canada-mountieWith the World Baseball Classic coming up, we here at UmpBump couldn’t help noticing how many good young players there are on the team from Canada, so we figured it was time to revisit the All-Time Canada team.

You will recall that last time, we had a bit of trouble filling out the whole team.  But with some of the new players that have come onto the scene since then, and a little more digging into history, we find that its quite easy nowadays to field a full All-Canadian squad that is actually very very good.

Here’s the starting lineup we came up with…

russell-martinC Russell Martin
1B Justin Morneau
2B Dave McKay
3B Corey Koskie
SS Frank O’Rourke
LF Tip O’Neill
CF Jason Bay
RF Larry Walker

As you can see, this is actually a pretty decent lineup. Outfield is a particular strength, where George Selkirk (127 OPS+) and Jeff Heath (139 OPS+) just missed the cut, but would definitely be part of a very powerful bench, along with 1B Joey Votto and DH (when necessary) Matt Stairs. Tip O’Neill vies with pitcher Fergie Jenkins for the title of Greatest Canadian Baseball Player Ever, having batted .435 for the 1887 St. Louis Browns and having topped .300 six other times. Poor Corey Koskie was a superior defender at third and a very patient hitter at the plate before a horrific concussion derailed his career. The middle infield is the major weakness, where O’Rourke and McKay provide little offense, although McKay did make it into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, mostly on account of his long and distinguished coaching career.

fergiejenkinsWhere the Canucks really gear it up is in the starting rotation:

SP1 Ferguson Jenkins
SP2 Russ Ford
SP3 Rich Harden
SP4 Erik Bedard
SP5 Ryan Dempster

Ferguson Jenkins, the only Canadian-born Hall of Famer thus far, once won 20 games or more in 7 out of 8 seasons including a run of 6 in a row, while Russ Ford won 20 games 3 times while compiling a 2.59 career ERA. And Rich Harden is famously fragile, of course, but when healthy he has compiled a 136 career ERA+.

Another major strength of the Canadians is their kickass bullpen, which is worth listing in full…gagne-727840

CL Eric Gagne
RP John Hiller
RP Paul Quantrill
RP Jesse Crain
RP Jeff Zimmerman
RP Rheal Cormier

Eric Gagne had the greatest run of any reliever in the history of the game for three years from 2002-04, and John Hiller was a dominant finisher for Detroit in the ’60s and ’70s, with a career ERA+ of 134. Paul Quantrill and Rheal Cormier both enjoyed long, successful careers, while Jeff Zimmerman was brilliant before flaming out from injuries.

The Final Verdict: The Canadian team is very good, and could probably win the World Baseball Classic, but it would have some trouble trying to match up to some of the other all-time teams we’ve profiled here on UmpBump, such as the Mormons or the Smiths, and its fragile pitching staff would face injury woes over any extended period of time.

2 Responses to “UmpBump Presents: The All-Canadian Team”

  1. OK. If we are talking the ALL-TIME Canadian team we need some changes!
    Short good careers don’t make the ALL-TIME list. Longevity make the ALL-TIME list.
    C-George Gibson-1231 games (Martin 427-one day yes Martin, but not yet)
    2nd-Pop Smith-1112 games (McKay 600 games)
    SS-Arthur Irwin-1010 games (O’Rourke played mostly 3rd in his career)
    OF-O’Neill, Walker, Terry Puhl-1531 games-best defensive OF % in MLB)
    DH-Jeff Heath-1383 games (can mash the ball-career .509SLG)

    Reggie Cleveland (over 100 Wins)
    Kirk McCaskill (over 100 wins)
    Ron Taylor-800IN, career 3.93, 2 WS rings
    Claue Raymond-721IN, 3.63ERA

    No arguments!

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Hey Scott, thanks a lot for offering up your version!

    We all have our own opinion I guess, but it seems like from your approach you just count up games played and make a team out of the guys with the most games played at each position! I daresay you will find most people do not share your definition of “all-time best.”

    As for myself, I was approaching it more from a perspective of asking myself which players were the most talented at each position, regardless of how long they played.

    Russell Martin, for example, is a far, far superior player to George Gibson. Who would you rather have on your team for a 7-game series?

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