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

Convicted drug trafficker asks Victoria courtroom for chance to ‘turn this around’

Horst Schirmer sentenced for convictions on five counts of possession related to trafficking

Pipeline protestors plan march as Trudeau gives Trans Mountain the go-ahead,

20 kilometre march to protest the pipeline starts in Victoria, ends on Saanich Peninsula

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

$11 million overdraw for McKenzie Interchange construction

The project has been delayed multiple times and is now estimating a budget of $96 million

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

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

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read