2011 Most influential Canadians in Baseball: Greg Hamilton No. 1
*While plenty of Canucks enjoyed 2011, no one had a gold, silver and a bronze medal like director of national teams Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, Ont.)
By Bob Elliott
The cold hard numbers from faraway lands:
A .750 win percentage in must-win games.
And oh yes, three medals.
The golden era of Canadian baseball at the major-league level (26 Canadians appeared in the majors this season) continued on the international stage.
First, a bronze medal at the 39th World Cup in Panama.
Then, gold at the Pan-Am Games in Mexico, Canada’s first with seniors and second since the world juniors in 1991.
And finally a silver medal, its first, at the world junior championship in Colombia.
Ernie Whitt, who managed the World Cup and Pan-Am teams of minor leaguers is from Clinton Township, Mich., unofficially a suburb of Windsor.
The architect and a coach of the two senior teams, and the coach of the world juniors is Hamilton, director of national teams for Baseball Canada.
In one the closest races we’ve ever had, Greg Hamilton is our choice as the most influential Canadian in baseball on our fifth annual list of movers and shakers, who had success on the diamond in 2011.
When Whitt and Hamilton saved right-hander Scott Richmond for Venezuela in third game of the 2009 World Baseball Classic at the Rogers Centre, they took plenty of criticism.
Now, with three medals in a span of 56 days they both deserve credit.
Whitt will be honoured on the Baseball Canada Wall of Fame which also includes former MVP winners Larry Walker of Maple Ridge, B.C., Justin Morneau of New Westminister, B.C., and Joey Votto of Etobicoke.
And some day Hamilton will be there too.
He selected all three rosters, didn’t bat an eye when the Milwaukee Brewers promoted second baseman Taylor Green from Comox, B.C., and the Blue Jays made Adam Loewen, likely his clean-up hitter, their September call ups.
“Greg is the reason why baseball in Canada is where it is, especially at the international level, with his endless commitment towards player development, his countless hours put towards the junior and senior national teams, he does it all,” said Adam Stern, a former National team player from London.
“Greg is a one-man show, doing the job that would normally take five people. No one puts in more time towards the development of baseball in this country than Greg Hamilton. Look at where Canada has come in the last few years, it all goes back to Greg and his ability to put together great teams.”
Stern said Hamilton understands the strength of team chemistry, saying “so many players owe him a lot for what he has done at one time or another during their careers, allowing them opportunities they may not have gotten if he wasn’t around. He’s what makes this country tick at the baseball level, hands down. He’s the man.”
Hamilton shared top honours on our first annual list with former Blue Jays president
Jays president Paul Beeston held the No. 1 spot in 2008-09 and Votto was No. 1 in 2010.
“For all the work he puts in, the time he dedicates Greg Hamilton gets a fraction of the credit and notoriety that should come with such a position,” said lefty Jeff Francis, who started for the Kansas City Royals this season. “For me it is a no-brainer.”
In the three tournaments Canada beat Venezuela (three times), Puerto Rico and Team USA (twice each), Japan, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Netherlands Antilles, Guatemala, Greece and the Netherlands, the World Cup winners.
Canada lost to Cuba (twice), Team USA, Australia, Mexico and Panama.
Prior to winning three medals in 57 days, Canada had eight since first fielding a national team in 1967.
Besides the gold at the juniors in 1991, the rest were bronze at the juniors (1983, 1987, 1997 and 2006), the 1999 Pan Ams, the 2009 World Cup and the World University Games in 1993.
Now, on with the show … with last year’s ranking in brackets:
The Chatham, Ont., native, it could be argued, should be the No. 1 man. Melvin traded the future in Brett Lawrie, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar to acquire starters Shaun Marcum and Zach Greinke and decided to hold on to first baseman Prince Fielder, even though it was unlikely Fielder would re-sign. Grienke and Marcum combined to go 29-13 as the Brewers won 96 games (second most in the National League), beat the Arizona Diamondbacks and lost Game 7 to the St. Louis Cardinals, the eventual World Series champs. He was named The Sporting News executive of the year.
Had it not been for Ryan Braun’s positive drug test, Melvin could have been higher, yet the Brewers are far from the culture of the Oakland A’s when Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and back-up infielders were named in the Mitchell Report.
3. Alex Anthopoulos GM, Blue Jays (5).
It was not his money which was posted to land Yu Darvish. However, had Anthopoulos not gone to Japan, had he and his scouts not liked Darvish, the Jays would not have beeen close to landing their first Japanese player. He added two “core players” this year in centre fielder Colby Rasmus, who has yet to establish himself and closer Sergio Santos via trade. Anthopoulos has also done his part in making the Jays Canada’s team — as a regular fixture on French language stations.
Philadelphia Phillies’ Montreal-based scout Alex Agostino told us about his son Mateo wearing a Jays cap: “When they lose, he aches the way I used to when the Montreal Expos lose a close one in extras.”
4. Paul Beeston: president, Blue Jays (3).
Beeston gets credit for bringing the Jays’ affiliate to Vancouver where it was a success. And while he didn’t study design at the University of Western Ontario, you knew that the Jays’ new logo would have a Canadian flag. It’s also nice to see a team called the Blue Jays set to wear blue uniforms. Beeston was also part of commissioner Bud Selig’s 14-man special committee which worked on baseball’s new Basic Agreement; he sat on the Hall of Fame Golden Era committee which elected the late Ron Santo; and he won the unofficial comeback president of the year nod.
Landing Darvish would have made a difference for both Beeston and his GM. His worst moment came on the grid iron: Queen’s Golden Gaels 37, Mustangs 0.
