1- Ernie Whitt (19.3 over 13 seasons)
If you’ve read this far, I doubt that you’re surprised to see Ernie Whitt‘s name at the top of the list. And if you are, chances are you’re a lot younger than me.
That said, you might be yelling at your computer screen because there’s a caveat here that I’ll admit right away. Whitt, the coach of the Canadian National Men’s team, isn’t actually a Canadian citizen. He was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1952, and spent 15 seasons in the big leagues, with 12 of them coming in a Blue Jay uniform.
I decided to let this one slide since, hey, Team Canada figures he’s good enough to be an honorary Canadian, so who am I to judge? He was also named to the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1997, and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009, so I think we’ve decided he’s one of our own by now. I realize I said “Canadian-born” at the beginning, but I decided to wait until the end to break the rules, and this is just my opinion anyway.
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Getting back to the player, Whitt was an All-Star in 1985 and finished his career slashing .249/.324/.410 with 134 home runs, 176 doubles, 534 RBI across 1328 games. He was a central figure for the competitive teams in Toronto during the 80’s, and continues to be heavily involved in Canadian baseball to this day. He’s also been a rumoured candidate for some coaching jobs in Toronto over the years, and who knows, that could still happen someday. For all he’s accomplished as player with the Blue Jays, and as a coach with Team Canada, I decided he should top the list even if I’m bending the rules a little.
I also promised you a notable omissions list and that includes the likes of Corey Koskie (1.4 bWAR in one season), Michael Saunders (1.3 bWAR over three seasons), Matt Stairs (2.0 bWAR over two seasons), and others like Dalton Pompey, Rob Dubey, and Scott Richmond. There have been others too, and as Baseball Canada’s program gets stronger all the time, I’m sure we’re bound to see more in the future.
What do you think of the rankings, and did I miss anyone? As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.