Former Blue Jays stars Jimmy Key and Russell Martin will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Former Toronto Blue Jays stars Jimmy Key and Russell Martin will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this spring.

The Hall said Tuesday that the Class of 2024 also includes former Women’s National Team member Ashley Stephenson, former Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Godfrey, former National Team player Rod Hessler, and longtime Toronto Leaside baseball executive Howard Burney.

“Each member of this year’s class has had a tremendous impact on baseball in Canada,” Jeremy Diamond, president of the hall’s board of directors, said in a statement. “We look forward to celebrating their distinguished careers at St. Mary’s this June.”

An induction ceremony is scheduled for June 15 at the Hall of Fame in the southwestern Ontario town, about a half-hour drive from London.

Key, a native of Huntsville, Alabama, helped stabilize Toronto’s starting rotation for seven seasons. The left-hander won a World Series with the Blue Jays in 1992.

A backfield catcher bobbles the ball.
Russell Martin catches the ball during a Blue Jays game in 2018. The Canadian was born in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press)

Martin helped end the Jays’ drought

He earned his first All-Star selection in 1985 after posting a 14-6 record and a 3.00 earned run average. Key, who was drafted by the Blue Jays in 1982, was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player by Sporting News in 1987 after going 17-8 with an AL-best 2.76 ERA.

“I would like to thank the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and its executive committee for this great honour,” Key said. “This honor culminates a wonderful nine years spent in Toronto for the Blue Jays organization.

“Being a part of Canada’s first professional World Series baseball team is the highlight of my career.”

Key spent 15 years in the major leagues. He plays for the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.

Martin, a Toronto native, spent parts of 14 seasons in the major leagues and played for Canada in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He signed with the Blue Jays before the 2015 season and helped the club end a 22-year drought that fall.

Martin played with the Blue Jays until 2018 before concluding his career with one season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team where he spent his first five years in the major leagues.

Godfrey, a longtime politician in his native Toronto, helped lay the groundwork for the city to obtain an MLB franchise in 1976 and was involved in the project that led to the creation of the SkyDome (now Rogers Centre), which opened in 1989. He was named president and CEO of Blue Jays in 2000 and remained with the team until 2008.

Stephenson, a native of Mississauga, Ont., was a member of the first women’s national team in 2004 and went on to spend 15 seasons with the team. She won silver at the Women’s World Cup twice and took bronze on four occasions. She is currently the head coach of the High-A Vancouver Canadians.

Heisler, a native of Moose Jaw, Sask., has competed in a record 14 international men’s national team competitions. He started Canada’s first game at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and also played in the 1988 Games in Seoul.

A Toronto native, Bernie has been involved in baseball in his home city for more than 70 years as a player, coach and umpire. He was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 in recognition of fifty years of volunteer work in amateur baseball.

(Tags for translation) Baseball

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