A Canadian from Corunna, Ont. is trying to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to victory over the Houston Astros in the World Series.
General Manager Rob Thomson grew up just south of Sarnia, near the U.S-Canada border. The former Detroit Tiger and long-time coach replaced Joe Girardi in early June after the team's disappointing start.
"He finally got his chance to take over the under-performing Philadelphia Phillies halfway through the season," said Scott Crawford, director of operations for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont.
"He turned this struggling team around, said Crawford, making him the first Canadian-born manager to lead an MLB team to the World Series. In October, Thomson's contract was extended to 2024.
Former bat boy in Corunna, Ont.
"It took years for him to get the big job," says Pete Gilliland, who remembers Thomson as a 'bat boy' for his two older brothers, dragging around a bat he was too small to grip.
In the early 1980s, Thomson played for the Stratford Hillers in the Intercounty Baseball League. He was drafted to the Detroit Tigers in 1985, then coached with the New York Yankees for decades.
"He's been in the game for forty years," said Crawford. "He's well-respected."
"Rob is one of those baseball lifers," he said.
"I think it gives the kids hope," said Paula McKinlay, an executive member of Corunna Minor Baseball.
"There is a future in baseball," she said. "Rob is showing this community and these kids that it is so much more than home runs and a perfect pitch count."
"I just wish him all the luck in the world," said former baseball coach Randy Mair, adding, "And bring it home."
WATCH l Canadian-born Phillies manager says team is 'ready to go' ahead of World Series: