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

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

Stop work order at Sooke salmon hatchery devastates volunteers

CRD steps in as some volunteers give up their efforts

Belgian man searches for family of fallen First World War soldier from Victoria

Mark Edward Berton attended Victoria High School and has his grave in Flanders Field

Saanich preschool celebrates 30 years with reunion event

Thousands invited RSVP for Carrot Seed Preschool 30-year celebration

Sidney Museum’s Chief Dan George exhibition sees surge of interest

Four mayors, federal Green leader, Tsartlip reps to attend June 21 opening ceremony

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

SOOKE HISTORY: Pemberton Pool namesake remains a mystery

Historian believes it was possibly named after surveyor Joseph Despard Pemberton

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Most Read