This year’s Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball Forum and Reception will have a distinct Montreal Expos focus to it.
Andre Dawson, Tim Raines and Steve Rogers, three of the all-time greats in Expos franchise history, will be among the baseball giants invited to the annual Leafs dinner being held May 4 at the Marriott Hotel.
Other featured guests include Hall of Fame pitchers Fergie Jenkins and Rich “Goose” Gossage.
Dawson, known as the “Hawk” was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. The eight-time all-star outfielder played 21 seasons after being drafted by Montreal in 1975.
He would win the 1977 National League Rookie of the Year Award and six-straight Gold Glove Awards and twice finished second in Most Valuable Player balloting (1981 and 1983). He was only the second player in baseball history to reach 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases.
Raines, a fifth-round pick of the Expos in 1977, was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017. An all-star in his first seven seasons, the speedy outfielder played 23 seasons, finishing his career with the highest percentage of stolen bases with any player with 400-plus steals. He finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting three times and won a Silver Slugger and a batting title in 1986.
Rogers pitched with the Expos his entire 12-year career, from 1973 to 1985. Montreal’s fourth overall pick in the 1971 amateur draft.
Although he never won 20 games in a season, he would average 14 wins between 1974 and 1985. Regarded as one of the best pitchers in franchise history, the four-time all-star posted a 158-152 record with a 3.17 ERA and 1621 strikeouts in 2837.2 innings.
Jenkins, who was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1962, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.
Regarded as one of the greatest starting pitchers in MLB history, the Canadian is one of only four pitchers to record more than 3,000 strikeouts with fewer than 1,000 walks.
From 1967 to 1972, Jenkins won 20 or more games each year, striking out more than 200 in every season, while averaging 314 innings pitched.
Gossage was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. The flame-thrower was considered one of the top relievers through the 1970s and 1980s.
In six years with the New York Yankees, the “Goose” was a four-time all-star, racking up 150 saves with a 2.10 ERA. He retired in 1994 after a 22-year big league career with nine different clubs.
The Maple Leafs reception runs from 7-10 p.m., with fans getting the chance to ask the baseball greats questions and get autographs.
The Marriott Hotel is located near the airport, at 90 Dixon Road. For ticket information, call 416-631-2600.
photo: The Toronto Maple Leafs baseball club will host their annual forum and reception on May 4, from 7-10 p.m., at the Marriott Hotel near the airport. Baseball greats who will be on hand include Andre Dawson, Tim Raines and Steve Rogers.