2015 Tip O'Neill contenders led by Luchanski, Martin, Orr, Votto
Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame taking votes for O’Neill award
By Danny Gallagher
Nicole Luchanski was so good for Team Canada in Ajax last July.
So good that the second baseman from Edmonton is a nomination for Canada’s baseball player of the year in voting for the Tip O’Neill Award as organized by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont.
Luchanski, 25, batted a second-best .533 in the tournament among at the Pan Am Games to help propel Canada to a silver medal. Luchanski’s slugging percentage was tops at .800, she was second in RBI with six and she scored four runs.
Luchanski is up against Canadian stars such as Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, who hit 23 homers and drove in 77 runs to help the franchise to the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Martin, a Toronto native, also threw out an American League-high 32 baserunners and boasted the best caught-stealing percentage (44.4%) of any AL receiver.
Joey Votto of the Reds is also in the running as the O’Neill winner. The Toronto native walked a major-league leading 143 times. He also tied Pete Rose’s Reds’ record by reaching base in 48 consecutive games.
Colorado Rockies closer John Axford of Port Dover, Ont. is also as a candidate based on his 25 saves.
The winner will be announced Dec. 4 and you, the fan, can participate. The deadline is Nov. 25. You can vote at baseballhallof fame.ca. The hall of fame also has a voting committee that helps pick the winner.
Others mentioned are Brett Lawrie, Dalton Pompey, Adam Loewen, Justin Morneau, Andrew Albers, Jeff Francis, Pete Orr, Tyler O’Neill, Philippe Aumont and Jamie Romak.
Speaking of the hall of fame, the organization has begun its annual Christmas silent auction with over 50 items up for grabs such as autographed memorabilia, bats, food, Jays’ tickets, clothing, memberships, music lessons and more. You have lots of time to submit your bids because the deadline isn’t until Dec. 14.
Among the items up for grabs are signed jerseys by Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson, a signed bat by Martin and a 2015 team-signed Blue Jays ball. The value of the jerseys signed by Bautista and Donaldson are $450 and the bidding starts at $300. Martin’s bat value is $225 and the bidding commences at $150.
Then there’s a Roberto Alomar signed bat, a Matt Stairs signed baseball, a Votto signed ball, a Carlos Delgado signed jersey, a Michael Saunders game-day bat and a Saunders Canada Day jersey.
A tour for 10 of the famous Steam Whistle brewery in Toronto is among the other items along with passes to the Stratford Festival and the Hockey Hall of Fame. You want a seat from old Exhibition Stadium? It’s available, too.