According to the information provided by Sean Forman's brilliant BaseballReference.com, there have been more than 200 Canadian-born major league ballplayers, men actually born in The True North Strong and Free.
Before we move on to an international Hall of Names challenge, let's see if we can't build the best possible 25-man roster from this considerable pool of candidates; your arguments and corrections are welcome and invited!
So here we go, let's welcome ...
The CBC (Canadian Baseball Club)
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
@ indicates active in 2005
MGR: Bill Watkins (Brantford, ONT native won 454, 1884-99)
C George "Mooney" Gibson (.236, just 132K in 3776 AB, 1905-18)
1B Justin Morneau@ (.248, 45 homers through 2005)
2B Dave McKay (.229, 1975-82)
SS Arthur "Doc" Irwin (.241, 93 SB, 1880-94)
3B Corey Koskie@ (.277, 112 homers through 2005)
LF Larry Walker@* (.310, 383 homers through 2005)
CF Tip O'Neill (.326, 1883-92)
RF Jeff Heath* (.293, 194 homers in 14 years)
DH Matt Stairs@ (.267, 207 homers through 2005)
C Jay "Nig" Clarke (.255 in 1536 AB, 1905-20)
3B/SS/2B Frank O'Rourke (.254, 1912-31)
IF Danny Klassen (.226, 1998-2003)
OF Jason Bay@* (.295, 62 homers through 2005)
OF Terry Puhl* (.280, 217 SB in 15 years)
3B/1B/OF Pete Ward (.254, 98 homers, 1962-70)
RHSP Fergie Jenkins** (284-226)
RHSP Russ Ford (48-17, 1910-11; 99-71 career)
RHSP Rich Harden@ (26-16 through 2005)
LHSP Jeff Francis@ (17-14 through 2005)
5SP-RH Kirk McCaskill (106-108)
CL-RH Eric Gagne@* (169 saves through 2005)
RH-SET Ryan Dempster@* (33 saves in 2005)
LH-SET John Hiller* (86-76, 125 saves)
RH-LONG Reggie Cleveland (105-106, 25 saves)
LH-LONG Rheal Cormier (69-61, 2 saves)
Among Those Not Making the Cut ...
Who else belongs on this list, even?
RHRP Paul Quantrill@ (68-78, 21 saves through 2005)
RHSP Jason Dickson* (26-25, 1996-2000)
RHRP Jesse Crain@ (15-5 through 2005)
RHRP Claude Raymond (46-53, 83 saves)
OF Jack Graney (.250, 148 SB, 1910-22)
OF Doc Miller (.295, 1910-14)
OF Goody Rosen (.291, 1937-46)
O, Canada ... Sure, there's only the one lefty in the rotation, but Jeff Francis going to be a good one -- besides, Rheal Cormier is around to take a start against a tough lineup calling for a southpaw stint ... Just about any team in baseball would love to have a 2007-09 team with Francis and Rich Harden (not to mention Erik Bedard) in the rotation and Eric Gagne, set up by Ryan Dempster and Jesse Crain, closing ... Unless I missed someone, Kirk McCaskill, Reggie Cleveland and of course Fergie Jenkins are the only three native Canadians to have cracked triple digits in victories, though Francis and Harden (barring injury, knock wood) could well get there in a few years ...
And what a bullpen! Jeff (and Jordan) Zimmerman, Paul Quantrill and Claude Raymond don't even make the team, for goodness sakes, as Gagne and Hiller have both held single-season save records -- Gagne's is NL-only, of course ... Throw in Dempster, and you have a new t-shirt slogan, "Canada is for Closers."
Terry Puhl's 217 and Larry Walker's 230 lead all Canadian natives in career SB ... Walker is the only Canadian to have surpassed 2,000 hits, with a presumably career-final total of 2,160 ... Mike Jones was a LHSP with the 1890 Louisville Colonels and retired from basebal undefeated (2-0 in three starts) and a career OPS of .889 (four singles in nine at-bats) at the tender age of 24 ... But Jones not only doesn't have the best batting average of Canadian-born major leaguers, it's not even the best career mark among "O'" players on his own team, as Dan O'Connor hit .462 (12-for-26 in his only big league time) playing 1B for those very same 1890 Louisville Colonels ...
Speaking of tender ages, Frank O'Rourke made his big league debut with the 1912 Braves at 17, but hit .122 and didn't return to The Show until 1917 with the Brooklyn Robins ... Jean-Pierre Roy has the most French-Canadian sounding name of those Canucks who made it to the majors, but his career stalled after a three-game, 6.1 IP showing with the 1946 Dodgers ...
Catching Up: Thanks to Bauxite editorial staffers Mike Moffatt and Leigh Sprague for thinking up -- in no time flat -- our starting and backup catchers; I was stuck on Pete LaForest, but as it turns out, we actually can do better! ... Dan "Magpie" McIlroy added on the subject of our starting backstop, "I think George Gibson is also of passing historical interest -- I believe he and [Roger] Bresnahan were the first catchers to adopt shin pads."
Many recent "well known for being Canadian" players, including Stubby Clapp, Rob Butler and Denis Boucher, will have to tune in to hear CBC games on the radio ... This IS the Hall of Names, so we can't go without mentioning a few eye-catching monikers, like Bunk Congalton, Shorty Dee, Roland Gladu, Joe Krakauskas, Brian Ostrosser, Ryan Radmanovich, Pop Smith, Paul Spoljaric (remember him?), Gene Vadeboncoeur, Ozzie Van Brabant, not to forget the aforementioned Mr. Roy ...
Now, here's the test ... Visit the BaseballReference.com page that breaks down major league player birth by U.S. state and/or nationality and build yourself your own Hall of Names team, one that's better'n this here Canadian one. Then send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll publish it here at Batter's Box
Rumour has it that Da Box's own Mike Moffatt will be taking it even a step further and trying to build an All-Southwestern Ontario team, meaning anything in the 519 area code. Can you do him one better, maybe with an All-Toronto team, or Puerto Rico or Cuba or Germany or New York or Maine or California ...