The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced its class of six inductees for 2016, headlined by former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Pat Hentgen and one-time Montreal Expos right-hander Dennis Martinez.
They will be inducted in a June 18 ceremony in St. Marys, Ont., along with longtime Canadian scout Wayne Norton, former Blue Jays executive Howard Starkman, ex-Blue Jays analyst Tony Kubek and baseball pioneer William Shuttleworth, who will be enshrined posthumously.
"The club is thrilled to hear the news that the gentlemen elected today are being recognized by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame," Stephen Brooks, Blue Jays senior vice president of business operations, said in a statement regarding Hentgen, Norton, Kubek and Starkman. "Their impact on the Blue Jays over the years not only enriched our organization, but enhanced the game throughout the country.
"Pat and Howard, in particular, continue to add valuable contributions today and the honour is richly deserved."
The Detroit-born Hentgen has been part of the Blue Jays organization for 26 years as a player, coach, ambassador and special assistant. The 1986 draft pick broke into the major leagues in 1992, appearing in 28 games, primarily out of the bullpen, and contributing to the team's first World Series title. An all-star in 1993, he won 19 games and Game 3 of the World Series, helping Toronto to back-to-back titles.
In 1996, Hentgen became the first Blue Jay to win the Cy Young Award as the American League's top pitcher, leading the league in innings pitched (265 2/3), complete games (10) and shutouts (3). He ranks fifth in team history in games started (238), innings pitched (1,636), strikeouts (1.028) and shutouts (nine). Hentgen also pitched for St. Louis and Baltimore in his 14-year career, which ended after the 2004 season.
The durable right-hander posted 100 victories, the second most in Expos history, in parts of eight seasons with the National League club. The first Nicaraguan to reach the majors, he ranks second in Expos history in games started (233) and innings pitched (1,609) and third in strikeouts (973), complete games (41) and shutouts (13). On July 28, 1991, Martinez pitched the 13th perfect game in MLB, needing only 95 pitches to set down all 27 men the hometown Los Angeles Dodgers sent to the plate before a sold-out crowd of 45,560.
That season, the three-time all-star topped the NL in earned-run average (2.39), complete games (nine) and shutouts (five). Martinez arrived in Montreal in a June 16, 1986 trade from Baltimore and also pitched for Cleveland during his 23 major league seasons, finishing with 245 wins, which ranks 52nd all-time.
"It's a great honour for me to share this award with my family and the Canadian people. This is something that I will hold onto for the rest of my life," he said.
The Port Moody, B.C., native played 1,206 minor league games, including five seasons at triple-A, before embarking on a career as a baseball executive and scout in Canada. Norton founded and established Baseball Canada's junior national team in the mid-1970s and was a longtime coach and manager of the squad while doubling as a part-time scout for the Montreal Expos. Norton, who also managed Canada's entry at the 1975 Pan Am Games, established the National Baseball Institute in Vancouver 11 years later. He left in 1994 and two years later Baltimore hired Norton as a scout. Since 2000, Norton has served as a scout with the Seattle Mariners and has signed several Canadians, including current Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders of Victoria.
A Toronto native, Starkman spent four decades as a Blue Jays executive. Hired as director of public relations in July 1976, he served in that capacity until 1998, overseeing media relations, broadcasting, travel and team publications. Starkman also doubled as a PR official for Major League Baseball for 15 World Series and 10 all-star games. In 1995, he was presented the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Robert O. Fishel Award for public relations excellence and four years later was promoted to vice-president of media relations with the Blue Jays. Starkman transitioned to VP, special projects from 2002 to 2014.
The former New York Yankees shortstop turned broadcaster spent 25 years in the booth for NBC, calling 11 World Series and 10 all-star games. He joined the Blue Jays' broadcasts in 1977 and spent 13 seasons as an analyst with CTV and TSN. The 2009 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence, Kubek was the first winner of that honour to have called games for a Canadian team. The Milwaukee native as called Yankees games for the MSG Network for five seasons before retiring in 1994.
Considered the "Father of Canadian Baseball," Shuttleworth organized Canada's first former baseball team, the Young Canadians, of Hamilton. As its founder, he transitioned the club from the old Canadian rules – 11-man roster and two-inning games – to New York rules, essentially the rules of today's game. From 1854 through the 1870s, Shuttleworth was the driving force behind baseball in Canada and also umpired games throughout the 1860s. Inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2015, he died on March 31, 1903.