OTTAWA – London, Ontario’s Jamie Romak is the winner of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2020 Tip O’Neill Award, handed out annually to the Canadian player judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to baseball’s highest ideals.
Romak, who turned 35 in September, has 18 professional baseball seasons under his belt including the last four with SK Wyverns in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) where he has built a reputation as one of the league’s most successful foreign players of all-time. He is signed for 2021 to return to SK for a fifth season.
The former Junior National Team star belted 32 home runs with SK in 2020 while hitting .282 with a .945 OPS. The totals were second among Romak’s four seasons in the KBO only to his monstrous 2018 campaign where he hit .316 with 43 home runs, 107 RBI and a 1.001 OPS.
“It’s an absolute honour to receive this award and have my name engraved beside so many great players – many of whom I grew up idolizing,” said Romak in a CBHOF statement. “I am motivated by the generations of Canadian ball players before me that have made their mark and done so with dignity. I’m thinking of my family, friends and all the coaches along the way that have supported and encouraged me over the years. I’m humbled and grateful. Thank you.”
Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2003 MLB Draft, Romak spent 11 seasons in the minors with five different organizations before making his MLB debut in 2014 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He had a stint with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015 and spent the 2016 season with Yokohama in the Japanese Central League before signing with the San Diego Padres prior to the 2017 season.
After opening the 2017 season with 11 home runs for Triple-A El Paso, Romak’s contract was purchased by SK Wyverns in early May and so began a career that has seen him become one of the most feared hitters in the KBO.
Internationally, Romak suited up for the Junior National Team for the 2002 U18 Baseball World Cup before debuting with the Men’s National Team at the 2007 Baseball World Cup. He slugged his way to Most Valuable Player honours with the national team in 2010 at the COPABE Pan Am Games/World Cup Qualifier and later won world cup bronze and Pan Am Games gold in 2011. Romak’s most recent appearance with Team Canada came at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
For more on the Tip O’Neill Award including previous winners, please click here.