Four inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, including two former Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

On Wednesday morning, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame announced that four new members are being inducted, including two former Blue Jays players.

Joining the historic ranks will be former left-handed pitcher Denis Boucher, longtime Oakland A's righty Rich Harden, Blue Jays outfielder Jesse Barfield and longtime coach and executive Joe Wiwchar.

Jeremy Diamond, chair of the Canadian Baseball HoF's board of directors, said "each of this year's inductees has had a significant impact on the game of baseball in Canada in their own distinct way. We are proud and excited to celebrate their oustanding careers in St. Marys this June."

Boucher, 54, is a native of Montreal and broke into the big leagues for the Blue Jays all the way back in 1991. He played for Cleveland and his hometown Expos before retiring in 1997. His playing career spanned 10 seasons and he went 87-73 with a 3.99 ERA over that time split between both the big leagues and minor leagues. After his playing days came to and end, Boucher joined the national team as a pitching coach in 2003, was a part of the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, four World Baseball Classics and the 2011 and 2015 Pan Am Games.

It’s an incredible honor to be elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. I’m very humbled and proud to have my name amongst the best baseball players in the country", said Boucher.

Barfield, 63, spent the first nine seasons of a 12-year big league career as a member of the Blue Jays. During that span, he hit 179 home runs and had an impressive OPS+ of 118. He was an All-Star in 1986, finished in the top-10 in AL MVP voting tiwce and won two Gold Glove Awards for his incredible defense in right field. His throwing arm is regarded as one of the best in big league history and the stats back it up. He led AL outfielders in assists four times in his career.

“I’m still in disbelief with the news of being voted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Being drafted by and then playing for the Blue Jays has always meant so much to me and my family. I’m truly honoured, humbled and speechless right now", said Barfield.

Harden, 41, is a native of Victoria and was at one point of the most promising arms in Major League Baseball. He broke into the league in 2003 as a member of the Oakland A's and was one of the best starters in the league when he was healthy. Unfortunately, him staying healthy was the problem. In nine years, he topped made 20 starts and topped 140 innings just three times. His 949 strikeouts and 17.9 bWAR rank sixth all time in Canada-born players.

“When I received the news that I was being inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, I was at a loss for words. I am proud and honored to have my name added to a list that includes so many great people who have had such a positive impact on baseball in Canada. I’m so grateful to all the people who helped and supported me along the way, and I’m looking forward to the induction weekend in St Marys this summer", said Harden.

Finally, Wiwchar, a native of Winnipeg, has been around the game of baseball for seven decades. He has functioned as a player, coach, volunteer, executive and administrator, primarily for the South Central Beavers Peewee squad, the Morden Mohawks and eventually Team Manitoba in the Canada Summer Games. He became the administrative manager of the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame and served in that role from 1998 to 2022. Morden had a baseball field renamed in his honor back in 2011.

“When I was received the call from Scott Crawford letting me know that I was being inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, I had to sit down. I was speechless. I was both surprised and elated. I’m still in disbelief, but I am very grateful for this honor", said Wiwchar.

Next. Ranking the AL East lineups heading into the season. dark