Tyler O’Neill, Maple Ridge’s slugging gold glover in Major League Baseball, was a finalist but not the winner of the 2020 Tip O’Neill Award.
The award is given out annually by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals.
Thursday the hall announced the winner was Jamie Romak of London, Ont. who has become a feared power hitter in the Korean Baseball Organization with the SK Wyverns. The winner is chosen by fan ballots, among other considerations, including the opinions of a panel of experts.
The ball hall’s press release noted Romak “staved off strong competition from major leaguers Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, B.C.), Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Montreal, QC), Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.), Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) and Rowan Wick (North Vancouver, B.C.), as well as from Brock Dykxhoorn (Goderich, Ont.), who pitched for the Chinese Professional Baseball League’s Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions, to secure the honour.”
Past winners of the award include Maple Ridge’s Larry Walker, and other MLB stars such as Votto and Ryan Dempster.
O’Neill is with the St. Louis Cardinals for 2021, and tied for the team lead in home runs in 2020’s shortened season.