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Useless Trivia Department: Canadian-Born Batteries

John Axford has appeared in five games for the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers.  In three of those appearances, his catcher was George Kottaras.  Axford was born in Simcoe, Ontario.  Kottaras was born in Scarborough, Ontario.  This makes them only the fourth Canadian-born battery since 1955.

On June 6, 2006, a rookie named Russell Martin (East York, Ontario) caught Eric Gagne's (Montreal, Quebec) first and only save of that season.

On September 6 and October 3, 1993, Denis Boucher (Montreal, Quebec) pitched to Joe Slidall (Windsor, Ontario) for the Expos.

The next one is my favorite.  In 1955, like every year, the Kansas City Athletics were a bad team.  On April 23, they lost a close game to the Chicago White Sox by a score of 29-6.  In the bottom of the eighth inning, Eric MacKenzie of Glendon, Alberta was sent up to pinch hit for starting catcher Joe Astroth.  MacKenzie grounded out to second.  He stayed in to catch the ninth inning.  The pitcher he caught was Ozzie Van Brabant (Kingsville, Ontario).  Van Brabant threw a 1-2-3 inning.  Eric MacKenzie never appeared in another major league game.

Canadian-born batteries are so rare because Canadian catchers are rare.  There have been only seven Canadian-born catchers since 1994 (and none from 1963 to 1994).  The recent Canadian backstops:

  • Joe Siddall, 67 games caught for the Expos, Marlins, and Tigers from 1993 to 1998
  • George O'Hallaran, 1 game caught for the 1994 Marlins
  • Andy Stewart, 4 games caught for the 1997 Royals
  • Cody McKay, 19 games caught for the 2002 Athletics and 2004 Cardinals
  • Pete LaForest, 32 games caught for the Devil Rays, Phillies, and Padres from 2003 to 2007
  • Russell Martin, current starting catcher for the Dodgers
  • George Kottaras, current starting catcher for the Brewers
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