On the heels of winning his first Golden Glove Award, Maple Ridge Major Leaguer Tyler O’Neill has been nominated for further honours from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Hall is asking for Canadians to cast their votes for one of many elite ball players from this country. Maple Ridge ball fans will have until 9 a.m. on Nov. 19 to cast their vote for O’Neill. If he gets the most votes, the Maple Ridge power hitting outfielder could win his namesake Tip O’Neill Award as the “player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals,” in the 2020 season.
The winner of the annual award will be in good company.
Joey Votto has won the award seven times since 2010, and is up for the honour again. Larry Walker has won it more than anyone – nine times from 1987 to 2002. Other past winners include Canadian greats Justin Morneau, Jason Bay and Eric Gagne.
O’Neill, 25, provided elite defence in left field for the St. Louis Cardinals and won the Gold Glove. After playing parts of two seasons with the Cards in 2018 and 2019, O’Neill took over as the club’s starting left fielder and smacked a career-high seven home runs in 50 games. O’Neill became the first Canadian to win a Fielding Bible Award, and is the first Canadian outfielder to win a National League Gold Glove since fellow Maple Ridge native Walker captured one with the Colorado Rockies in 2002.
Elsewhere in the National League, North Vancouver’s Rowan Wick was a late-innings reliever for the Chicago Cubs, and Votto topped all Canadians in the MLB with 11 home runs in the shortened season.
In the American League, two Canuck pitchers Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) and Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) emerged as go-to relievers for the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays respectively. After being dealt from the San Diego Padres to the Indians with Quantrill, Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) set a major league record when he registered hits in his first five postseason at bats. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Montreal, Que.) also got his first taste of postseason action with the Blue Jays after topping all Canadian players with 58 hits during the regular season.
Then there were Canadians playing in Korea, Japan and China earning consideration.
Voters can enter their top three choices, in order of their first, second and third preferences. Voters can email their selections to baseball @baseballhalloffame.ca or visit the Hall’s website at www.baseballhalloffame.ca.
Fan votes will be one of the criteria considered, and the winner will be announced on Dec. 3.