The final pitch of Ryan Dempster’s storied major league career was a 9th-inning strike to end Game 1 of the 2013 World Series with a victory for his Boston Red Sox. Boston, of course, went on to win in six games. If you had to pick a way to go out, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better ending than that. ‘World Series champion’ has a particularly sweet ring to it after 16 seasons as one of the greatest major league pitchers Canada has produced.
Born Sechelt and raised in Gibsons, Dempster learned the game on ball fields around BC, at one point starring with the North Shore Twins of the BC Premier Baseball League. Drafted in 1995 by the Texas Rangers, three years later he made his big league debut with the Florida Marlins.
Dempster pitched in 579 regular season games with five major league clubs, amassing 132 wins, 2075 strikeouts, and 87 saves, numbers that better any Canadian pitcher outside of Baseball Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins, pretty select company.
After rehabbing from Tommy John surgery that threatened his career, Dempster’s best years came with the Chicago Cubs from 2004-12. Projected as a dependable closer, he pitched himself into a starter’s role. In 2008, his 17-6 record, 2.96 ERA, and 187 strikeouts had him in the conversation for the National League’s Cy Young Award.
Dempster was twice named a National League All-Star in 2000 and 2008. Also in 2000, he received the Tip O’Neill Award as Canada’s top baseball player of the year.
Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
To view the 2018 Inductee career and thank you videos please visit our YouTube Channel here.