Pitcher Claire Eccles, the first female player in West Coast League history, made 11 appearances with the Victoria HarbourCats in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Her jersey will be retired Monday, June 17, 2019, by the Victoria team. (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Victoria HarbourCats ready to retire jersey of league’s first female pitcher

Claire Eccles’ jersey to be retired Monday night

Former Victoria HarbourCats pitcher Claire Eccles’ jersey is set to be retired Monday night.

The team will retire Eccles’ number-eight jersey when the HarbourCats take on the Bend Elks.

Eccles is the first female player in West Coast League history. She made 11 appearances for the HarbourCats in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

“Claire Eccles has meant more to the HarbourCats — and for that matter, the entire West Coast League — than mere statistics can suggest, and this honour is wonderfully deserved,” the league’s commissioner, Rob Neyer, said in a January news release.

READ ALSO: HarbourCats will retire knuckleballer’s jersey this June

Eccles went 2-0 with two starts and nine relief appearances, striking out three batters, in her games with the HarbourCats. Her commitment to Team Canada limited her time with the Victoria team. She was part of the 2018 bronze-medal winning Canadian team at the Women’s World Cup in Florida.

“Hitters respected her, that’s for sure, tipped their caps, it was always interesting to watch the varied reactions, and I hope she taught something to us all,” Jim Swanson, HarbourCats’ managing partner, said in January, when the team announced plans to retire Eccles’ jersey.

“But it was seeing faces of fans young and old, both genders, all walks of life, connect with her in so many ways — that was special. Claire will always be a HarbourCat, and fully deserves a place in our Ring of Honor for her bravery, her courage, to step into that spotlight, and to do it with such class.”

The HarbourCats game Monday against the Bend Elks is set to start at 6:35 p.m. at Royal Athletic Park.

—- with files from Travis Paterson/News Staff


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