05/14/2018 7:42 PM -
WMBL alumni and Simcoe, Ont native, John Axford is having a stellar season with the Toronto Blue Jays. A key member of the Jays bullpen, Axford has appeared in 17 games this year and registered a very respectable 1.14 WHIP and a 1.40 ERA.
Originally selected by the Seattle Mariners in the seventh round of the 2001 Major League Baseball (MLB) draft, Axford accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Notre Dame instead of joining the Mariners. While playing baseball for the Fighting Irish, Axford earned a bachelor's degree in film, television and theatre.
After re-entering the MLB draft in 2005, Axford was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 42nd round. He once again chose to go the college route and spent his final year of eligibility with Canisius College Golden Griffins. When the Reds declined to offer him a contract, Axford decided to venture back to Canada and spend the summer in the WMBL pitching for the Melville Millionaires.
Combining his time in Melville and the experience he gained from being part of Canada’s National Team helped to launch his major-league career.
Axford signed a minor-league deal with the New York in 2006. before joining the Milwaukee Brewers farm system. In 2009 Axford made his much-anticipated MLB debut in 2009. In hard work and dedication to the game has paid off as Axford led the National League relievers in saves and won the Rolaids Relief Man Award in 2011.
Since his WMBL tour of Western Canada the well-travelled Axford has pitched in over 500 Major League games with Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Oakland and now Toronto.