TORONTO- A list of current and former big leaguers including Larry Walker, Justin Morneau, Joey Votto, Jason Bay, Russell Martin and Ryan Dempster along with John Axford, Jeff Francis, Chris Reitsma, Pete Orr, Dalton Pompey and Jim Henderson were part of the festivities Saturday evening as the 15th annual National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser took place at the Renaissance Toronto Downtown.
Former big leaguer Paul Quantrill was the latest inductee onto the Baseball Canada Wall of Excellence, presented by RBC Wealth Management, in a presentation that included his former teammate and 1996 Cy Young Award winner Pat Hentgen.
Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro presented a $25,000 cheque to Baseball Canada President Jason Dickson, while Major League Baseball with former Expo Steve Rogers making the presentation made a $40,000 donation, and RBC Wealth Management donated $20,000.
The evening also included award presentations to Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Andrew Yerzy, who picked up the Junior National Team MVP Award capping a three-year stint with the junior team; Dustin Molleken, who made his MLB debut in 2016 after 13 seasons in the minors took home the Stubby Clapp Award, presented by Mizuno Canada; Tyler O’Neill who after a standout season that saw him capture Southern League MVP honours was given the Alumni Award, presented by the Junior National Team Business Manager Larry Pearson.; Adam Hall, was presented with the fourth annual Canadian Futures Award, presented by the Toronto Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Hall was busy in 2016 playing with the Junior National Team and also participated in the Under Armour All-America at Wrigley Field and the Perfect Game All-America Game at Petco park in San Diego; Former big leaguer Ryan Dempster was awarded with the Special Recognition Award, presented by the MLBPA for his long-standing contributions to the National Teams program.
Dempster later entertained the crowd auctioning off his famous Chicago Cubs Fantasy Baseball Package; Michael Saunders made the All-Star Game for the first time in his big league career in 2016, was given the Special Achievement Award presented by MLBPA. Finally, former MVPs Larry Walker and Justin Morneau were honoured with the 33 Canadian MVPs Award celebrating their tremendous impact on Canadian baseball and the National Teams program.
Baseball Canada would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you to the alumni, corporate partners and friends who attended. We look forward to seeing you next year on January 13, 2018!