Thursday, March 17, 2022

Canadians in the Majors: Claude Raymond

Today I'm going to revisit a series I haven't done in a long... Long time.. Canadians in the Major Leagues

I honestly can't remember (and can't be bothered to check) if I've done one on Raymond before. 


But here we go!


Claude Raymond was born in Saint Jean sur Richelieu Quebec on May 7, 1937.

Growing up he played hockey, like most Quebeckers, thinking about joining the Montreal Canadiens. Raymond knew he wouldn't be able to match feats like Maurice Richard in the NHL, but he had an ace up his sleeve... Baseball. 

He was close enough to the US Border that it spread rapidly since the 1870s and became part of the sports religion in the area. 

He started out by retrieving foul balls, then became a popcorn vendor. Eventually he offered to be a batting practice pitcher. In 1953, he tried out for the Drummondville Royals, but once it was discovered he was 15, and not 17 as claimed, they had to withdraw the offer. 

He was eventually signed by the Milwaukee Braves and Roland Gladu. 


He worked his way up the Braves system but had shoulder inflammation in 1958 that stalled his progress. The Braves left him unprotected in the intra-league draft. The White Sox chose him. He pitched four times for the White Sox before being released. He was sent back to the Braves.


The up and down with the Braves was getting discouraging for Claude, as he would get sent to the minors after a veteran pitcher joined the team. In 1963, he was drafted by the Houston Colt .45s
He did so well that, in 1966, he was chosen by Walter Alston to be part of the National League All Star  Team. He was the first player born in Quebec to be chosen. 
He returned to the Braves in 1967.  

In 1969, the Braves faced the Expos in Jarry Park. He was brought in to pitch and was given a standing ovation. Another one was given when he got the save in the 11th inning. 
In August 1969, he was sold to the Expos, becoming the first Quebec born player to play for the Expos. 


In 1971 he signed the biggest contract of his career, but the wheels fell off. He fell and had an ankle infection set in. When he returned to the field, he was ineffective. He was released and couldn't find another job in a MLB bullpen. 


In 1973, he joined the Expos as an analyst on radio then on TV. He was there from 1973-2001. In 2002 he was brought in by Omar Minaya as a coach for the Expos.
He also was the public address for the Atlanta Summer Olympics baseball. 


In 1984, he was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, currently in St Mary's Ontario. In 2019 he was awarded the Order of Canada. 


And here is an autographed card I have of him. 
I hope this wasn't too boring. 

A fair bit of information was sourced from 

 

6 comments:

  1. Claude Raymond is never boring!

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    1. Some of the stories of early Canadian players (I know he played till 71, but still) to be interesting.

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  2. Nice informative post! My favorite part of this post is mentioning Dodgers manager Walter Alston selecting Claude Raymond to the All-Star team. I have the 1969 and 1970 cards of Mr. Raymond and it was quite cool to see them featured here.

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    1. Thank you. He had a few firsts that I found interesting.

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  3. It's nice to see you getting back into the blogging :)

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    1. Well, it's going to be a little different content gor a bit. I do say though I'm enjoying doing these types of posts.

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