Surrey-raised Adam Loewen was among seven players celebrated Jan. 14 when Baseball Canada welcomed corporate partners, alumni and friends to the organization’s 19th Awards Banquet and Fundraiser.
A national team alum and former big-leaguer, Loewen became just the 11th person named to Baseball Canada’s Wall of Excellence.
Now living north of Seattle, Loewen was in Toronto for the awards event.
Loewen, 38, remains the Canadian selected highest in the MLB Draft, after Baltimore Orioles took him fourth overall as a left-handed pitcher in 2002. He was only the fourth Canadian ever taken in the first round of the draft, and the highest selection since Canadians were made eligible for the draft in 1985.
A bio posted on Baseball Canada’s website (baseball.ca) documents Loewen’s rise to the MLB years after he pitched for Whalley Chiefs, who recently posted “back in the day” photos of Loewen on Facebook.
“Perhaps no player in the history of Canadian baseball has garnered (as) much attention as an amateur player than Adam Loewen,” the bio starts.
“A physically imposing figure whose athleticism and ease in which he played the game brought droves of scouts to his native British Columbia and to appearances with the Junior National Team prior to the 2002 MLB Draft. His talent was so special that he put his physical gifts to use and impacted a baseball game both on the mound and in the batter’s box. Little did anyone know at the time that this strapping left-handed pitcher and hitter would put both to use in his professional career.”
Loewen first played in the MLB in 2006 for the Orioles, but an arm injury forced him to end his career on the mound midway through the 2008 season.
What followed was a Hollywood-worthy story of perseverance.
After not swinging a bat for six seasons, Loewen decided to become a position player again and signed with Toronto Blue Jays, where he began his journey back to the bigs in 2009. After two seasons in the minor leagues, he found himself in Triple A during the 2011 season hitting .306 with 17 homers and 85 RBI.
His performance earned a September call-up to the Blue Jays, for his “second” big-league debut, and later hit his first major-league home run.
Three seasons later, while looking for a job in the bigs, Loewen did what he was told wasn’t possible and decided to try his luck on the mound again. After a season and a half of working his way through the minor leagues, he made baseball history when the Phillies made Loewen a big-leaguer again in August 2015, the Baseball Canada bio notes.
“He reached the majors again as a reliever with the Arizona Diamondbacks the following season, adding another chapter to his remarkable story. His extraordinary physical gifts aside, this individual’s work ethic and ability to persevere are what make this person and his story truly special.”
In the summer of 2019, six months after helping Canada to a berth in the Pan Am Games, Loewen was headed to South America be part of the Canadian national men’s baseball team in Lima.
Nearly a decade earlier, Loewen was among those who carried the 2010 Winter Olympics torch through Surrey and would. He’d be a lock for inclusion in a Surrey Sports Hall of Fame, if one existed.
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