5. Pat Gillick, adviser to the president, Philadelphia Phillies (2).
How does one cap off a season which began with him being honoured along with Robbie Alomar on opening night at the Rogers Centre; attending the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame to see former closer Tom Henke give a heartfelt speech; an induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown; and touring the warning track at Citizens Bank Park in a convertible?
Gillick, a Canadian citizen, writes a lot. His autograph as a HOFer is now worth money. He has done a few card shows and signed balls all with one condition: that the money go to the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation. By the time his scheduled commitments are finished he’ll have raised $20.000.
The Canadian player who had the best year? It had to be Axford. Maybe the best story too. The Port Dover, Ont., native recorded an NL leading 46 saves, including 43 straight, for the Brewers with a 1.95 ERA while walking 25 and striking out 86 in 73 innings. He had three saves in post-season play to tie Dr. Ron Taylor for the record for saves by a Canadian in a single post-season.
Axford won Canadian player of the year honours, sharing the Tip O’Neill award with Joey Votto, but leads in Twitter followers and wins the moustache competition.
7. Joey Votto, first base, Cincinnati Reds (1).
Who knows what would have happened in the MVP voting had Votto maintained the .997 OPS he had at the end of August. After hitting .236 with three homers and 11 RBIs, Votto finished the season with a .947 OPS. Despite the bad month the Etobicoke native still finished sixth in the MVP voting.
The 2011 O’Neill co-winner winner batted .309 with 29 home runs, 40 doubles and 103 RBIs. He was an NL all-star and won his first gold glove.
8. Nadir Mohamed, president and CEO, Rogers Communications (20).
He’s certainly not the face of the franchise say the way George Steinbrenner was with the New York Yankees. Mohamed is not the face of 37% ownership of the Maple Leafs, the Raptors or TFC. Yet the decisions — from approving all the tickets to Japan to scout Darvish to the posting fee and the eventual contract — were all his.
He’s a man of the world, born in Tanzania, and having lived in India and Vancouver. He attended school in England and now oversees the payroll of the Jays, Leafs and Raptors.
9. Larry Walker, Team Canada coach (8).
In his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, he grabbed 20.3% of the vote, second only to Jeff Bagwell (41.7%) among players on the ballot for the first time. Walker was considered one of the best right fielders in history, helped popularize the game in Canada and was the first Canadian ever to win the MVP Award (1997, .366 with 49 homers, 130 RBIs, 33 stolen bases). Walker played during the height of the steroid era and like Fred McGriff was never accused of juicing. His numbers compare to hall of famers Duke Snider, Joe DiMaggio, Chuck Klein and Albert Pujols among others. Walker wasn’t with Team Canada for its Pan Am gold or its World Cup bronze. Yet when 16 of the players on those teams were asked who their favourite player was Walker got nine votes. No one else had more than one.
10. Brett Lawrie, third base, Blue Jays (45).
The Langley, B.C., native arrived Aug. 5, part Brian Urlacher, part Pete Rose. When he hit his first grand slam against the Oakland A’s four games later he entered the dugout pounding high fives, screaming and tossing his helmet into the wire netting at the front of the dugout. Eric Thames, who had been with Lawrie at triple-A Vegas, knew what to expect and stayed clear. Others who had not seen his “game face” were re-coiling in horror.
Hundreds of fans began lining up at 6:30 a.m., for an autograph signing at Sears inside the Eaton Centre. “Some day,” said his former coach, “they’ll have his picture on Tim Hortons cups.”
11. Claude Delorme, VP stadium development, Florida Marlins (14).
Before the Los Angeles Angels took over the off-season acquisitions lead (Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson), the winter belonged to the Marlins (Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell). One reason is this Laurentian University grad from Sturgeon Falls, Ont. Delorme was the Marlins’ point man for getting new stadium approval. He met with the architectural firms and hired the contractors. The new yard, with a retractable roof, natural grass and 37,000 seats, including approximately 3,000 club seats and 60 private suites, sits on 17 acres of the 42-acre Orange Bowl site in the Little Havana section of Miami.
Beside the head-set he wears as the play-by-play broadcaster on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, Shulman also dons a ball cap when coaching third base for the Thornhill Reds minor peewees, which includes his son Ben. Shulman heads ESPN’s three-man crew of Orel Hershiser and Terry Francona. Sports Illustrated’s play-by-play man of the decade made a smooth transition, taking over for Ford C. Frick winner Jon Miller.
13. Fergie Jenkins: Hall of Famer (12).
The only Canadian-born player in Cooperstown did not face the rigours of a coast-to-coast, month-long tour to launch a stamp in his honour this year as he did in 2010. He was at the opening of his museum in St. Catharines; and leant his name to an elite baseball league, much like other divisions: Peewee (Reese), Babe Ruth, Connie Mack and Stan Musial.
The national treasure won 284-games, lives in Phoenix, but can be found at Cubs games in the spring, banquets and golf tourneys from coast to coast.
14. Jerry Howarth: broadcaster, Blue Jays (11).
The late Tom Cheek worked 4,306 consecutive games with a professional manner that was admired across Canada. His partner, the bouncy little guy who looks like he’s had one too many Red Bulls, has a burning passion for the game as well. Howarth has worked 4,879 games. Cheek and Howarth were both on the Frick ballot this year.
The Etobicoke resident became a Canadian citizen in 1994 and coaches basketball in the winter, although his players are weak at behind-the-back passes.
15. Keith Pelley, president, Rogers Media (17).
Pelley took over from Tony Viner and helped set the business plan for 2012. Beeston reports to Pelley who oversees the Sportsnet properties. Formerly president of TSN, the Argos, executive vice president at CTV and Canada’s Olympic Consortium he’s oversees the start-up Sportsnet magazine, CITY-TV, plus Maclean’s magazine.
