* Dalton Pompey (centre) had a busy week making a name for himself, homering off Felix Hernandez and compiling a trio of extra-base hits in the opener of Toronto’s final series of the season. That and more in Kevin Glew’s weekly column: ‘But What do I Know?’….
By Kevin Glew
My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:
- It’s been quite a week for Mississauga, Ont., native Dalton Pompey. On Tuesday, he belted a homer off of Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez to become the ninth Canadian to hit a home run for the Toronto Blue Jays. The other eight are Dave McKay (Vancouver, B.C.), Paul Hodgson (Marysville, N.B.), Rob Ducey (Cambridge, Ont.), Corey Koskie (Anola, Man.), Simon Pond (North Vancouver, B.C.), Matt Stairs (Saint John, N.B.), Brett Lawrie (Langley, B.C) and Adam Loewen (Surrey, B.C.).
- For an encore, on Friday, Pompey became the first Canadian to register two triples in a game for the Jays and one day earlier, Pompey and George Kottaras (Scarborough, Ont.) became the first two players from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to start in the same game for the Jays. The lineup card from Thursday’s contest is en route to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont.
- New Westminster, B.C., native Justin Morneau, whose .319 batting average gives him a one-point edge over Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison for the National League batting title, sat out Saturday’s game. The Pirates game begins before the Rockies game on Sunday, so Rockies manager Walt Weiss says he will monitor Harrison’s performance before he makes a decision on whether he’ll play Morneau. “He’s (Morneau) worked very hard to put himself in this position,” Weiss told MLB.com about his plan to protect Morneau’s lead in the batting race. “People talk about backing into a batting title and all that stuff. I don’t think there is such a thing. It takes six months to win it. I don’t know how you back into something that takes six months to win. He’s had a great, great year, and it’s icing on the cake.” As noted in an earlier column, if Morneau wins the batting crown, it would mean that a Canadian wearing number 33 for the Rockies has won the title four times in the past 16 seasons. Maple Ridge, B.C., native Larry Walker topped the NL in batting average in 1998, 1999 and 2001.
- George Spencer, who pitched part of the 1963 season with the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs, passed away on September 10 at the age of 88 in Columbus, Ohio. The 6-foot-1 right-hander toed the rubber in parts of eight big league seasons with the New York Giants and Detroit Tigers between 1950 and 1960. His finest big league campaign came in 1951 when he registered 10 wins and posted a 3.75 ERA in 57 games for the Giants. Following his playing career, he worked as a pitching instructor in the Tigers and Cincinnati Reds organizations before returning to Ohio to become a sheet metal worker. He’s survived by his wife, Billie, two daughters, a son and two grandchildren. You can read his full obituary here.
- Big leaguer “Quiet Joe” Knight was born in Port Stanley, Ont., on this date in 1859.The left-handed pitcher/outfielder was a local standout before getting his first taste of big league action with the National League’s Philadelphia Quakers in 1884. Between 1885 and 1889, he starred with International League clubs in London and Hamilton, prior to returning to the big leagues with the Cincinnati Reds in 1890.In 127 games with the Reds that season, he batted .312 and knocked in 67 runs. He returned to the minors the ensuing campaign and played his final nine seasons primarily in the Eastern League. In all, in parts of 16 seasons in the minors, Knight hit .335. For his efforts, he was elected to the International League (IL) Hall of Fame posthumously in 2009. His IL Hall of Fame trophy is on display at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont.
- If you think you’re going to go through Blue Jays withdrawal after the team’s finale on Sunday, here’s a list ex-Jays you can cheer on in the post-season: Travis Snider, Pittsburgh; Jayson Werth, Washington; Brandon League, Los Angeles; Kelly Johnson, Baltimore; Rajai Davis, Detroit; Jason Frasor, Kansas City; Scott Downs, Kansas City; John McDonald, Anaheim and Jesse Chavez, Oakland.
– Follow Kevin Glew on Twitter @coopincanada