MILWAUKEE Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has been elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Melvin was born in raised in Chatham, Ontario, the same hometown of hall of fame pitcher Fergeson Jenkins. Growing up, Melvin idolized Jenkins, who won 284-226 games in his 19-year career.
"That's who inspired me to play baseball," Melvin said Tuesday on a conference call. "It was probably a good idea to turn my hockey skates in and started focusing on baseball. I was fortunate to sign a contract and play six years in the minor leagues; never played in the major leagues."
Melvin spent six seasons in the minor leagues, pitching in both the Pittsburgh and New York Yankees farm systems. He posted a career 29-19 record and a 3.43 ERA. After hanging up his cleats, Melvin moved into the Yankees' front office, where he learned under farm system director Pat Gillick.
Gillick quickly became the subject of Melvin's professional admiration. Gillick gave Melvin a tryout after being released by the Pirates. Then the Yankees' farm system director, Gillick wold later move on to Toronto, where the Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series championships.
"Just watching the success that Pat and (then assistant) Gord Ash and their staff had over the years in Toronto, you couldn't help but recognize what they did," Melvin said. "Pat's always been an inspiration for any general manager in the major leagues. But he impacted me even before then because I probably might not have been in baseball if Pat hadn't taken 10-15 minutes to see me throw on the sideline. I owe a lot to Pat just for that one tryout."
After moving on to a front office job in Baltimore, Melvin landed his first GM job in 1994 with the Texas Rangers. In seven seasons, the Rangers qualified for the playoff three times and in 2002, after a year working as a consultant for the Red Sox, Melvin was hired to rebuild the Brewers.
Under his watch, the team snapped a string of 15 consecutive losing seasons and in 2008, earned its first playoff berth since 1982. Last season, the Brewers won a franchise-record 96 games, won the NL Central for the first time and advanced to the NLCS before falling to the eventual World Champion Cardinals in six games.
For his efforts, he was named Major League Executive of the Year by Baseball America.
"Being recognized back in my home country means a lot to me," Melvin said. "I'm very excited about it. I just wish as an executive I had more opportunity to get back home. But I recognize what the Hall of Fame has done and am very appreciative of the honor."