16. Dr. Marc Philippon, hip specialist (-).
A Hamilton native and McMaster grad, Dr. Philippon is a partner at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Col. He operated on Carlos Delgado, Alex Rodriguez, Luis Castillo and even put a spring back in the step of veteran MLB.com scribe Ken Gurnick, who covers the Dodgers.
He has treated tennis star Milos Raonic. Mario Lemieux, golfers Greg Norman and Peter Jacobsen, plus he’s a consultant to NFL, NBA and other pro teams.
Thomson returns as the Yanks’ third base coach, hoping to last as long as Frank Crosetti. He waved home 859 runners and shook a bunch of hands on manager Joe Girardi’s 97-win team. He enters his 23rd year with the Yanks and has five World Series rings, the first four as minor-league field coordinator.
The Corunna, Ont., native lives in Stratford, also home to Justin Bieber.
18. Gord Ash, assistant GM, Milwaukee Brewers (22).
Whatever success Melvin and the Brewers had, Ash played a part in it as well. Melvin and Ash take turns travelling with the team on the road and both, along with their scouts, make the decisions on player moves. The former Jays GM and Toronto native, also owns 5% of the AHL Milwaukee Admirals and hired good Kingston boy Kirk Muller as coach, although he did not stay long.
The Brewers and Jays shared the lead for the most Canucks in their minor-league systems for the second season with 12 apiece.
19. Andrew Tinnish, scouting director, Jays (21).
For the first time in franchise history the Jays did not sign their top pick — Tyler Beede, who went to Vanderbilt — but it still was a productive draft: Jacob Anderson received a $990,000 US signing bonus, Joe Musgrove, $500,000, Dwight Smith, $800,000, Kevin Comer $1.65 million, Daniel Norris $2 million, Jeremy Gabryszwski $575,000, John Stilson $500,000 and top Canadian Tom Robson, $325,000.
The Ottawa native has additional picks and backing from management to spend. Baseball America ranked the Jays’ farm system 28th before the Roy Halladay deal, No. 4 a year ago and they will retain their top-five rating next month.
20. Arlene Anderson, CEO Sam Bat (16).
Anderson, a former KPMG chartered accountant, moved the world’s original maple baseball bat company operation from Ottawa to an industrial park in Carleton Place. Founded by inventor, Sam Holman. Anderson and her husband, Jim, a Met Life Canada executive, are majority owners with Paul Balharrie and Holman as minor partners. Roughly 100 major-leaguers used the Sam Bat, including NL MVP Ryan Braun of the Brewers, Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera and Diamondbacks’ Miguel Montero. Sam Bat is also the official supplier to the Australian League plus and has clients in Japan, Korea, Italy and Britain.
The new location gives easy access to Highway 7 and wood kilns will be used in nearby Berwick, home of Country Lanes fine wood products.
21. Jeffrey Royer, general partner, Arizona Diamondbacks (19).
The Toronto resident committed $160 million US over a 10-year span to own roughly 30% of the Diamondbacks. Royer is a corporate director and a member of the audit committee of the Calgary-based, Shaw Communications cable company. Royer grew up in Wisconsin a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers. Royer graduated from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., where Peter Hoy of Cardinal, Ont., is the head coach.
Royer is not the only cable guy in town to own part of a ball team.
22. Jeff Mallett, part owner, San Francisco Giants (18).
The former president and CEO of Yahoo Inc. (1995-2002), is a Victoria, B.C., native and a partner of the Giants, now living in San Francisco. Besides the Giants, he also owns a portion of AT&T Park, the Bay Area’s regional sports cable TV network and 25% of class-A San Jose.
A year ago Martin limped into the Baseball Canada fund raiser and listed off his injuries. Whispers from Los Angeles were that he was done and that was the reason they didn’t re-sign the catcher.
Martin started 118 games for the Yankees and earned his third trip to the all-star game. Martin was born in East York, raised in Chelsea, Que., and grew up in Montreal.
24. John Ircandia, managing director, Okotoks Dawgs (84).
Seaman Stadium, home of the Dawgs in the Western Major Baseball League averaged 2,349 fans per game (up from 2,238) this summer. The Dawgs had won three of the previous five titles before losing to the Regina Red Sox this summer. Ircandia employs 14 coaches to teach 72 kids in the Dawgs Academy, plus his summer college program.
The 2,650-seat Seaman Stadium, named after Donald R. Seaman and the late Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman, a part owner of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, came at a cost of $8 million. Down the right field line is $2 million the Duvernay Fieldhouse. And the new Tourmaline Field opens in the spring.
25. Walt Burrows, Canadian director, MLB Scouting Bureau (15).
The Brentwood Bay, B.C., resident evaluates Canadian high schoolers from coast to coast. He instructed at MLB’s scout school, scouted the Dominican Republic in the fall for the Major League Scouting Bureau and is Canada’s advance man at World Baseball Classic time.
Only Murray Zuk (Padres) of Souris, Man., and Claude Pelettier (Mets) of Ste-Lezare, Que., have scouted Canada longer. In June, 35 Canadians were drafted, 22 of which signed, plus six free agents signed.
26. Jay Lapp, amateur scout, Brewers (52).
Scouts will tell you: you never know. Lapp made the drive from his London, Ont., home in the midst of a snowstorm to a workout at The Baseball Zone in Mississauga. The result? Signing John Axford, who led the NL in saves this year. Lapp also scouted a high schooler named Brock Kjeldgaard, drafted out of Indian Hills College as a pitcher. As he was about to be released, Lapp suggested giving him a try with the bat. Kjeldgaard hit 24 homers this summer, including a record 18 at class-A Brevard County.
Lapp also gave Dustin Houle of Penticton, B.C.. a $150,000 bonus and signed Toronto’s Jalen Harris.
