It's like the good old days

BOB ELLIOTT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

Roy Halladay, Troy Glaus and A.J. Burnett have not yet asked Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey to be paid in Canadian funds.

At least not yet anyway.

The Bank of Canada closing rate yesterday had our loonie at 1.0036 versus the American dollar.

There was a time when a player said "never mind the U.S. greenbacks, I'll take the money in all the different colours."

As long as it was not Canadian Tire money, you understand.

Bill Stoneman began pitching for the Montreal Expos in 1969 and knew a decimal point was for more than an earned-run average.

The right-hander reached an agreement with Expos management to be paid in Canadian funds. That was then, now he's the general manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Angels won their third American League West title in four seasons under Stoneman thanks to a 7-3 win over the Seattle Mariners Sunday. The Angels also won the 2002 World Series under Stoneman, a Georgetown resident from 1977-82.

Back when Stoneman was a reliable young buck in Gene Mauch's rotation, winning 17 games in 1971, our dollar's high for the year was 1.0073. The next year it was 1.0268 and in 1973 the high was 1.019.

"My biggest concern was that I'd bought a $39,000 house in Senne Ville, near Ste. Anne de Bellevue, and was committed to mortgage payments that were payable in Canadian dollars," Stoneman said. "If I was being paid in U.S. dollars and the value of the Canadian dollar went up, I could get squeezed and not be able to afford the mortgage.

"On the other hand, if the Canadian dollar fell, it could have been a windfall. As far as I was concerned, it wasn't a chance worth taking."

So the Expos and Stoneman agreed he would be paid in Canadian dollars. He earned a career-high $50,000 Cdnfrom Expos GM Jim Fanning in 1973. An arm injury held him to 17 starts that season.

"The next year when I went in I figured I'd get cut, but they offered the same deal, it was like 'where do I sign?' " Stoneman said.

Being paid in Canadian was fine until April of 1974 when the Anaheim Angels purchased Stoneman's contract.

"When I was assigned to the Angels, they paid me in U.S. dollars," Stoneman said. "The difference between the two was not very much, but the Players Association found out."

In 1974, our dollar was 1.0447, yet Stoneman was paid in U.S. monies, so the trade cost him on his $50,000 salary. That was the final season of Stoneman's eight-year career. After retiring he began working at Royal Trust in Montreal.

Players Association legal counsel Dick Moss filed a grievance over one of their players being paid a lower amount because of a trade from one country to another.

"Dick kept phoning saying it's really important to win this and I kept saying 'I have a job here, it's not important to me,' " Stoneman said. "Finally I flew to New York for the hearing.

"Dick convinced me that the precedent was important even though the dollar value in this particular case was not a significant factor."

Surprise, surprise, but Marvin Miller then, like Donald Fehr in recent years, and Moss, won the grievance.

Nowadays some clubs put a clause in their standard player contracts that stipulates that the currency is in U.S. dollars.

How far are we away from a clause which reads:

"Player should be paid in which ever currency is higher ..."

If the Canadian dollar stays above its American counterpart and the Blue Jays obtain a player, he'll no doubt get an additional bump.

And he can thank Dollar Bill Stoneman for setting the precedent.


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