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Archive for January, 2011

I’ve had cause throughout my life to meet up with interesting people in politics, entertainment and sports.  As a baseball fan, I had the opportunity in the early 70’s to see Fergie Jenkins pitch for Chicago at, of all places, Jarry Park in Montreal.  In the mid 1980’s I worked on Fergie’s campaign when he ran for the provincial Liberals in Windsor Ontario. Although Fergie lost, his career as a baseball Hall of Famer was secured.

In the latter part of the 70’s my relative, Clem Kealey, a well known sports writer for the Sun, introduced me and many of his nephews, in the Kealey clan to new Jays like  Roy Hartsfield , the controversial first GM who recently died and, Lloyd Moseby one of the original Jays drafted in 1978.

In the early 90’s, like many in Canada, I watched the Jays win. Greats like Dave Stieb, who never got in the Hall of Fame (but should), were superstars. The Jays, it seemed were Canada’s team. I remember being in Yukon on an election campaign and managed several times to watch the Jays on TV up there too.

In the latter part of the 1990’s, I was coaching  AAA junior baseball (17 and 18 year olds) in Mississauga. We had our own version of spring training (10 days in March) in La Romana, Dominican Republic.  At their stadium, home of the Toro’s, we had the unparalleled experience of being coached by Epy Guerrero, legendary scout for the Blue Jays who brought with him Tony Fernandez.  Imagine being coached on how to hold a bat at the plate (like playing a “flute”) by the inimitable Tony Fernandez?  Magic! The boys loved it and cherish that experience to this day!

In the past couple of years, I had the honour of associating with my all-time Jays fave – Roberto Alomar.  He is one of the nicest folks I have ever met and despite his fame, is down to earth and highly attuned to his status as a major contributor to baseball.

Roberto has transitioned his career from baseball to business in a manner much different from other baseball greats.  He has not so much relied on his glory days, as he has concentrated on ensuring that young kids remain active and healthy.  His adherence to physical fitness is manifest in his sculpted frame.  Roberto appears humbled by his induction in the HOF – he remains a gentleman.  Toronto, Canada Jays fans and sports fans should be proud!

- Marc Kealey
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The sad news was received that former Liberal giant Keith Davey has died. This is big news for political types in Canada.  Davey typified Liberal politics in Canada and was the reason why many know the Liberal brand so well.

Whether it was in his role as the National Director of the Liberal Party when the “New Politics” was introduced in Canada.  When Lester Pearson (Mike) became PM in the early 60’s, it was largely recognized that the central Liberal Party figure that brought about the dramatic return to power was Keith Davey.

Davey broadened the base of support for the Party in those days, increased grass roots consultation in the Party, fixed the strained relations between the provincial and federal wings of the Party and created a process for increasing fundraising efforts for the Party.  These principles exist today and that is his legacy.

Synonymous with his roots in the Liberal Party, he was also a die-hard supporter of the Canadian Football League and Canadian baseball.

In short, Davey brought a whole bunch of fun into politics in Canada.  As a young Liberal  growing up in the seventies, I had cause to interact with the “Rain Maker” in national elections.  In the latter part of the Trudeau era, Davey was the reason why so many people like me loved “practical politics” – working in campaigns, creating effective riding associations and advising elected officials.

When I worked for former Prime Minister John Turner in the early 1980’s we fought the federal election in 1984 under Davey.  He was classic! Everyone knew we were going to get “smoked”, but he put on the toughest of skins as the Director of that campaign and motivated the hell out of all of us in the field.  In short – like everything else in which he was involved, it was fun!

He’s going be missed and we’re all blessed for having experienced his enormous presence.

- Marc Kealey
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