27. Farhan Zaidi, director baseball operations, Oakland A’s (27).
Was involved along with A’s GM Billy Beane in the deal that sent former Jays’ No. 1 pick David Purcey to Oakland for reliever Danny Farquhar, and also brought back reliever Trystan Magnuson to the Jays.
Born in Sudbury, Ont., Zaidi gives the A’s statistical analysis on players leading into the draft, free agency and trades. He’s the No. 3 man behind Beane and David Forst. He attended MIT and University of California-Berkeley.
He was always a Hall of Fame doctor, with his family practice and the S.C. Cooper sports medicine clinic at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Now he’s a regular at HOF gatherings. Taylor has been inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame in St. Marys for his two Series rings and now he’s becoming a regular a Cooperstown. In July it was his good friend Pat Gillick and former Jay Robbie Alomar who were inducted.
This year he’ll be there to see his former catcher Tim McCarver, the latest winner of the Ford C. Frick award for broadcasting. In his spare time, he and Dr. Allan Gross tend to millionaires at the Rogers Centre as the Jays’ club doctors.
29. Allan Simpson, Perfect Game cross-checker (26).
The Baseball America founder made history when he was the first journalist inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame by unanimous decision. A Kelowna, B.C., native, his Baseball America usurped The Sporting News as the baseball bible. He has moved on to a new challenge as national coordinator for the Perfect Game scouting service which college recruiters and pro teams depend on year round. His site rates the best players in every age group from the 2014 draft to junior college prospects.
He will try to fill in for the late Randy Echlin, who oversaw the HOF selection committee.
30. Wayne Norton, scout, Seattle Mariners (62).
The Port Moody, B.C., scout who covers Canada and Europe had three of his players with Seattle this year: Victoria’s Mike Saunders (58 games), Dutch outfielder Greg Halman (36) and Italy’s Alex Liddi (15). When Halman was killed, M’s scouts Bob Engle and Norton rushed to Rotterdam to be with Halman’s mother for the services.
And Norton has Phillippe Aumont of Gatineau, Que., with the Phillies and James Paxton on the horizon with the M’s. In June, Norton drafted Edmonton’s Cory Scammell.
31. Dave McKay, first base coach, Chicago Cubs (29).
McKay was with manager Tony La Russa for longer than he played in the majors. With La Russa retiring, McKay — who spent 25 years in the same dugout as La Russa, most recently as the St. Louis Cardinals’ first base coach — stays within the NL Central division, having taken the same position on new manager Dale Sveum’s staff running the Cubs.
A Vancouver native and an original Blue Jay, the Canadian hall of famer is entering his 27th season as a big league coach. McKay also will work with base runners and outfielders.
32. Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs (24).
For 11 seasons, long before there ever was a World Baseball Classic we’ve picked an all-Canadian team each July 1. This year Dempster of Gibsons, B.C., was given the ball for his fifth Canada Day — he had the honour in 2010, 2006, 2002 and was on our inaugural team in 2001. And for a fourth-straight year he worked more than 200 innings (202 1/3), sharing the lead in wins (10-14).
More important, Dempster is a supporter of Baseball Canada, raising roughly $70,000 with his tours and tickets to Wrigley. Next set up for grabs is the annual Baseball Canada banquet and fund raiser at the Renaissance Hotel in Toronto. The packages include a trip for four to Chicago to see a four game series at Wrigley, three nights stay, stint as Cubs bat boy for a game, pre-game batting practice and clubhouse tour and autographed jerseys. For info, see the Baseball Canada website.
33. Jacques Doucet, broadcaster (34).
His Expos are gone, but his excited home runs calls and passion for the game will be back for Quebec listeners in 2012. Hired by TVA Sports, a new French-language sports TV station, he’ll broadcast 70 games next season as the play-by-play voice of the Jays.
Between the Expos’ departure and the new gig with the Jays he worked Quebec Capitals games in the independent Cam-Am League.
The French-language voice of the Expos was a finalist for the Frick award, however, he will be receive a Medal of Honour from the president of the Quebec National Assembly to highlight his contribution to Quebec society.
34. Mike McRae, coach, Canisius College (33).
There are larger schools who play in loftier conferences in the NCAA. Yet the whisper goes around area sandlots “did you know McRae is here?” It sends chills down the spine of other recruiters. The Niagara Falls, Ont. native turned down chances at larger schools and pro teams to sign a contract extension and remain in Buffalo — winning 189 games in his seven seasons with the Golden Griffins, including a 142-88 (.617) mark the last four seasons along with two conference regular-season titles.
Canisius ranked third in the Northeast and 43rd nationally in total wins the last four seasons, The only Canadian NCAA Div. I head coach has landed Windsor’s Brett Siddall and Scarborough’s Mitchell Triolo for next summer. They join current Canucks: Drew Pettit of Fonthill, Ont., Alex Tufts, Kentville, N.S., Thornhill’s Jason Rubenstein, Mississauga’s Billy Martin, Nathan Linesman, of Ariss, Ont., Brooklyn Foster, Langley, B.C., Mississauga’s Jose Torralba, Josh Marshall, of Saskatoon, Sask., London’s Jon Fitzsimmons, Shane Zimmer of St. Albert, Alta., Michael Booth of Lakeshore, Ont., Michael Krische of Langley, B.C., Toronto’s Connor Panas, Iannick Remmillard, of Valleyfield, Que. and Devon Stewart, Maple RIdge, B.C.
35. Scott Moore, president Rogers Media broadcasting (-).
Moore is responsible for broadcasting all 162 Blue Jays games on Sportsnet and The Fan. We’re not sure if he takes the blame if Bob (The Franchise) McCown walks, but he deserves credit, along with host Jamie Campbell for the increased presence and quality of the Jays’ pre-game shows.
