1. Fergie Jenkins: (Chatham, Ontario): In 1991, Ferguson Jenkins became the first Canadian to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. And for good reason. Jenkins pitched for four different teams in 19 seasons in the Majors, spending the majority of his career with the Chicago Cubs. His best season came in 1971, when he went 24-13 with a 2.77 ERA and 30 complete games. Over 325 innings pitched, he allowed only 100 runs while walking 37 and striking out 263. His performance enabled him to become the first Canadian to win the National League Cy Young Award.
2. Larry Walker: (Maple Ridge, British Columbia): Growing up in Western Canada, Walker was a hockey goalie and dreamed of playing professionally. Fortunately, he chose a different sport to play and signed with the Montreal Expos in 1984. Walker’s best year came in 1997 with the Colorado Rockies when he won a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and the National League MVP award. He is the first Canadian to win an MVP award and still ranks as the all-time leader in games, at bats, hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs, runs, stolen bases and walks by a Canadian.
3. Joey Votto: (Toronto, Ontario): Since making his Major League debut in 2007, the Cincinnati Reds first baseman has failed to hit below .297 in a season. His best year thus far came in 2010, when he batted .324 with 36 doubles, 37 home runs and 113 RBIs. His dominant performance earned him the National League MVP, Hank Aaron Award and Lou Marsh Award. Named MLB’s Face of the Game this year and presently signed with the Reds until 2024, expect much more dominance from the Toronto native in the future.
4. Matt Stairs: (Saint John, New Brunswick): I doubt there is a fan or player that does not love Matt Stairs. And he has been in a contact with a lot as Stairs played for 13 teams throughout his 19-year MLB career (including both Canadian teams). Like Walker, he began his career in Canada with the Expos. His best year came in 1999 with the Oakland Athletics when he hit 26 doubles, 38 home runs and 102 RBIs. His main calling card, however, was coming up big in the clutch. He presently owns the record for hitting the most pinch-hit home runs in one season with 23 and is 16th overall with 105 career pinch-hit home runs.
5. George Gibson: (London, Ontario): Gibson was one of the first Canadian born players to put Canada on the baseball map. After developing his talents in a variety of leagues in Montreal, Quebec, Gibson joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1905. He claims his favorite moment of his career came in 1909, when his team won the World Series. Throughout his career, Gibson became known for his incredible defense, leading the league in fielding percentage among catchers with marks of .983 and .984 in 1909 and 1910, respectively. When he finished his career with the New York Giants in 1918, Gibson stayed in the game, becoming the manager for the Pirates and Chicago Cubs.
Who is your favorite Canadian-born player? Comment in the section below.