Halladay, Guerrero among Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductees

Roy Halladay (Ric Francis/AP)

TORONTO – Two of the most talented players ever to star on Canadian teams will be recognized in St. Mary’s, Ont. this summer when they’re inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Roy Halladay, who pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays for 12 seasons, and Vladimir Guerrero, who spent the first eight years of his career playing for the Montreal Expos, lead the 2017 class, which will be honoured June 24. Past Baseball Canada president Ray Carter and the 2015 Canadian men’s team that won gold at the Pan-Am Games will also be honoured, while umpire Doug Hudlin will be inducted posthumously.

Halladay, the Blue Jays’ first round pick in 1995, established himself as an elite pitcher by 2002 and won the 2003 American League Cy Young. His Blue Jays career included six all-star appearances, seven opening day starts and a 148-76 won-loss record. He ranks second in franchise history in wins, strikeouts (1,495) and wins above replacement (48.5).

“Toronto has been my home away from home throughout my career and even to this day,” said Halladay, whose 16-year-old son was born in Toronto. “It was a privilege to live and play in Canada for as long as I did. The people here were kind, supportive, respectful and always seemed to welcome me home even when I came to visit and sat in the wrong dugout.

“To be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is just another example of exceptional treatment I have received from Canada.”

After the Blue Jays traded Halladay to Philadelphia he continued to excel, winning the 2010 Cy Young Award, throwing a perfect game and pitching a no-hitter in the playoffs for the first time in National League history.

For eight seasons in Montreal, Guerrero was as dominant at the plate as Halladay was on the mound. A gifted hitter who could make contact on just about any pitch, Guerrero made four all-star teams with the Expos, won three Silver Sluggers and earned MVP votes in six of eight seasons. Along the way he set franchise records for batting average (.323), home runs (234) and OPS (.978).

Like Halladay, Guerrero’s success continued after he left Canada. As a member of the Angels in 2004 he won the American League MVP. He retired with 449 career home runs and a .931 OPS—production that earned him a spot on 71.7 percent of ballots in his first shot at induction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and suggests induction to Cooperstown could occur as soon as 2018.

“I was surprised and excited to hear that I’m being inducted,” Guerrero said. “I knew that I would need to wait at least one more year to join the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but I’m very pleased to join the Canadian hall of fame first, since I was given my first opportunity to play Major League Baseball in Canada.”

Carter, the president of Baseball Canada from 2000-2016, said he was “deeply honoured” by his upcoming induction. He helped establish the women’s national team in 2004 and oversaw 13 international medals for the Canada’s men’s and women’s teams during his tenure.

Hudlin umpired in Canada from 1953 until 1992, becoming one of British Columbia’s most-respected officials. In 1967, he became the first non-American umpire to work the Little League World Series.

Finally, the Hall of Fame will honour the men’s team that won Gold at the Pan-Am Games with a 7-6 extra innings win over the United States on July 19, 2015.

“The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame includes inductees that have had a significant impact on baseball in our country, so to be a part of this group is truly an honour,” said Baseball Canada director of national teams Greg Hamilton.

“Each member of this year’s class has had a tremendously positive impact on baseball in Canada,” said Scott Crawford, the director of operations for the Hall of Fame. “We will not only be celebrating the careers of two of the greatest professional players ever to suit up for the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos, but also two highly respected grassroots leaders and a gold-medal-winning national team that made history on home soil.”

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