Besides overseeing content on Citytv, Sportsnet and OMNI and all radio he is responsible for programming, sales, production, engineering and distribution. He and Pelley scooped broadcaster Hazel Mae from MLB Network, and hired a host of writers — led by baseball columnist Shi Davidi — for the Sportsnet website and magazine.
36. Joel Wolfe, agent, Wasserman Group (-).
Besides representing Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow, Wolfe works at the Los Angeles-based Wasserman Media Group. His clients include Chase Utley, Jason Giambi, Randy Wolf, Delmon Young, Mike Stanton, Bud Norris, Jason Kubel and Reed Johnson. He also looked after first rounders Trevor Bauer ($3.4 million bonus from the Diamondbacks) and Joe Ross ($2.75 million, Padres) and second rounder Erik Johnson ($450,000 from the White Sox). Wolfe attended Bishop’s University and earned his law degree at UCLA, where he had an RBI double in this year’s alumni game.
Both of Wolfe’s parents are from Montreal, He has a summer home in Ayer’s Cliff, Que., and maintains Canadian citizenship. How Canadian is he? William Shatner was in his mother’s high school graduating class.
37. Ray Carter, president, Baseball Canada (36).
Baseball Canada’s success begins at the top and the king of the mountain rules with a gentle, but firm hand. A Tsawwassen, B.C., resident Carter is in his 12th year president of Baseball Canada. The former president of Baseball B.C. has been involved with amateur baseball for 34 years.
Carter helped bring together the Ottawa staff of Jim Baba, Greg Hamilton, Andre Lachance and Adam Morrissette which helped produce this golden era of Canadian success at the international and major-league levels.
38. Charlie Wilson, director, minor league operations, Blue Jays (38).
You’d have to go back a few years to find a Toronto system which had such a successful summer. Tinnish and his cadre of scouts may line up the players. When the Jays decide to move someone, Wilson, entering his eighth year on this job, goes about moving them. It’s his job to keep the 13-man, minor-league staff and 29 minor-league managers happy. He gets calls from early in the a.m. until 1:30 the next a.m. if Las Vegas is playing on the coast.
Five of his teams made the playoffs, four made the final. He sets budgets, signs international free agents, and runs spring training.
Morneau led the Twins in one category: surgeries. He went under the knife to remove a herniated disc fragment in his neck, a cyst was removed from his left knee, a bone spur from his right foot and a tendon was repaired in his left wrist. Plus concussion-like syndromes re-surfaced.
The injuries restricted his playing time to 69 games.
40. Tom Valcke, CEO, Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (42).
After 10 years, Valcke is moving on, likely at the end of February. He’s a baseball man whether promoting the game, serving as IBAF technical director at events around the world or coaching his son’s team, the Western Ontario New Era bantams. Artifacts from coast to coast come into the Hall each year. As do new inductees.
41. Fred Wray, agent, Octagon (98).
Not only does Wray have eight major leaguers: Astros’ Jason Castro, Mariners’ Charlie Furbush, Marlins’ Logan Morrison, Tigers’ David Pauley, Marlins’ Bryan Petersen, Angels’ Garrett Richards, the Rays’ Matt Mangini and Mississauga’s Chris Leroux of the Pirates, but he represents successful minor leaguers in Angels’ Matt Shoemaker double-A Texas League pitcher of the year, Diamondbacks’ Kevin Munson, chosen to play in the AFL Rising Stars Game and Angels’ Carlos Ramirez, an organizational all-star.
This summer the Calgary native represented Jordan Cote, a third rounder of the Yankees who was given $725,000.
42. Paul Quantrill, pitching coach, Ontario Terriers (28).
The original Quantrill’s raiders were pro-Confederate rangers, battling on the Missouri-Kansas border during the American Civil War. After instructing with the Team Canada junior team, the Canadian Baseball hall of famer (841 pitching appearances — more than any other Canadian) this Quantrill has his own set of raiders.
They throw strikes, including his most seasoned pupil, son Cal, who won the gold medal game at the Canada Cup in Fredericton. “We put in our little major leaguer,” said Ontario coach Marc Picard. Cal hit 90 mph this summer and is eligible for the 2013 draft. And later in the summer his fastball was clocked at 90 MPH.
Ducey runs the 31st academy for youngsters in the Dominican Republic. Steve Swindal, former chairman of the Yankees heads Pan Am, with the clinic in direct competition for the prospects with the academies run by other major league teams. The Cleveland Indians signed Dorsys Paulino for a signing bonus of $ 1.1 million in June. Ducey is completing his first year running the complex.
44. Doug Mathieson, coach, Langley Blaze (39).
No other coach in Canada had three players drafted who wound up with a six-figure signing bonus, That was what happened with Mathieson’s Langley Blaze crew as Tom Robson of Ladner, B.C., went in the fourth round to the Blue Jays for a $250,000 bonus, Dustin Houle of Penticton, went in the eighth round to the Brewers for $150,000 and North Surrey’s Justin Atkinson went in the 26th round to the Jays for $100,000.
Formerly a part-time scout with the Twins, Mathieson will now scout for the Diamondbacks.
45. Stephen Brooks, CFO, Blue Jays (50).
Counting the Jays’ money is the Prince George B.C., native who played youth ball as a youngster and has been at the Jim Swanson’s annual World Baseball Challenge bringing together the best amateur teams from around the world each July. The Jays will sponsor the event thanks to Beeston and Brooks.
And some say he had a lot to do with the Jays moving from Auburn to Vancouver.
46. Jonah Keri, ESPN (47).
His book — The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Team from Worst to First (ESPN Books/Ballantine) — on the Tampa Bay Rays hit stores in March. Soon the writing machine from Montreal signed a deal to write The Definitive History of the Montreal Expos, for Random House Canada. It is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2014, the 10th anniversary of the Expos’ move.
