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

VicPD investigates stabbing near Selkirk Montessori school

Victim in potentially life-threatening condition

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

Fire crews called to home near Beacon Park

Victoria police and fire departments are on scene in the 900 block… Continue reading

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

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

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Most Read