* OF Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, BC) played 1,988 games including the 1993 Montreal Expos when he had four Canadians as teammates. With the Blue Jays soon to have three active Canucks, Neil Munro takes a look at teams with three of more Canadians to appear on the same roster.
Major League Teams With Three Or More Canadians On Their Playing Roster (1876 – 2015)
By Neil Munro
Canadian Baseball Network
As the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays continue their season-opening series against the New York Yankees, their roster features with three Canadian born players.
This is now is a fitting time to take retrospective journey back through the annals of major league baseball to look back at the number of times a major league ball club has featured three (or more) Canadians at some
First, we will note that the major league baseball has existed from 1876 through this 2015 season and at one point or another, featured six different organizations which were considered to officially wear the designation of a “major league.”
These six leagues include National League (the maiden organization) active in every one of the seasons from 1876 to the present, the American League (1901 to the present), the American Association (1882-1891), the fledgling Union Association (only in 1884), the Players League (as one lone season in 1890) and the Federal League (it last two years, 1914 and 1915). It bears mentioning that the National Association (active between 1871 and 1875) is considered to be a major league by many historians (it featured professional players attached to teams playing a set schedule of games) but just two Canadians saw any action in the NA, so no teams appear from it in any case.
In addition, we will specify the meaning of a Canadian ballplayer in terms of the list appearing below.
To qualify as a “Canadian” here, the player must have been born in Canada, hold dual Canadian citizenship with some other nationality (usually American) or he moved to Canada from abroad at an early age and then becoming a Canadian citizen. The total number of Canadians (by this definition) who have appeared in at least one game at the major league level is 255. Of these, ten had dual citizenship or moved to Canada as a youngster.
Following the these guidelines, there have been a total of 34 major league teams that featured three or more Canadian ballplayers on their roster and each of those players made at appearance in at least one game. Six of these 34 teams had four players on the roster and one team – the 1995 Montreal Expos – had five Canadians appearing in at least one game.
The five 1993 Expos were Larry Walker, Dennis Boucher, Matt Stairs, Joe Siddall and Mike Gardiner. Walker was already a genuine all-star by 1993, slugging 22 home runs, collecting 86 RBI and stealing 29 bases, all while capturing his second straight Gold Glove Award for his stellar work in right field. The other four made infrequent appearances as reserves (with Siddall playing in 19 big league games, Gardiner 24 games, Stairs six games and Boucher seeing action in five contests).
Indeed, if you scan down the number of playing appearances that the Canadians had in the table below, you will see that the vast majority did not see much action.
There were a few exceptions to the rule however, and several ball players on the following list made significant contributions to their team’s success. Jeff Heath played 147 games for the Cleveland Indians in 1942, knocking out 10 HRs with 76 RBIs while batting .278. Walker was even better for the 1992 Expos (they had “just” three Canadians that year) than he was for the 1993 club. Larry batted .301, with 23 HRs and 93 RBIs. He played in the All-star game that year and was named to the National League Silver Slugger squad, won his first Gold Glove and finished 5th in the NL MVP vote in 1992. Corey Koskie hit 25 HRs with 71 RBIs in just 118 games with the 2004 Twins. Paul Quantrill pitched 77 games of stellar relief with the Blue Jays in 1997, posting an ERA of 1.94 that year.
Of course the expectation is that Russell Martin, Dalton Pompey and Michael Saunders will all play significant roles in the Blue Jays’ quest to return to post-season action after a 21-season layoff. Martin is one the best catchers in major league base defensively, exceptional at gunning down opposing base runners and blocking the plate on errant throws (which will come in handy when knuckballer takes to the mound. In addition, Martin always has an above average on-base percentage and possesses good power and speed (especially for a catcher). In fact, Martin hit a key two-run single to help the Jays defeat the Yankees in their opening day victory.
The hope is that Dalton Pompey will carry a high enough batting average to remain in the line-up on a regular basis and put his spectacular speed to good use in the outfield and on the base paths.
