Canadian Baseball HOF Opens Doors to George Bell, Tom Cheek


George Bell Baseball CardUnlike its American counterpart, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame had no issues with inducting any living players into its halls in 2013. In fact, they will welcome five members in this year’s class.

According to CBS Sports, among those in the class are late announcer Tom Cheek, Blue Jays’ outfielder George Bell, Expos’ outfielder Tim Raines, Blue Jays outfielder Rob Ducey, and former Vancouver Mounties owner.

George Bell spent 9 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays from 1981 through 1990, and is well placed on the team’s offensive leader boards. A three-time All-Star, Bell was and still is the only winner of the American League Most Valuable Player Award in the team’s history. In 1987, he authored a season for the ages, hitting .308 with 47 home runs, 134 RBI, and a .957 OPS. Bell would finish his career in Chicago, but he will always be remembered as a Blue Jays, where is he honored on the team’s Level of Excellence.

Rob Ducey was a seven year member of the Blue Jays, but hardly has the pedigree of Bell. In seven years with Toronto, Ducey produced a .231 average with 2 home runs, 31 RBI, and a .628 OPS, primarily as a back-up. The Vancouver native served as the designated hitter for the Canadian national team during the 2004 Olympic games and was the first Canadian born player to play for both the Expos and the Blue Jays.

Tom Cheek, who will also be honored this summer with the Ford C. Frick award, served as the Voice of the Blue Jays from 1977 until 2004. During that time, he called 4306 consecutive games until he was forced away from the booth due to a bout with cancer. Frick would succumb to the disease on October 9, 2005.

Raines was a 23-year veteran of the game, posting a .294 career average with 170 home runs, 980 RBI, 808 stolen bases, and a .810 career OPS. He was hired by the Blue Jays over the winter to serve Toronto as a minor league base running and outfield coach.