He has written for ESPN.com, The New York Times, Grantland, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Sports, FanGraphs, SI.com, Salon, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, Playboy, Penthouse, plus Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. The Jonah Keri Podcast has been a hit as well — except for one horrible week when I was his guest.
47. Jim Stevenson, area scout, Houston Astros (59).
The former Leaside coach had three of his signed players in the majors: Yovani Gallardo, Mike Bascik and Dana Eveland. He scouted for the Indians and the Brewers, and now is in his fourth year with the Astros working North Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri. He drafted Adrian Houser of Locust Grove, Ok., a second rounder, giving him a $530,100 bonus.
Stevenson also signed Dallas Keuchel in 2009 from the University of Arkansas, who finished at triple-A after earning double-A Texas League all-star pitcher of the year.
48. Ron Tostenson, scout, Chicago Cubs (51).
Tostenson is one of the lead men for scouting director Tim Wilken, who had one of the best five drafts. The players included 11th rounder Shawon Dunston, who signed for $1,275 million and 14th rounder Dillon Maples, given $2.5 million. Tostenson cross-checked before the draft, covered Canada, Japan and Latin America.
The Kelowna, B.C., native was heavily involved in the top picks, which included North York catcher Justin Marra and Pickering’s Brian Smith.
49. Chris Mears, scout Boston Red Sox (53).
Players recall their first major-league at-bat, scouts remember the debut of the first players to make the majors. Mears’ day came June 5 when Kyle Weiland, whom he drafted in the third round in 2008, was promoted to Boston. Six months later Boston sent Jed Lowrie and Weiland to the Astros for right-hander Mark Melancon. After growing up in Ottawa, Leaside and Victoria, Mears lives in Oklahoma and covers Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South and North Dakota.
Jeremy Hazelbaker combined for 17 homers and 47 stolen bases at class-A Salem and double-A Portland, while Jeremy Kehrt, a 47th rounder in 2008, pitched in the Arizona Fall League, Mears gave seventh rounder Cody Kukuk $800,000 this summer and also signed Joe Holtmeyer, a 22nd round pick.
50. Phil Lind, vice-chairman, Rogers Communications (31).
The classy Lind is a regular at baseball’s quarterly ownership meetings. Either Lind or Beeston represents the Jays. Along with Paul Beeston, Lind convinced the late Ted Rogers that purchasing the Jays would be a good idea. He also obtained a CRTC license for a baseball channel.
At the winter meetings there were indications that the station could be coming soon to Canada, whether it is called the MLB Network North or the Canadian Baseball Network has yet to be decided.
Agostino is the John McDonald of Canadian baseball: he’s well liked, respected and can do it all. He scouts for the Phillies, but wear many hats: He’s the technical director of Baseball-Québec and the Jays’ original French-language radio announcer, along with Jeremy Filosa. He’s also trying to get a stadium built in Montreal for an independent team or a minor-league club.
The duo did 15 games this season and have their own weekly radio show on CKAC. He also signed Montreal right-hander Jesen Dygestile-Therrien in the 18th round and Rob Cooper of St. Anne, Ont., as a free agent.
52. Denis Boucher, Yankees scout (41).
Boucher was pitching coach of Team Canada’s gold medal-winning Pan Am team and the bronze-winning World Cup team. After beating Team USA in the final, Boucher said “we were confident we knew how to pitch them after all the exhibition games we played against them.”
The Yanks drafted both Skylar Janisse of Maidstone, Ont., and Fort McMurray’s Ryan Thompson from Franklin Pierce but neither signed, chosing to attend school.
53. Steve Wilson scout, Chicago Cubs (55).
Wilson watched his top prospect Hak Ju Lee get sent to Tampa Bay in the Matt Garza deal. Centre fielder Jae Hoon Ha, who Wilson also signed, had an excellent year between class-A Daytona and double-A Tennessee hitting a combined .280 with 31 doubles, three triples and 11 home runs with 72 RBIs and 13 steals.
Ha, signed by the Victoria, B.C. native, is expected to be ranked among the Cubs’ top 10 prospects when Baseball America releases its list.
54. Jamie Lehman, scout, Blue Jays (64).
Lehman’s second season scouting Canada was as successful as his first. The Jays led all teams when it came to drafting Canadians, signing: top Canuck Tom Robson of Ladner, B.C., in the fourth round ($325,000), North Surrey’s Justin Atkinson, a 26th rounder ($100,000), Scarborough right-hander Les Williams from Northeastern University in the 37th round, Chris Cox of St. George, Ont., from Canisius, 39th, Shane Davis of Belmont, Ont., 42nd, Thunder Bay’s Eric Brown from UBC in the 50th and undrafted free agent Brandon Kaye of Langley, B.C. from UBC and Luke Willson of La Salle, Ont., as a free agent.
They also drafted Newmarket’s Jake Eliopoulos from the Troy Jet Box in the 43rd round.
The author of 11 books, his latest in collaboration with his son Darryl, is entitled, “Let It Snow: Keeping Canada’s Winter Sports Alive.” He covers Canada’s winter sports heritage and the way climate change threatens our survival. Other works include histories of African Canadian athletes, baseball and bicycling in Canada, and his hometown of Bowmanville.
Each spring the director of Eco Seneca Initiatives at Seneca College teaches pre-spring training college classes for fans and has spoken at Cooperstown and St. Marys,
56. Tim Hallgren, pro scout, Detroit Tigers (43).
After being scouting director with the Dodgers, where he drafted Cambridge’s Jeff Hunt in 2009, and the Tigers, Hallgren moved to the less hectic pro scouting ranks. Everyone can play compared to going to a high school game with maybe two prospects on one team and one on another. During post-season play, the Tigers assigned him to cover the St. Louis-Philadelphia series.
