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This year's Hall of Fame class has a distinct Canadian flavor

Big League Stew

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Canada is still waiting for another of its native players to join Fergie Jenkins in the Hall of Fame.

But it's still getting a pretty nice consolation prize on July 24 as it waits to see if Larry Walker can improve on receiving 20.3 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility.

That's because three of this year's honorees have strong Canadian ties and they'll make the playing of "O Canada" on the lawn more than a mere formality:

• Roberto Alomar won two World Series during his five years with the Toronto Blue Jays, a period that saw him win three Gold Gloves and earn five All-Star appearances. Alomar was in Toronto when he received the news on Wednesday and it's likely that his wish to wear a Blue Jays cap on his plaque will be granted. He'd be the first member to wear such a cap in the Hall.

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• GM Pat Gillick is also being recognized for his time with the Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies, but it's his work with the Blue Jays that really paid his way. He was the architect for the two World Series teams and all five of its division winners.

• Ford C. Frick award winner Dave Van Horne announced games for the Montreal Expos for 32 years until the lack of a radio contract forced him to fly south to work for the Florida Marlins. He broadcast the last Expos game in franchise history from the Marlins booth and his signoff was pure poetry.

Heck, even the other two men on stage will have Canadian ties if you think a little bit about it.

• As Y! Sports Canada editor Steve McAllister points out, Bert Blyleven surely had to have some fans across the border in Manitoba while he was winning games with the Twins.

• And J.G. Taylor Spink award winner Bill Conlin irked plenty of Canadians up when he took a hypocritical shot at a popular Canadian singer during the 1993 Jays-Phillies World Series.

From Napier Ink (pdf):

"Bill Conlin, a columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News, jumped into the fray with a pot shot at (Rita) MacNeil, whom he referred to as the 'corpulent anthemist' who could be moved only by a fork-lift. 'Did the Blue Jays pay 'popular singer' Rita McCall [sic] ... by the pound, note or with Jenny Craig gift certificates?'"

Yes, that's a writer with his own weight problems trying to start an international flame war by poking fun at the weight problems of a woman who was just singing on the field.

So maybe that's going a bit too far to make a connection.

But my original point still stands.

Enjoy your weekend in the baseball sun, Canadian baseball fans.

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