A Canadian with Otago links has become the first New Zealand
citizen to play in the American Major League.
Scott Richmond (28) made his first start for the Toronto Blue
Jays when he pitched against the Tampa Bay Rays in a 3-2 loss
in Toronto yesterday.
Richmond is the older brother of George and Stirling
Richmond, both of whom studied at the University of Otago and
played rugby for the Otago University club five years ago.
Their father, Bob, grew up in Auckland before establishing
himself as a chiropractor in Canada.
Scott Richmond's promotion to the major leagues came after he
worked for three years as a labourer at the Vancouver
shipyards before pursuing his baseball career.
The left-hander pitched 5.1 innings for the Blue Jays,
striking out four batters and giving up seven hits and three
runs in the loss.
By answering the call-up to the Blue Jays, Richmond had to
give up his spot on the Canadian baseball team just a week
before the Beijing Olympics.
He had starred for Canada in the Olympic qualifying
tournament in Taiwan, going 2-0 (with a 1.35 earned run
average) in two appearances.
A pre-game ceremony yesterday honoured his team-mates in the
"It was odd not to be standing there wearing red," Richmond
told the Globe and Mail newspaper.
"But when I thought about playing in the majors I always
imagined it would be in blue."
Richmond was cheered off the field and his former Olympic
team-mates were quick to congratulate him.
"Normally, I'd usually just kind of walk off with my head
down," Richmond said.
"I wanted to make sure I soaked it in a bit. I had a lot of
family members who sacrificed a lot and Team Canada was
there, so it was a big game, for sure."