Newfoundland MLB Connections

newfoundland

There has never been a Major League Baseball player born (or completely raised) from Newfoundland & Labrador.  There has however, been four players with Newfoundland connections who have made the Major Leagues.  These are mentioned on the MLB Connections page on this very site.  Strangely, all four have Toronto Blue Jays connections.

  1. Rich Butler – A native of East York, Ontario; his father (Frank) hailed from Butlerville, Newfoundland (part of the town of Bay Roberts).  He signed with the Blue Jays as an amateur free agent in 1990, worked his way up through the minor leagues before making his MLB debut in September 1997 at Shea Stadium, against the Mets.  He would play parts of 1998 and 1999 with the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Currently runs a baseball camp in the Toronto area, which also makes a stop in Newfoundland.  Played 86 games in his Major League career, hitting .223 and slugging 7 home runs.
  2. Rob Butler – Rich`s brother was part of the 1993 World Series champion Blue Jays.  After the Series, Butler received a hero`s welcome when he returned to Newfoundland to visit family.  He would play only 43 games in the strike shortened 1994 season with the Jays.  Returned to the Major Leagues in 1997, spending a cup of coffee with the Phillies.  Briefly returned to the Jays in 1999, playing only eight games.  Butler played 109 MLB games, hitting .243.
  3. John Gibbons – Current Jays manager, John Gibbons spent two years living in Goose Bay, while his father was stationed at the US Air Force base (he was an optometrist there).  He started Little League while living in Labrador.  Safe to say he`s the only graduate of Goose Bay Little League to have made the Major Leagues.  His MLB career was short, parts of the 1984 & 1986 seasons as catcher with the Mets.  Like Rob Butler, he did get a World Series ring despite a brief Major League career.
  4. Michael Saunders – Born and raised in Victoria, his father is from Grand Falls-Windsor.  His grandfather still lives there.  By far the most tenured player on this list, he played in the 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego (talk about a long ways from Newfoundland).  He played in Seattle from 2009-2014 until returning to Canada (although, much farther from his hometown) to play for the Jays since 2015.  He is currently a free agent.

Strange how the province`s only MLB connected players have all played/managed with the most popular team in the province.  It is worth noting that Frank Humber of Corner Brook pitched two seasons in the Los Angeles Dodgers system in 1989-90.  Gerard Butt played four seasons of independent ball.  Butt is a one time Yankees (1998) and Reds (1998) draft pick.

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