toronto

Passed away: Brant Hospital, Burlington, 2008.

Playing career: Milwaukee Braves system 1964-65, Intercounty League MVP with Stratford in 1974.

Scouting: Tigers four seasons, Blue Jays 26 years, Twins six years.

Coached: Canadian junior national team from 1983-88, winning bronze in 1983 and 1987; Canadian Olympic team, Pan Am Games.

Honour: The Canadian Baseball Network scout of the year honour has been named the Jim Ridley Award.


Tim Wallach

Los Angeles Dodgers bench coach

Born: Huntington Beach, Calif.

Age: 57

Playing career: Expos 13 seasons, Dodgers four, Angels one, 2,212 games, 8,099 at-bats, 260 homers, career batting average .258, .732 OPS.

Led Expos in: Games (1,767), hits (1,694), doubles (360), RBIs (905) and total bases (2,728); third in runs (737), fourth in home runs (204).

Honours: 5 all-star games, 3 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Slugger awards (1985, 1987). inducted into the Cal State Fullerton Athletics Hall of Fame and College Baseball Hall of Fame.


Dave Van Horne

Miami Marlins broadcaster

Born: Easton, Penn.

Age: 74.

The Expos years: Worked the Expos’ first game on April 8, 1969 until the end of 2000 season

Home run call: “Up, up and away!”

Honours: Earned Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Jack Graney award for broadcasting excellence in 1996, won Ford C. Frick award at Cooperstown in 2011, second Canadian HOF (Tom Cheek is the other) to have win the Graney and Frick awards.