Victoria HarbourCats pitcher Claire Eccles poses with a fan during a 2017 game at Royal Athletic Park. (Rich Lam/UBC Athletics Photo)

HarbourCats will retire knuckleballer’s jersey this June

Clare Eccles celebrated for national team and HarbourCats success

The Victoria HarbourCats make their first jersey retirement in the 2019 baseball season and it will be the No. 8 of Claire Eccles.

The knuckleball pitcher made 11 appearances in the 2017 and 2018 seasons and her jersey will be retired during the June 17 game against the Bend Elks at Royal Athletic Park.

Eccles is the first and only female player in West Coast League history, at least so far. It was the unique angle and movement on her fastball and sweeping curveball, in addition to the threat of the knuckleball, that gave lefty hitters a serious challenge.

WATCH: How to throw a knuckleball with Clair Eccles

Eccles, a left-hander, went 2-0 with two starts and nine relief appearances, striking out three batters, but it’s that and her role as a model for female baseball players and fans around the world that are the more important accomplishments, said Jim Swanson, managing partner of the HarbourCats.

“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,” Swanson said. “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 Honour for her bravery, her courage, to step into that spotlight, and to do it with such class.”

READ MORE: Eccles honoured on return to HarbourCats with bobblehead

Eccles’ commitment to Team Canada limited her time with the HarbourCats as she was part of the 2018 bronze medal winning Canadian team at the Women’s World Cup in Florida. Eccles and the HarbourCats fell a couple runs short of earning rings in 2017, losing in the penultimate game of the WCL championship series in Corvallis.

“Each one of those 11 outings brought a level of magic and a unique atmosphere to the park,” said Brad Norris-Jones, General Manager of the HarbourCats. “The first appearance was as emotional and electric a night as we’ve had in our six years in the WCL, matched closely by her last outing, getting the last out of a win over Corvallis.”

Eccles was also a star in the UBC baseball program.

Season tickets, packages and single tickets are all available online at harbourcats.ticketrocket.co or at the HarbourCats office, 1814 Vancouver St., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

Give your immunity a boost for National Immunization Awareness Week

Immunize Canada calls on Canadians to stay up to date with their immunizations

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Families hop over to Easter celebrations at Millstream Village

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza had lineups before 11 a.m.

Parishioners bear the weight of a large wooden cross on Good Friday

Good Friday Passion Procession winds through streets of Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read