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Baseball’s Hall of Fame inducts a Blue Jay – finally!

Friday, January 21, 2011 @ 10:01 PM

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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