His father, Arnie of Victoria, was the first B.C. born player on a 40-man roster, with the 1953 Boston Braves.
57. Ellen Harrigan, assistant director, administration, Los Angeles Dodgers (48).
It was a trying year for the Dodgers’ front office as Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie spent time in divorce court trying to split ownership of the once proud team, while MLB assumed control.
Unchanged was the Agincourt native’s work ethic assisting GM Ned Colletti. The former GM of class-A St. Catharines, and one-time Blue Jays and O’s employee signs roughly 10 of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster to contracts. Harrigan is responsible for keeping track of all rules and regulations for callups, waivers and keeps the office working and smiling through a tough year for the Dodgers and a sad year for her personally, in which her sister passed.
58. Jim Baba, director general, Baseball Canada (72).
Baba had been named the Chair of the International Baseball Federation Tournament Commission, a group in charge of the rules and designs of the IBAF championships, including making rules, deciding the technical commissioners for events etc., and making sure there will not be any bad calls from umpires.
He heads the Baseball Canada office as well as being the liaison between Ottawa and provincial associations as well as the rep to Sport Canada and the Pan-Am Games Committee. The Moose Jaw, Sask., native is the only coach to ever cut Stubby Clapp from Team Canada.
59. Terry McKaig, coach, University of British Columbia (56).
The UBC Thunderbirds saw their season end with a 7-5 loss to the Cal State San Marcos Cougars at the 2011 NAIA championship opening round in Riverside, Calif. UBC finished the season with at 31-17 record. More important three players moved on to the next level: Sheldon McDonald of Spruce Grove, Alta., being drafted in the 33th round by the Cubs; Thunder Bay’s Eric Brown in the 50th by the Jays and Brandon Kaye of Langley, B.C. signing with the Jays as free-agent.
McKaig’s incoming class of freshman includes Surrey’s Jerod Bartnik, Kevin Biro of Deep Bay, B.C., Edmonton’s Markus Fergusson, Mississauga’s Mike Figueiredo, North Vancouver’s Alex Graham, Scarborough’s Caleb King, Pickering’s Cody Malloy and Matt Trimble of Port Coquitlam, B.C.
60. Bill Shaikin, columnist, Los Angeles Times (57).
Some days he wears his Expos’ cap, others he sports a Team Canada WBC wind breaker. Always the Montreal-born Shaikin shows a passion for covering the game, whether it be a salary arbitration hearing, a messy divorce case or who should win the battle for the fifth spot in the rotation with the Dodgers,
In 2012 Shaikin is the national president of the Baseball Writers of America Association, which means he’s scheduled to be on the dias at Cooperstown in July.
What does an athletic director do when a coach steps down after 34 years in the dugout? He takes over himself and goes 38-17. Picone replaced the legendary Ed Cheff, who won 16 titles. Picone enrolled at LCSC in 1972, joined the coaching staff in 1976, left in 1980, returned in 1983 as the pitching coach, left in 1989, returned in 1991 as athletic director bringing the World Series back to Lewiston. The Trail, B.C., native has seen more than $700,000 in improvements to Harris Field, home of the Series.
Picone was 2009-10 NAIA Athletics director of the year and is often referred to as Mr. Baseball. Brandon Bufton of Whalley, B.C., plus Kevin McLeod, Carsen Nylund and Will Thorp, all from Surrey, B.C., are on the Warriors’ roster.
62. Pierre Dion, president, TVA (-).
Red Sox Nation is a mythical group of Boston fans whether they be in Florida, California or New York state. Blue Jay nation is actually that — a nation. And no greater example of that is TVA sports and its president, who was born in Sherbrooke Que., and graduated from Bishop’s University and Queen’s University. His French-language station will carry 70 Jays games next season with Jacques Doucet and Roger Brulotte, former Expos voices.
Dion was named personality of the year by the Québec Direct Marketing Association and by the Direct Marketing Association of Toronto in 2001.
63. Kevin Briand, scout, Blue Jays (54).
Under GM Anthopoulos’ new plan, the Montrealer scouted the Reds and the Indians from class-A to the majors for a second season.
That means the former Jays’ director of Canadian scouting covered seven teams in Ohio (the Reds, the Indians, triple-A Columbus, double-A Akron, class-A Dayton, class-A Lake County in Lakewood, class-A Mahoning Valley in Niles), two in North Carolina (double-A Carolina in Zebulon and class-A Carolina in Kinston), one in Kentucky (triple-A Louisville) and one in California (class-A Bakersfield),
64. Danny Thompson, Ontario Terriers (63).
Tying the Ontario Blue Jays in the draft department were the Terriers with Roberto Suppa of Connor, Ont., going in the 26th round to the Padres; Chris Cox of St. George, Ont., and Canisius, 39th to the Blue Jays; Shane Davis of Belmont, Ont., 42nd, Jays, and Luke Willson, La Salle, Ont., a free agent sign with the Jays.
The Burlington native has turned the coaching duties of the 18s to Scott Van De Valk, while Mike McCarthy looks after the business end. In all, 72 Terriers have landed scholarships, 23 have made the Canadian Junior National Team and 15 have been drafted.
65. Jon Lalonde, pro scout, Blue Jays (40).
The former scouting director now crosschecks for the Jays. Lalonde drafted the likes of J.P. Arencibia, who hit 26 homers in his rookie season and Jake Marisnick, one the Jays’ top prospects on the Baseball America top 10 list.
And when James Paxton would not sign in 2009, the Jays gave the dough to right-hander Drew Hutchison who went 14-5 with a 2.53 ERA in 27 games at class-A Lansing, class-A Dunedin and double-A New Hampshire. He walked 35 and struck out 171 in 149 1/3 innings.
