Trophy photos: Retired baseball pitcher Jeff Francis meets players with hometown North Delta Baseball Association

Former MLB lefty was at UBC's new indoor training facility on Jan. 16

Retired MLB pitcher Jeff Francis poses with the North Delta Baseball Association tournament trophy that bears his name

North Delta’s most celebrated baseball player finally got to hold the trophy that carries his name.

Lefty Jeff Francis, who recently retired from the game, met fans and posed for photos during an event at UBC Baseball’s new indoor training facility on Jan. 16.

Players, coaches and parents with North Delta Baseball Association (NDBA) made the trek to the Point Grey campus, and president Brent Dingsdale brought along the trophy given to the winner of the Jeff Francis 11U Mosquito Tournament, played every May long weekend at Annieville Park.

“We’ve been running the tournament for about a dozen years and we have this huge trophy for it, but I’ve never seen a picture of Jeff with the trophy,” Dingsdale explained. “So we brought it down there to the open house at UBC, and I think he was pretty tickled pink to see the trophy. He seemed to really enjoy that.”

Francis played baseball with the NDBA from age five until he left for UBC at age 18. He went on to play 11 seasons in the MLB, starting with the Colorado Rockies in 2004 and ending with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015. In the majors, he had a 72–82 win-loss tally and recorded 869 strikeouts.

Francis announced his retirement a few days before Christmas last month.

“I weighed a lot of things,” he told the Now in an email. “Number one, my pitching abilities have diminished enough that I haven’t been very effective in my opportunities at the major-league level for the last couple of years. I’ve been a very good AAA pitcher but weighing that with my family’s difficulty in following me now, with three children, I don’t feel like I’m getting out of it what I’m putting in, and that’s frustrating. I’m so far happy with my decision.”

Francis now lives in London, Ontario, with his wife Allison and their children – daughter Cameron, 6, and sons Miles, 3, and Marshall, 1.

“Most of my winters were spent here during my career for training,” Francis noted.

As a pitcher in MLB action, Francis’ career highlight was starting Game 1 of the 2007 World Series for the Rockies, who lost to the Boston Red Sox that fall.

In international play, he earned a gold medal with Canada’s Pan Am Games team last summer.

The recent open house at UBC was a chance for Francis to reconnect with coaches and others with the Thunderbirds.

“I don’t work with the program directly but I’ve been close with Terry (McKaig, longtime T-bird coach and director of baseball) since I left, as lots of players are,” Francis told the Now. “I try to support in any way I can, as the program means a lot to us former players who had opportunities to play college baseball in Canada.”

Looking back a bit further, the humble Francis is thankful for “lots of great coaches and parents and friends along the way” during his baseball days in North Delta.

“I was surprised they showed up with the trophy, but I’m honored every year when they hold a tournament that carries my name on it,” he said of the group with North Delta Baseball Association.

The association welcomes players to register for its spring season on its website, Ndbaseball.com.

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

 

 

Just Posted

Fire truck disabled in South Surrey accident Tuesday morning

No serious injuries in incident caused by out-of-control vehicle

Letters shed light on state of mind of mother accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey’s Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Surrey lotto winner plans Disney trip and aims to be ‘responsible’ with winnings

Local dad Simon McNeil bought ticket at grocery store in North Delta

BCLC gives final approval to Delta casino

Mediator found City of Richmond did not substantiate its crime, traffic and transportation concerns

Surrey Councillor Laurie Guerra resigns as AutismBC director amid SOGI controversy

AutismBC president Gary Robins says her resignation is effective Nov. 12

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Stench at Abbotsford school incurs 15 WorkSafe reports

The smell is coming from an unauthorized composting operation and is causing headaches, nausea

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Vancouver man must pay $22,000 after breaking strata rules

Peter Gordon took his fight over his rented condo to the civil resolution tribunal, but lost

B.C. cheese linked to 5 E. coli cases

People are asked to throw out or return ‘Qualicum Spice’ cheese

Hockey legends come to B.C.

Greats including Bossy, Dionne, Hawerchuk, Howe, Lafleur and Parent at Langley Events Centre

Canada Post no longer guarantees delivery times amid more rotating strikes

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers closed two major processing centres in Ontario and B.C.

McGill students vote overwhelmingly to change Redmen team nickname

Student union held a referendum after a campaign by Indigenous students

B.C. university pride group replaces white supremacy posters

Around 50 people walked through downtown Victoria to share posters of love

Most Read