By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
The Guelph Sports Hall of Fame is set to honor a handful of individuals as part of an induction ceremony scheduled for later this spring.
Included in the hall’s class of 2017 is well-known angler John Vandivier, long-time hockey official Harry Greene, impactful builder Jim Rooney and a pair of baseball standouts in Jeremy Ware and the 1966 CJOY Baseball Club.
Ware, 41, is a former Montreal Expos draft pick, who appeared in parts of 10 minor-league seasons between 1995 and 2004. Topping out at triple-A, the right-handed swinging outfielder hit .262 with 76 home runs and a career OPS of .726 over 897 games before going on to star with the independent Edmonton Cracker-Cats in 2005.
In 2006, the CCVI graduate finished second on the Cats with a .436 slugging percentage, seven points higher than former Blue Jays minor-league hitting instructor Stubby Clapp. In addition to Clapp, Ware also played alongside Michael Barrett, Simon Pond, Charlie O’Brien, Brad Wilkerson, Brian Tallet, Scott Richmond and 2017 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Tim Raines, all of which have spent time in the Toronto organization at various points throughout their professional career.
On the international level, the 2003 Eastern League All-Star suited up for Team Canada as a member of the 1999 Pan-Am games and again as a key contributor to the 2004 Summer Olympics squad, a team that finished fourth in the tournament behind only Cuba, Australia, and Japan, respectively. During his Olympic appearance in Athens, Ware hit .357 (5/14) with a double and two home runs while posting a team-leading slugging percentage of .857.
A year removed from making his Olympic debut in Greece, Ware returned to Team Canada and slashed a robust .435/.552/.609 over eight games during the Baseball World Cup in the Netherlands.
With career highlights that include three World Cup appearances, five Olympic qualifiers, two All-Star nods and a pair of championships with both the New York-Penn League in 1996 and the Eastern League in 1999, the multi-sport star retired from professional baseball following the 2006 season.
“While scouting during the 1990’s for the Blue Jays, I had the pleasure of observing Jeremy perform for the Guelph midget baseball team in the Inter-County League,” recalled Ed Heather, senior advisor to the Ontario Terriers. “Without a doubt, he was the epitome of what scouts are looking for. Along with the God a given ability for playing baseball, his passion and love for the game was evident.”
“Over the years of playing professionally, he carried on with the same attitude both on and off the field,” added Heather. “I’m extremely happy Jeremy has been chosen for induction into the Guelph Sports hall of fame. A most worthy inductee.”
He later returned to Guelph in 2007 and joined the Intercounty Baseball League’s (IBL) Guelph Royals, leading the club in home runs (9) and RBIs (34) during his first full season with the team.
Sticking with the IBL, the long-standing circuit will have another entrant in Guelph’s hall this May.
Sponsored by a popular local radio station, the 1966 CJOY Intercounty Club finished their regular season with a record of 21-7 and would go on to earn the IBL championship. With a core of players who hailed from the Royal City, the C-Joys followed their impressive 1966 campaign by besting their previous performance with 22-6 record in ‘67.
To this day their combined record of 43-13 over the two-year span remains an IBL best.
Established in 1992, the city’s Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization that honours the many achievements of Guelph’s most prominent sporting figures, builders, and overall contributors to the development of sport in the city. Once inducted, the names of those individuals recognized by the board of directors are enshrined within a permanent display at the Sleeman Centre, home of the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm.
The 2017 induction ceremony will be held during the Kiwanis Sports Celebrity dinner at the Italian Canadian Club on Wednesday, May 17th in Guelph. Tickets will be made available to the public beginning on March 10th and can be purchased by calling 419-822-1260 (extension 2033).
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