Rogers, Stieb top Hall list

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

When they were on the mound, Dave Stieb and Steve Rogers didn't give a darn if the batter was using steroids.

That competitive attitude is part of what led the most productive pitchers in Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos history to be named as this year's inductees to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys.

Stieb, the hard-throwing Blue Jays stud, and Rogers, the wily Expo great, will enter the hall June 25 along with 83-year-old volunteer trainer Harold (Doc) Younker and classical-era infielder Charles (Pop) Smith, who will be inducted posthumously.

While big-league baseball wrestles with its current steroid scandal and the bad publicity from admitted user Jose Canseco's new tell-all book, Stieb and Rogers said they never considered the suspected cheaters while trying to shut them down at the plate.

"If I thought about that, I wouldn't have pitched very well," Rogers said yesterday in a conference call. "Early in my career, I took the approach that I hated every batter I faced. I was trying to build a positive result on a negative feeling. But I became much more effective when I stopped worrying about who was at the plate and started focusing on what I had to do (on the mound)."

Said Stieb: "I'm the same way. I did pretty well against the big, muscular guys."

Stieb did well enough to rack up more wins (175) in his 15-year Toronto tenure than any other Blue Jays pitcher. Stieb was an outfielder in college and was discovered by former Jays manager Bobby Mattick, who showed up at one of his games to scout an opposing shortstop.

"I came in to pitch an inning of relief and they liked what they saw," Stieb said. "I was told the quickest way to the major leagues was as a pitcher -- and they were right."

Stieb, 47, called Toronto's World Series victory in 1992 "bittersweet" because he was unable to contribute. He pitched in only 21 games that year and none in the playoffs.

"That's exactly what it was," he said, "but I felt good that the organization I was with basically from scratch managed to achieve that goal."

Longtime baseball writers found it ironic that Stieb, who was never known as an easy interview during his playing days, has a son, Andrew, currently enrolled in journalism at the University of Nevada-Reno.

Rogers, the most successful pitcher in Montreal history with 158 wins -- the Expos' move to Washington cements his status -- never experienced the electric air of a World Series. He is best known for a rare relief appearance in which he served up the pivotal home run in the fifth and final game of the 1981 National League championship series to Los Angeles Dodger Rick Monday on what Montreal fans still call Blue Monday.

"I didn't get the job done there, but there were a lot of good times and I still include that day on the list," Rogers said.

Now the special assistant to Major League Baseball Players Association head Donald Fehr, Rogers has attended the past few Canadian hall induction ceremonies and has grown fond of the festivities.

"It will be the greatest honour of my life. I've seen the vision that (executive director) Tom Valcke has for the hall of fame and the plans in place. It's exciting and I know it's going to grow."

Younker, who lives in Langley, B.C., called the news of his induction "the greatest thing that can happen to me." The West Coast trainer spent 57 years with amateur and professional teams, including the San Diego Padres and the Canadian national squad.

Smith, who was born in Nova Scotia in 1856 and died in Boston in 1927, was known as Pop by the end of his tenure in the American Association as his signature mustache made him look older.

Valcke is trying to track down any living relatives to represent Smith at the ceremony. He was married and had one son, Arthur Dixwell Smith.

THE CLASS OF 2005

DAVE STIEB

Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays

- 15 years with Blue Jays remains longest tenure of any player

- Selected to seven all-star games and started twice (1983, 1984)

- Named pitcher of the year by the Sporting News in 1982

- Holds several Blue Jays records, including wins (175), innings pitched (2,873), strikeouts (1,658), games started (408), complete games (103) and shutouts (30)

- Threw the only no-hitter in Blue Jays history (Sept. 2, 1990 vs. Cleveland)

- Resides in Reno, Nev.

STEVE ROGERS

Pitcher, Montreal Expos

- All-time Expos leader in wins (158), innings pitched (2,837 2/3 ), strikeouts (1,621), games started (393), complete games (129) and shutouts (37)

- Won 19 games in 1982 and compiled a 2.40 earned-run average

- Played in five all-star games and started the 1982 game in Montreal

- Voted National League rookie pitcher of the year in 1973

- Resides in Montreal

HAROLD (DOC) YOUNKER

Volunteer trainer in baseball for 57 years

- Worked in pro ranks with San Diego Padres for nine years, Vancouver Capilanos, the Vancouver Mounties and the Yakult Swallows

- Assisted in grassroots system with Canada's national teams, which included trips to the Olympic Games, Pan Am Games, world championships, Commonwealth Games and Intercontinental Cups

- Contributed knowledge and expertise to the Canada Summer Games, the National Baseball Institute and the University of British Columbia baseball program

- Also taught first aid and physiotherapy, which many of his students are practising today

- Resides in Langley, B.C.

CHARLES (POP) SMITH

Second baseman in American Association

- Played 1,112 games between 1880-91 for Cincinnati, Cleveland, Buffalo, Worchester, Louisville, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Boston and Washington

- Holds the record for most games played by a Canadian at second base

- In 1890, the Sporting News wrote of him: "He knows every point of the game, is thoroughly familiar with the tricks of the business and is quick to take advantage of every play that will help his side win."

- Was born in Digby, N.S., on Oct. 12, 1856, and died in Boston on April 18, 1927, at the age of 70


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