ST. MARYS - Blue Jays' legend and soon-to-be Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Tom Henke's hometown is sending a bus load of supporters to the big city - well, relatively speaking! St. Marys, Ontario, whose population is just over 6,000 may seem like a metropolis in comparison to Taos, Missouri, whose last census counted 869 townsfolk, which represents almost exactly one person per strikeout over the flame throwing closer's career in the Major Leagues.
Approximately 30 friends are taking the 1,271-kilometre trail to attend the festivies from June 16-18, highlighted with the 11:00am Induction Ceremony of their native son on Saturday, along with Canadian baseball icon Allan Simpson, and the late George Wood. Bob Elliott, one of Canada’s greatest baseball writers, will also be awarded the Hall’s Jack Graney Award..
Henke will be joined by his wife Kathy, and children Linsey, Ryan, Kim and Amanda,
Support for Simpson, Wood & Elliott also coming
Simpson, the native of Kelowna, British Columbia who founded Baseball America, often referred to the bible of the baseball industry, isn't having as many guests as Henke, but he is expecting more than a dozen friends and relatives to converge in St. Marys as well. Simpson, who now lives in Durham, North Carolina, will be joined by his wife Jill and children Jordan, Kelsey and Jeffrey.
Posthumous inductee Wood, a Major League star in the late 1800's who hailed from Prince Edward Island, will be represented by distant relative Douglas MacDonald, who will be flying in from PEI with his wife Evelyn. MacDonald, a genealogist, is also associated with the PEI Sports Hall of Fame.
Elliott has his sister Elizabeth and children Alicia and Bob, Jr.attending the ceremonies.
Other celebs to look for:
- Pat Gillick
- Paul Beeston
- Tony Fernandez
- Galen Cisco
- John Sullivan
- Fergie Jenkins
- Jim Fanning
- Ron Taylor
- Don McDougall
- Ron Stead
- Paul Quantrill
- Alex Anthopoulos (has not yet confirmed)
One of Canada's most gifted singers, Michael Burgess will sing the national anthem, and Miss Canada International, Catherine Thomas and Miss Ontario Melanie Williamson will also be on hand.
Weekend Agenda - Thursday, June 16th
4:00pm: Tom Henke, Allan Simpson and Fergie Jenkins will spend happy hour (4:00-4:45pm) at the Boston Pizza in Stratford.
7:00pm: The 3rd annual Celebrity Slo-Pitch game will take place at the Hall of Fame's Rotary Field, featuring "Team Henke" against "Team Jenkins". Free admission.
Foursomes still available for Celebrity Golf Classic - Friday, June 17th
Friday, June 17th
7:30am: "London Salutes Canadian Baseball" at the London Hilton Hotel. Tickets are $49 and still available.
11:00am: 15th Annual Celebrity tees off in a Texas Scramble format at the lovely St. Marys Golf & Country Club. Four foursomes remain available. Individual golfers may also sign up by contacting the Hall of Fame.
5:30pm: For non-golfers, dinner tickets for the post-golf banquet are available by contacting the Ball Hall. The dinner will be under the Induction Tent on the Hall's Ceremonial Grounds.
Saturday, June 18th
11:00am: The Induction Ceremony will be on Saturday morning on the Ball Hall's Ceremonial Grounds at 386 Church St. South in beautiful St. Marys. Admission is free. An autograph session will follow the ceremony, and there are featured amateur baseball games all day on the Hall's site. It is recommended that those who wish to be seated under the Induction Tent arrive by 9:30am.
5:00pm: The Ball Hall is sponsoring a sleepover under the Induction Tent on Saturday, whereby parents and children are invited to play a ball game, enjoy dinner, watch a movie, and sleep on cots, for only $30 per person. Henke will be there to welcome the sleepover crowd.
For more information, call (519) 284-1838 or email email@example.com