10 of the Best Canadian Baseball Players

Canada isn't a hotbed of baseball talent as the country's major sports export is hockey, of course, but Canada is the home of a big-league team and has had its share of star players, including one Hall of Famer.

Here's a look at the top players in MLB history to come out of Canada.

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Ferguson Jenkins

Ferguson Jenkins

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The only current Hall of Famer from Canada, Jenkins was one of the great pitchers of all-time. A native of Chatham, Ontario, Fergie was a good enough athlete to be an offseason member of the Harlem Globetrotters. He won the 1971 National League Cy Young Award, the first Canadian to achieve the honor when he went 24-13 for the Cubs. He won 20 games or more for six consecutive seasons from 1967-72 and is one of four pitchers to have more than 3,000 strikeouts and less than 1,000 walks.

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Larry Walker

Larry Walker

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Perhaps Walker will join Jenkins in Cooperstown one day, but it won't be easy. Walker certainly has the career statistics as his career OPS of .965 is 17th in MLB history (better than Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, and Hank Aaron) and he's a former MVP, earning that honor in 1997 when he hit .366 with an NL-best 49 home runs and 130 RBI. But the three-time batting champion, from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, did most of it in remote outposts Montreal and Denver, and offensive numbers were inflated in the 1990s at Coors Field.

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Joey Votto

Joey Votto

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Votto, from Toronto, was off to a fantastic start of his career. The Cincinnati first baseman was the National League MVP in 2010 when he hit .324 with 37 home runs and 113 RBI. He's a patient hitter who draws a lot of walks and has a career on-base percentage (as of August 2013) of .419 and has also won a Gold Glove at first base. He led the NL in OBP for three consecutive seasons from 2010-12.

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Jeff Heath

Jeff Heath

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Born in Fort William, Ontario, Heath was one of the more feared hitters of his era. He had a monster season in 1941 for Cleveland, when he hit .340 with 24 home runs, 123 RBI, and 20 triples, but his exploits were overshadowed by Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. A two-time All-Star, he retired as the all-time leader in home runs by a foreign-born player, since surpassed by many. Although he came back, his career as a regular ended when he broke his ankle on a 1948 slide in late September.

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Justin Morneau

Justin Morneau

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The 2006 American League MVP, Morneau was one of the best power hitting first basemen in baseball before a concussion derailed him in 2010. A native of New Westminster, British Columbia, Morneau is a four-time All-Star and drove in more than 100 runs for four consecutive seasons from 2006-09. He won the All-Star Home Run Derby in 2008.

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George Selkirk

George Selkirk and teammates

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Selkirk, from Huntsville, Ontario, had to fill the shoes of perhaps the greatest player ever: Babe Ruth. He took over in right field for the Yankees in 1935 and batted better than .300 five times and played on five World Series winners in a brief nine-year career that was cut short by serving in World War II. He was later the general manager of the Washington Senators and worked in the front offices for the Orioles, Athletics, and Yankees.

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Tip O'Neil

Tip O'Neil and teammates

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The first Canadian star in the big leagues, O'Neil is the namesake of the Tip O'Neil Award, given to the top Canadian baseball player of the year, as selected by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. A native of Springfield, Ontario, he was a two-time batting champion, hitting .435 in 1888, and also pitched part-time, going 16-16 with a 3.39 ERA.

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John Hiller

John Hiller and teammates

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One of the great relief pitchers before relievers were celebrated, he saved what was then a record 38 games in 1973 and also won 17 games in relief in 1974. The lefty from Toronto had a heart attack in the middle of his career, causing him to miss the 1971 season, but returned the following year.

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Jason Bay

Jason Bay

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A native of Trail, British Columbia, he played in the Little League World Series, representing Canada in 1990. The 2004 NL Rookie of the Year, Bay is a three-time All-Star who was released in August 2013 by his fifth team, the Mariners. Of Canadian-born players, only Walker and Matt Stairs had more home runs as of 2013.

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Terry Puhl

Terry Puhl and Pete Rose

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Puhl, from Melville, Saskatchewan, was a solid outfielder for more than a decade with the Astros. He was an All-Star in 1978 and hit .526 in the 1980 National League Championship Series against the Phillies.

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