Most Games Played By Canadian MLB Players

Canada has produced a plethora of MLB talent over the past two centuries. Many fans of America’s pastime would be surprised how many of their favorite players were born in Canada. Over 200 Canadians have made their mark in baseball. That includes two Cy Young Award winners, three MVPs, four batting titles, 11 Silver Slugger Awards, 13 Gold Gloves, 16 World Series titles and 49 all-star selections. Fergie Jenkins became the first Canadian enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, with Larry Walker joining him years later. Now, with Joey Votto breaking the record for most games played by a Canadian recently, it’s worth looking back at other Canadian players who had long careers in the majors.

Most Games Played by Canadians

Joey Votto 1,991 Games

Joey Votto is one of the best baseball players from Canada. The 38-year-old set a new mark for most games played as a Canadian, passing Hall of Famer Larry Walker. Votto has played his entire career with the Cincinnati Reds. After being drafted by the Reds in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft. Votto first appeared for Cincinnatti on September 4, 2007. He is a 6-time all-star with 342 Home Runs, 1,106 RBI, and 2,093 hits. In addition, the first baseman won the 2010 NL MVP, a 2011 Gold Glove, and led the National League 7 times in On Base Percentage. With two years left on his contract with the Reds, Votto will likely be the first Canadian to play in over 2,000 MLB games.

Larry Walker 1,988 Games

Larry Walker made his debut with the Montreal Expos on August 16, 1989. The native of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, played in 17 seasons with the Expos, Colorado Rockies, and St. Louis Cardinals. He made his first All-Star team in 1992 while winning his first of seven Gold Glove Awards. Between 1995 and 2003,
Walker was a four-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, and the 1997 NL MVP.

What set Walker apart from other hitters of his era was the ability to hit. Walker led the league average three times, slugging percentage, and OPS twice. After retiring in 2005, Walker waited until his final year on the ballot to become the second Canadian to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. As someone who did not start playing baseball until he was 16, he has left an unrivalled legacy on the game.

Matt Stairs 1,895 games

Matt Stairs was the Expo’s international draft signing and would debut with the Expos on May 29, 1992. During his 19 seasons in the Majors, Stairs played for 12 teams, hitting .262/.356/.457 with 265 home runs and 899 RBI. He won a World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. Stairs also holds the record for the most pinch hit Home Runs with 23. Stairs played until 43 with the Washington Nationals in 2011.

Russell Martin 1,693 games

Russell Martin became the everyday catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers as he made his debut on May 5, 2006. The Toronto, Ontario native played in 14 seasons with the Dodgers, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Toronto Blue Jays. He was a four-time all-star, Gold Glove winner, and Silver Slugger. Martin led all catcher’s putouts four times (2007, 2008, 2009, and 2016) and assists (2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013).

Justin Morneau 1,545 games

Justin Morneau played for the Minnesota Twins for most of his career. After being drafted by the  Twins in 1999, he made his debut on June 10, 2003. Morneau became the first Twin to hit 30 home runs in consecutive seasons, the first since Gary Gaetti in 1987-1988. The four-time All-Star was named the 2006 AL MVP while winning the 2008 Home Run Derby. He won two Silver Slugger Awards and represented Canada at the World Baseball Classic in 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2017. He was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame in 2020 as he’s currently serving as a Special Assitant in Minnesota’s front office.

Terry Puhl 1,531 games

Terry Puhl made his first big league start for the Houston Astros against the Dodgers on June 12, 1977. The Saskatchewan native hit .301 in 60 games while earning a starting role in 1989.  The outfielder was a staple in the Astros’ defense throughout the 1980s. In his career, Puhl hit .280/.348/.388 with 62 home runs and 435 RBI. Puhl hit a career-high 13 home runs as he was a consistent contributor for the Astros for the next decade. In most recent years, Puhl has served as manager for Canada’s national team.

Jack Graney 1,402 games

Jack Graney had an interesting road to the big leagues. Fellow Canadian Bob Emslie saw St. Thomas, Ontario native and convinced the Chicago Cubs to sign him. Ultimately, Graney made his debut on April 30, 1908, with the Cleveland Naps as a pitcher. When he was came back to the majors in 1910, he transitioned to left field. Graney was the first batter to face Babe Ruth on July 11, 1914. He was also a part of Cleveland’s first World Series win in 1920. After his playing career, Graney was the first ex-player to have a career in broadcasting.

 Jeff Heath 1,383 games

Jeff Heath blossomed into a power-hitting prospect. The Fort William, Ontario native made his debut for Cleveland on September 13, 1936. However, his debut was overshadowed by Bob Feller, who struck out 17 batters in that same game. Heath’s 1938 season was his breakout campaign. That year, he finished second in the American League batting race (.343) and recorded 21 homers, 112 RBIs and a league-leading 18 triples. In 1941, he became the first American League player to hit 20 doubles, 20 triples and 20 home runs in the same season.

 Jason Bay 1,278 games

Jason Bay played for his hometown team in the 1990 Little League World Series. The Expos selected Bay in the 22nd round of the 2000 MLB Draft. Bay, a native of Trail, British Columbia, made his debut with the San Diego Padres on May 23, 2003. Bay was traded to Pittsburgh, where he would play until 2008. He excelled with the Pirates during that time, hitting back-t0-back 30-home run, and 100-RBI seasons in 2005 and 2006. He was great defensively, too, finishing second among National League left fielders in assists. Bay is the first and only Canadian to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Honorable Mentions

George Gibson, Frank O’Rourke, Pop Smith, Tip O’Neill, Bill Phillips, Arthur Irwin, Paul Quantrill, Rheal Cormier, Ryan Dempster

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Players/managers mentioned:

Joey Votto, Larry Walker, Matt Stairs, Russell Martin, Justin Morneau, Gary Gaetti, Terry Puhl, Jack Graney, Bob Emslie, Babe Ruth, Jeff Heath, Bob Feller, Jason Bay, George Gibson, Frank O’Rourke, Pop Smith, Tip O’Neill, Bill Phillips, Arthur Irwin, Paul Quantrill, Rheal Cormier, Ryan Dempster