Saunders is also a very dependable outfielder who can also be a power threat. After injuring his knee during spring training he’s expected to come off the disabled list before the end of the month.
It remains to be seen whether the Blue Jays’ top brass will see fit to bring up two more Canadians — lefties Andrew Albers and Jeff Francis are at triple-A Buffalo — sometime during the season, so that the 2015 Blue Jay roster can join the 1993 Montreal Expos as the club featuring five home-town heroes. The full list of all major league ball clubs with three or more
Canadians on their rosters is listed below.
5 players – 1 time
4 players – 6 times
3 players- 27 times
Year Team (League) Number Players Games
1884 Indianapolis (AA) 4 players — Chub Collins 38
John Morrison 44
Tug Thompson 24
Bill Watkins 34
1884 Boston (UA) 4 players — John Irwin 105
Jim McKeever 16
Patrick Scanlon 6
1884 Detroit (NL) Joe Weber 2
Fred Wood 12
George Wood 114
1887 New York (AA) Jimmy Knowles 16
1889 Philadelphia (NL) Arthur Irwin 18
George Wood 97
1890 Pittsburgh (NL) Sam LaRoque 1
Fred Osborne 41
1903 Chicago (NL) Clarence Currie 6
1912 Boston (NL) Bill Jones 3
Doc Miller 51
1942 Cleveland (AL) Paul Calvert 1
Jeff Heath 147
1946 Pittsburgh (NL) Ed Bahr 27
Frank Colman 26
1949 Philadelphia (AL) Dick Fowler 31
1952 Philadelphia (AL) Dick Fowler 18
Bob Hooper 43
1961 Milwaukee (NL) Ken MacKenzie 5
Ron Piche 12
1965 Houston (NL) Ken MacKenzie 21
Ron Taylor 32
1991 Toronto (AL) Denis Boucher 7
Rob Ducey 39
1992 Montreal (NL) Matt Maysey 2
Matt Stairs 13
Larry Walker 143
1992 Boston (AL) Mike Gardiner 28
1993 Montreal (NL) 5 players — Denis Boucher 5
Mike Gardiner 24
Joe Siddall 19
Matt Stairs 6
Larry Walker 138
1997 Toronto (AL) Rich Butler 7
Paul Quantrill 77
1998 Seattle (AL) Rob Ducey 97
1999 Toronto (AL) 4 players — Rob Butler 8
Paul Quantrill 41
Paul Spoljaric 37
2004 Minnesota (AL) Jesse Crain 22
Corey Koskie 118
2006 Kansas City (AL) 4 players — Ryan Braun 9
Aaron Guiel 19
Matt Stairs 77
Mark Teahen 109
2007 Baltimore (AL) Erik Bedard 28
2010 Milwaukee (NL) John Axford 50
2011 Minnesota (AL) Scott Diamond 7
Rene Tosoni 60
2011 Milwaukee (NL) John Axford 74
Taylor Green 20
2011 Toronto (AL) 4 players — Brett Lawrie 43
Adam Loewen 14
Mark Teahen 27
2012 Milwaukee (NL) 4 players — John Axford 75
Taylor Green 58
George Kottaras 58
2012 Toronto (AL) Brett Lawrie 125
2013 Minnesota (AL) Andrew Albers 10
Justin Morneau 127
2013 Pittsburgh (NL) Russell Martin 127
Justin Morneau 25
2013 Seattle (AL) Jason Bay 68
Michael Saunders 132
2014 Toronto (AL) Brett Lawrie 70
George Kottaras 4
Dalton Pompey 17
2015 Toronto (AL) Russell Martin ?
Dalton Pompey ?
Michael Saunders ?
(Legend: National League 1876 – Present Abbreviation – NL; American League 1901 – Present Abbreviation – AL; American Association 1882 – 1891 Abbreviation – AA; Union Association 1884 Abbreviation – UA; Players League 1890 Abbreviation – PL; Federal League 1914 – 1915 Abbreviation – FL)