Baseball Canada News

50 for 50: Week 6 voting


Out of the following five choices, which one do you feel should move on to the semi-final round?

Survey is currently unavailable while updates are being made

Monday, June 9, 2014

Baseball Canada’s 50 for 50 contest is designed to find the top moment or story in the 50 year history of the organization.

How the contest works

Week 6 (Voting: June 9th 12pm ET-June 13th 10am ET)

Out of the following five choices, which one do you feel should move on to the semi-final round?

1) BC’s dominance at Baseball Canada Cup-20 medals in 24 years

When looking through the 24-year history of the Baseball Canada Cup, one province stands above the rest in terms of titles won and overall medal count. That province, British Columbia, has ten Baseball Canada Cup titles to their credit and an overall medal count of 20 – impressive when you think that the event has only been around for 24 years. BC took home their first Canada Cup title in Ottawa in 1993 with a roster featuring future big leaguers Ryan Dempster and Kevin Nicholson. After winning bronze in 1994, BC went on a run of three titles in three years from 1995-1997 all under the guidance of Manager Bill Green. In fact, Green was the only Manager the team new from 1989 to 2006 and again in 2009 and 2010. Just as impressive as their run of overall titles and medals won, BC has produced an equally impressive amount of talent including the likes of Jason Bay, Justin Morneau, Jeff Francis, Adam Loewen, Brett Lawrie and Mike Saunders.

2) Canada suffers heartbreak at 2004 Athens Olympics

The 2004 Athens Olympics gave Canada the opportunity to showcase its talent on the biggest stage, and the red and white did not disappoint. Despite players such as Jeff Francis and Justin Morneau being out of the lineup due to restrictions imposed by their respective major league clubs, Canada completed the event at the foot of the podium with a 4th place finish. The semi-final game, which was played at the Helliniko Complex’s Olympic Stadium on August 24th, opposed Canada to a Cuban squad that very much exemplified the definition of a dream team.  Manager Ernie Whitt gave right-handed pitcher Shawn Hill the start, which proved to be a nifty decision as the Montreal Expos prospect held the Cuban powerhouse to two runs over 5 innings. With Hill out of the game, things quickly turned downhill for the Canucks. The 8th inning saw Canada give up six runs on six hits and one error.  Carrying an 8-3 lead into the 9th inning, Cuba was about to get a glimpse of Canadian greatness from this hard working group that Whitt would later refer to as a “blue-collar team”. After making it 8-5 on a home run and a passed ball, and getting two players on base, the table was set for switch-hitter Kevin Nicholson of Surrey, BC. Nicholson took a 2-2 offering from pitcher Noberto Gonzalez to deep left field, where Cuban left-fielder Frederich Cepeda made a leaping catch at the wall to end the game. Although Canada’s presence at the Athens Olympics did not have a typical fairy tale ending, the players gave it a run for the ages, coming inches away from being on top of the baseball world.

3) Baseball Canada introduces Pitch Count restrictions

Baseball Canada established a Long Term Athlete Development project team in 2005 to review the state of baseball programs throughout the country and to make recommendations on an athlete-centered regime to improve our programs and structures. If the name of the game is pitching, then it only made sense for Baseball Canada to develop a system that would ensure the long-term health of our pitchers. The Long Term Athlete Development report outlines an athlete-centered pathway to implement an optimal training, competition and recovery program with relation to biological development and maturation. Issues related to arm safety and the optimal development and rest of the throwing were reviewed thoroughly and at the 2007 Baseball Canada Fall Conference recommendations were brought forward. The recommendations were based on sport science, a review of research on arm safety and an extensive pilot conducted by Baseball Alberta (at all age classes and divisions). Concurrently in 2007, Little League International had introduced a Pitch Count regime based on the recommendations of the American Sports Medicine Institute based on a series of studies carried out on behalf of USA Baseball, Little League International and Major League Baseball. Pitch Count regulations are currently in place at all 13U, 15U, 16U, 18U and Baseball Canada Cup National Championship tournaments.

4) Junior National Team program receives facelift in 1999

In the summer of 1998 Greg Hamilton was hired by Baseball Canada to oversee the Youth Team program (now Junior National Team). When he took over, the program consisted of a National Team being selected out of the Baseball Canada Cup to participate in either a summer tour or world championship. Today, with Hamilton still at the helm, the program consists of multiple events that span almost the entire calendar year and is often looked to by other national federations as model program in terms of competition and player development. Current Junior National Team members are challenged by older and more experienced competition from annual trips to Orlando to play Fall Instructional League or Extended Spring Training Teams. A trip to the Dominican Republic each year provides players not only the chance to play against professional players, but gives them an opportunity to experience life outside of their comfort levels both on and off the field. Since 1999, over 300 players that have participated with the Junior National Team program have gone on to be selected in the MLB Draft including seven first round picks. The program has also been successful in international competition with highlights coming in 2006 with a bronze medal performance at the IBAF 18U World Cup followed by a silver medal performance in 2012.

5) Canada wins bronze at 1993 World University Games

A group of Canadian college players came together in the summer of 1993 for the World University Games in Buffalo featuring some of the top college level talent in the world. Powerhouse Cuba rolled through the competition beating South Korea in the gold medal contest, but it was the upstart Canadians led by Manager Bernie Beckman who took on the roll of upset specialists as they defeated favoured Japan to take the bronze medal game. Big John Cann of Newcastle, New Brunswick belted a home run in the bronze medal contest that took place at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, the Triple-A home of the Buffalo Bisons. A pair of coaches on staff in Jim Baba and Greg Hamilton went on to full-time roles with Baseball Canada and both are still with the organization today, while pitcher Jeff Zimmerman of Kelowna, BC went on to a successful big league career including an All Star Game appearance in 1999.


Out of the following five choices, which one do you feel should move on to the semi-final round?

Survey is currently unavailable while updates are being made

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Survey is currently unavailable while updates are being made

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