By on February 25, 2013



Tyson Gillies Phillies (EDDIE MICHELS PHOTO)


















CLEARWATER, FLA.—Over the years because of my involvement with baseball and ice hockey I have found there is a love by some of both sports and sometimes one more than the other.

You see fans of the big four sports in this country, football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey the two at opposite ends of the spectrum, baseball and ice hockey are the least likely to be played as each other’s off season activity.

Now with the WBC almost upon us let us check things out between the players and the two sports.

At present the Phillies have three players in camp who are Canadian and will be leaving on March 3, 2013 for Arizona to compete in the WBC for their homeland.

OF Tyson Gillies, 2B Pete Orr and RHP Phillippe Aumont are the three who have played both sports at some level but concentrated on baseball as their ages progressed.

Gillies from Vancouver, BC played into the midget level (16-17 year old) of hockey.  His father once told me he had to drive him around more to rinks than he did to ball fields.

    Orr went as far as Bantam AAA level then got away to play baseball.

The Newmarket, Ont. native told me about the parks in Toronto that have pipes underneath them that when the cold weather arrives the parks are flooded for people can skate on them.

There was one question the Pete and I did talk about and that is why hockey players don’t have as many hamstring injuries as baseball players do.  Could it have something to do as to the way you skate verses running?
Aumont said he never did play organized hockey in Quebec saying, “I only played street hockey and pond hockey.”  This from a player who is presently 6’ 6” and would have made a heck of a defenseman.

One who was a defenseman was former Dodger then Yankee now Pirate Russell Martin.
Unfortunately Martin won’t be playing for Team Canada in the WBC but when you see him in person this is one former center man who would hate to have to take him on during a rush up ice.

But I guess I should say that they chose the right path to get ahead and talking to all four they still have a soft spot for hockey.

A number of years ago while covering the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League I was able to talk at length with Billy Monbouquette,  the pitching coach for the Chiefs.  He grew up in Milford, Ma. if I remember correctly and he played hockey during the off season.

“Mombo” as he was called by his friends once told me, “I would rather go watch a hockey game than a baseball game and I make my living in baseball.”

Mombo also worked under a manager in Syracuse Richie Hebner who was a high school ice hockey All American in 1966.
The thing was during the Stanley Cup Playoffs if a reporter wanted to talk to either of these gentlemen you must bring down the tear sheets from the press box.  The hockey tear sheets were off the Sports Ticker Wire so they could follow their favorite team.

As a note here former major league third baseman Tom Quinlen was a fifth round pick of the Atlanta Flames way back when.
Well enough about hockey as the shortened season appears to have lessened the run for the cup.
Enough said for now, so until then…

Categories: Baseball, Hockey, Other Side of Sports (Too), Sports
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