It is Canada Day, the holiday that celebrates the enactment of the Constitution Act on July 1, 1867. We here at Sports On Earth love our neighbors to the north, particularly all the moose.
In honor of Canada Day, and the fact that it's the Friday before a long holiday weekend and therefore we can goof off a little bit, here are the best 10 active Canadian baseball players. Actually, before we do that, back of napkin-style, here are the Top Five Canadian athletes of all time in various sports:
5. Bill Winnington
4. Tristan Thompson
3. Andrew Wiggins
2. Rick Fox
1. Steve Nash
5. O.J. Atogwe
4. Rob Meier
3. Cameron Wake
2. Orlando Franklin
1. Nate Burleson
5. Randy Samuel
4. Alex Bunbury
3. Dwayne DeRosario
2. Atiba Hutchinson
1. Craig Forrest
5. Helen Kelesi
4. Aleksandra Wozniak
3. Carling Bassett
2. Eugenie Bouchard
1. Milos Raonic
5. Stephen Ames
4. Justin Thomas
3. George Knudson
2. Moe Norman
1. Mike Weir
5. Tommy Burns
4. Sam Langford
3. George Dixon
2. Arturo Gatti
1. Lennox Lewis
And Of Course Hockey
5. Mario Lemieux
4. Maurice Richard
3. Bobby Orr
2. Gordie Howe
1. Wayne Gretzky
All righty, down to baseball. Here are the 10 best active Canadians in the Majors.
10. Adam Loewen, Arizona Diamondbacks
A persistent former first-round bust, he hadn't appeared in the Majors since 2008 before playing briefly for the Phillies last year. He's now at AAA Reno, and pitching decently. I put him just above Scott Diamond, who pitched one inning for the Blue Jays this year, but they're essentially tied.
9. Justin Morneau, Chicago White Sox
He hasn't appeared yet for the White Sox, but he's about to.
8. John Axford, Oakland A's.
He'll live on forever for this famous postgame sorry-I-can't-talk-reporters note, after he blew a save.
Here's the note John Axford wrote to the media last year. I think I'm gonna like this guy: pic.twitter.com/7TYGvxwiww- No Doubt About It (@TWNDAI) August 14, 2014
7. Jim Henderson, New York Mets
The excellent comeback story has been derailed by a shoulder injury that has Henderson on the DL, but he was pitching well out of the 'pen for the Mets beforehand.
6. Russell Martin, Toronto Blue Jays
He should be much higher on this list, but he has also had a nightmare start to the season. He's still the quintessential Canadian Blue Jay.
5. Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates
He has duel citizenship with the U.S. and Canada, but he pitched for Canada in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, so he makes this list.
4. Brett Lawrie, Chicago White Sox
He's calmed down after his amazing start, settling in as the league-average player he is. Everyone would like Lawrie more if we hadn't all thought he was a superstar.
3. James Paxton, Seattle Mariners
With the injuries to Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker, he's probably the best pitcher on the Mariners right now.
2. Michael Saunders, Toronto Blue Jays
He's having his breakthrough season with the Jays, hitting 15 homers and notching a .364 OBP. He's probably the Jays' third best hitter right now.
1. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
The best, forever and ever. He had been slumping before he hit two homers earlier this week. The question remains: How long will he be in Cincy?
All right, then, how about the best 10 of all time?
10. Jeff Heath
He played from 1936-49, and led the league in triples twice.
9. Ryan Dempster
Never forget his ninja training.
8. Eric Gagne
There was a stretch there for a year or two when it looked physically impossible to get a hit off Eric Gagne.
7. Justin Morneau
He is an MVP winner and, before his concussion woes, was one of the most terrifying hitters in the game.
6. Russell Martin
Is he one of the top 30 catchers in history? Probably.
5. Matt Stairs
Matt Stairs is the best. Never forget the only quote that matters: "Swing like you live -- hard."
4. Jason Bay
Mets fans won't believe this, but Bay was seriously one of the best outfielders in the game for a solid half-decade, or even more.
3. Joey Votto
He could make it to the top of this list, even if his hometown announcers will never stop yelling at him for walking too much.
2. Larry Walker
When you think of Canadian baseball players, he is the guy you think of. The only reason he's not No. 1 is because he hasn't made it in the Hall of Fame. Yet.
1. Ferguson Jenkins
If you make the Hall of Fame, you get to top this list.