Built in 1951, Nat Bailey Stadium has countless stories to tell. Luckily for fans, there’s an easy way to relive some of the best moments in Canadians history: the Bud Kerr Baseball Museum is right here at the ballpark.
Here are a few fun facts you can learn by browsing the museum:
– The Vancouver Canadians (and the Mounties and Capilanos before them) have been affiliated with eight current Major League Baseball franchises: the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland A’s, Anaheim Angels, Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, and Baltimore Orioles. The 2015 C’s represent the future of the Toronto Blue Jays.
– Seven-time MLB All-Star Sammy Sosa played 45 games with the Canadians in parts of the 1989 and 1991 seasons. Sosa would go on to hit 609 home runs in his major league career (eighth all time) and is the only player in history to hit 60 or more home runs in a single season three times, but he never sent a ball over the fence at Nat Bailey Stadium.
– Victoria, BC native Rich Harden played his first year of professional baseball right here at The Nat, striking out 100 batters in 2001. On June 8th, 2008, Harden became the 38th player in MLB history to strike out three batters with nine pitches in a single inning.
– Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson played 42 games with the Vancouver Mounties in 1959, hitting .331 before being recalled by the Baltimore Orioles. Following his time in Vancouver, Robinson would go on to play in 15-straight MLB All-Star games. He won the American League MVP award in 1964 and was named World Series MVP in 1970.
– Four-time MLB All-Star Troy Glaus hit .306 with 16 home runs with the C’s in the summer of 1998.
– While his Major League career was short, pitcher Tom Drees is fondly remembered by Canadians fans for throwing three no-hitters – two of them consecutive – at The Nat in 1989. Overall, Drees won 12 games that season for Vancouver with a 3.37 ERA.
– As an Oakland A’s affiliate in the early 2000s, the Canadians have a ‘Moneyball’ connection. A’s General Manager Billy Beane had his eye on Nick Swisher, who made his professional debut with the C’s and was regarded as one of few examples of a player who traditional scouts and Beane’s sabermetric system could agree upon. Swisher won World Series with the Yankees in 2009 and was named an All-Star in 2010. He currently plays for the Cleveland Indians.
– Former C’s outfielder Nelson Cruz, a three-time MLB All-Star and the 2014 MLB home run leader, was named MVP of the American League Championship Series in 2011 after breaking MLB records for most home runs (6) and RBIs (13) in a single playoff series.
Needless to say, plenty of baseball talent has come up through Vancouver over the years. To learn more about past Canadians teams and players, be sure to check out the Bud Kerr Baseball Museum next time you’re at Nat Bailey Stadium.