(Montreal) After three years of waiting, it is finally this Friday that Jacques Doucet will officially enter the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Elected in February 2020, the 83-year-old commentator saw the ceremony which was to pay tribute to him be postponed for the first time to the following summer, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scenario repeated itself in the summer of 2021, then, in 2022, an episode of anemia prevented him from going to St. Mary’s, Ontario, where the Canadian Temple is located.
“My health is better, but you’re never completely safe from the weather,” Doucet said in an interview with La Presse Canadienne a few days ago.
All this expectation does not, however, make him more serene in the face of the honor that the institution will give him.
“I still feel nervous, even though I’ve known for three years that I’ll be admitted,” he agreed.
Nor did she make it easier to write her speech, which went through several iterations.
“My girlfriend changed it more often than me!” I can’t say exactly what was added or removed, but I know there were multiple versions,” Doucet said.
“Writing this very important speech for me was a very long process,” he added. Until the ceremony, however, it should not change! »
Doucet became the first French-Canadian who has not played baseball and has never been part of a team’s management to be elected to St. Mary’s on February 4, 2020. He was the voice of the Expos baseball starting in 1969, the Montreal team’s first season in Major League Baseball. After describing about one game a week, the club’s daily La Presse reporter made the leap full-time behind the microphone in 1972 until he left the club in 2004.
He wasn’t sure he liked the job, a concern he expressed to then-club chairman John McHale, who hired him.
“I was used to writing, not talking!” he said when he heard the news of his induction into St. Mary’s. I think I made the right choice. I thank the Expos for trusting me. […] I didn’t know if people were going to adopt me. You may do the best job as a commentator, but if people don’t adopt you, you won’t last long. »
His worries were quickly dissipated, because as soon as he arrived on the air, he became inseparable from the Montreal baseball club.
He described more than 5,500 games during his glorious career, including Dennis Martinez’s perfect game on July 28, 1991, in addition to several playoff and World Series games.
When he thought his career on the microphone was over, Doucet received a surprise call from the Capitales de Québec, of the Can-Am League, who invited him to become their commentator, a position he held from 2006 to 2011. He then accepted the offer of TVA Sports, where he described Toronto Blue Jays games as well as the Major League Baseball playoffs until last September, when he was on the air for his last career innings with the company of his old accomplices, Rodger Brulotte and Denis Casavant.
Jacques Doucet was inducted into the Baseball Quebec Hall of Fame in 2002, then into the Expos Hall of Fame a year later. In 2004, he received the Jack-Graney Award, given annually to a member of the media who has made a special contribution to Canadian baseball during his career.
For this selection to the Hall, he received at least 18 of the 24 votes from the electing members of the selection committee. Of the 50 candidates vying for the year 2020, only the former Blue Jays first baseman John Olerud, British Columbian Justin Morneau, and former Jays pitcher Duane Ward and he obtained the necessary votes. He and Olerud will be the subject of Friday’s ceremony.
In addition to Doucet on Friday, the Expos will see another of their representatives make their debut at St. Mary’s the following day, when gunner Denis Boucher will be inducted along with former Jays and New York Yankees outfielder Jesse. Barfield, former Oakland A’s, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers pitcher Rich Harden, and former Baseball Canada coach Joe Wiwchar.