Blue Jay way comes to Cooperstown

By Bill Francis

While an assortment of injuries have derailed Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Litsch’s season, it did afford him the opportunity to accompany his father for a recent visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

The connection between fathers and sons and the National Pastime is a common sight at the Cooperstown institution. And such was the case as the 27-year-old right-handed hurler, currently on the 60-day disabled list and lost for the season due to shoulder and bicep problems, talked about the motivation for Saturday’s trip with his father, Rick, to Upstate New York.

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Litsch and his father, Rick, stopped by the Hall of Fame on Saturday to take in the history of the game and build a memory together. (Bill Francis, NBHOF Library)

“We just wanted the whole memory,” Litsch said. “It’s something we’ve wanted to do for awhile and we had time right now so decided to shoot up here and get the whole experience.

“Obviously rehab is not what you want to be doing this time of year, but being able to bring my dad here is a special treat.”

Litsch’s only other time spent in Cooperstown came when he accompanied the Blue Jays to face the Baltimore Orioles in the 2007 Hall of Fame Game.

“That was my rookie year and I remember A.J. Burnett made me do the bucket,” Litsch recalled. “They were playing Home Run Derby out there and I had to get all the balls as the come in from the outfield.”

A Florida native, he grew up a Cincinnati Reds fan whose favorite player was inducted into the Hall of Fame last month.

“My favorite player is Barry Larkin,” Litsch said, “so it’s kind of cool to come here the year the year he gets enshrined.”

As for his own future, Litsch, who has spent his entire five-year big league career with the Blue Jays, says things look bright. Though he will miss the entire 2012 season, his career big league numbers include a 27-27 record, topped by a 13-9 mark in 2008.

“It’s been a hectic year,” Litsch said. “I had an infection that caused an emergency surgery and since then I had to have another surgery that is hopefully the key, so it’s a matter of getting through it and getting back ready for next year.

“Everything is coming along well. It’s a process. You just have to sit and wait, wait, wait and let it get better.”

Bill Francis is a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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