MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM — With the kind of career Moose Jaw’s Rod Heisler put together as a member of Team Canada through the late 1970s and beyond, it seemed like only a matter of time before major recognition came his way.
This past Monday was that time.
Heisler was announced as a member of the 2024 induction class for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, a fitting honour for one of the most accomplished national team players in Team Canada’s history.
“When you first told me that I was being inducted I was so thrilled, I assumed that it was our Olympic team nominated and the guys were getting called about the news!!” Heisler said in the Hall of Fame announcement. “Then when you said it was me, that took me by total surprise. Not in my craziest dreams would I have put myself in any consideration for such an honour. Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame…… no way !! Not a person of too many words, but I was speechless! Wow!”
Heisler was officially elected to the Hall on Feb, 6 and will be inducted at a ceremony on June 15.
A left-handed pitcher, Heisler first cracked the Team Canada roster in 1978 at the Amateur World Series and didn’t take long to have an impact. He’d put together a 2.63 earned run average in that tournament before returning for the event in 1980 and 1982, with his showing in the latter season leading to a 3-0 record, 2.35 ERA and an appearance on the tournament all-star team.
Heisler was a member of Team Canada at the 1984 Olympics and had one of his career highlights when he allowed two runs over 10 ⅓ innings in a 4-3 12-inning loss to Nicaragua. Heisler also saw action with Canada at the 1988 Games.
All told, Heisler pitched for Canada at three Pan Am Games (1979, 1983, 1987), three Intercontinental Cups (1981, 1983, 1985), in the Pacific Cup in 1986 and in the World Cup in 1988. He holds the record for most international appearances with Team Canada at 14.
Heisler entered the teaching profession after his playing career and coached at many levels in and around Moose Jaw. Heisler’s work both as a player and coach saw him receive the Kinsmen Lifetime Achievement Award at the Celebrity Sports Dinner in 2000.
Heisler received the Government of Saskatchewan Merit Award four consecutive years (1982 to 1985) and a Government of Canada Merit Award in 1988. He was inducted into the Bemidji University Hall of Fame in 2006 and was a member of the inaugural class of the Moose Jaw and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
Joining Heisler in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Class for 2024 are former Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, former Blue Jays pitcher Jimmy Key, women’s national team standout Ashley Stephenson, former Blue Jays CEO Paul Godfrey and Toronto Leaside baseball executive Howard Birnie.
“Each member of this year’s class has had a tremendous impact on the game of baseball in Canada,” said Jeremy Diamond, chair of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors. “We look forward to celebrating their outstanding careers in St. Marys this June.”
Heisler and his classmates will be inducted in a ceremony at the Hall of Fame grounds in St. Mary’s, Ont. on June 15.