66. Danny Bleiwas, coach, Ontario Blue Jays (65).
The Thornhill resident brought the Perfect Game Scouting Showcase to town, while the Jays 16s managed by Sean Travers reached the Mickey Mantle World Series at Farmington, N.M. (with two wins, its best finish ever) and the 18s competed at the PG’s 85-team World Wood Bat tourney in Jupiter, Fla.
The Ontario Jays also have summer, spring and fall trips scheduled to various colleges and universities. The Jays had four players or alumnus drafted: Toronto’s Justin Marra went in the 15th round to the Cubs; Whitby’s Steven Wickens, 33th by the Twins; Oshawa’s Eric Wood, 37th, went to the A’s and Whitby’s Joey Hawkins in the 42nd to the Royals.
The ex-Blue Jay and his brother Rich run a facility in Ajax, Ont., as well as the Ontario Prospects. They have the top-rated high schooler heading into the draft in Whitby lefty Ryan Kellogg. He was the only Canuck eligible for the 2012 draft invited to the Under Armour showcase at Wrigley Field. Toronto Mets’ Gareth Morgan, rated third in North America by Perfect Game for the 2014 draft, was another invitee.
68. Bill Byckowski, scout, Cincinnati Reds (69).
Former Jays scouting director Chris Buckley promoted Byckowski to the position of east coast cross checker for next season, similar to a position he held with the Jays under GM Gord Ash.
Byckowski drafted and signed Vaughan Covington, coming off Tommy John surgery, the way the Florida Marlins drafted injured Chris Leroux of Mississauga, who pitched out of the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen this year and the Rangers selection of re-habbing Steve McKinnon from Duncan, B.C. Byckowski signed Kyle Lotzkar of Tsawwassen. B.C.,and Kitchener’s Mitch Clarke. Both had strong seasons at single-A Dayton.
69. Dean Bender, vice president, Rogers (-).
If you were wondering why commercials for Jays games were so much better this season than in 2010 (guys with birds heads sitting around a conference room discussing things) the reason is Ryerson grad Bender, former creative director of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Kevin Foley gets the film and Bender gives it direction.
He was also responsible for re-branding Rogers Sportsnet in October, dropping the name Rogers. A new logo was introduced which looks similar to the Buffalo Bills, as well as a new studio, slogan, graphics and magazine. Although having Miami-raised J.P. Arencibia saying “this is the logo I grew up with” is a bit of a stretch.
70. Tom Tippett, information services, Boston Red Sox (70).
Scarborough’s Tippett runs the Sox information system and does analytical work. He spoke on “Using Lineup-Dependent Expected Runs Analysis to Evaluate Baseball Tactics” at the New England Symposium on Statistics in Sports. The founder and president of Diamond Mind, Inc., with its simulation software attended University of Waterloo and then headed to Harvard.
He began consulting with the Sox baseball operations in 2003 and was hired full time in 2008.
71. Stubby Clapp, manager, class-A Tri-Cities (71).
Managing class-A TriCity, the Windsor, Ont. native guided the Astros’ affiliate to a 33-42 record in his rookie season at Troy, N.Y. Known as a fiery competitor on the international stage for Canada, it’s much of the same in the dugout.
Arguing that an 0-2 pitch hit Matt Duffy on his left arm, plate ump Jeff Andrews called Duffy back to the plate, saying he leaned into the pitch. Clapp stormed Andrews and exchanged heated words. Then Clapp exploded, banging his helmet on the ground, covering home plate with dirt and when the base ump got in his way ejected the ump from the game.
72. Murray Cook, scout, Tigers (76).
As a regional cross checker, Cook oftens follows the Canadian Junior National Team when it travels through Florida. He was named scout of the year at the 2010 winter meetings, Cook was named eastern scout of the year in 2011.
A Sackville, N.B., resident, the former GM of the Yanks, Expos and Reds, is one of the reasons the Tigers’ solid scouting system has a deep farm system.
73. Tom Tango, statistical consultant, Seattle Mariners (78).
The Montrealer does statistical analysis to evaluate players for the Mariners and has worked for the Jays in the past. He does not go by his real name and is known as TangoTiger in on-line circles.
He co-authored the book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball and was the originator of the lobbying site to get Tim Raines elected to the Hall of Fame (raines30.com <http://raines30.com> ).
74. Wayne Morgan, pro scout Blue Jays (61).
Morgan, who lives in Morgan Hill, Calif., had it easier than most Jays scouts, covering San Francisco, the Oakland A’s and their affiliates. He covered six teams in California (the Giants, A’s, triple-A Fresno, triple-A Sacramento, class-A San Jose, class-A Stockton) one in Virginia (double-A Richmond), one in Texas (double-A Midland), one in Georgia (class-A Augusta), one in Iowa (class-A Iowa), one in Vermont (class-A Vermont) and one in Washington (class-A Salem-Keizer.
The Kindersley, Sask. native is a former Jays scouting director.
The Stettler, Alta. native possibly had the worst season of any coach, He was in the midst of practice when he got the call that Tanner Craswell, a former Vauxhall Academy Jet, had been shot and killed on his way to the Calgary airport this month. Prairie Baseball Acadmey coach Todd Hubka and McTavish came through the ordeal with their heads held Alberta high.
Donations can be made to the Tanner Craswell and Mitch Maclean memorial fund at a) any Bank of Nova Scotia (account: 00059 0157317) b) e-mail money transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org or c) cheques payable to the Tanner Craswell and Mitch Maclean Memorial Fund mailed to: The Lethbridge Bulls, Prairie Baseball Academy or the Vauxhall Academy.
76. Scott Secord and Paul Pettipiece, Pointstreak (73).
The two Chatham, Ont., businessmen continue to make strides in the marketplace with their comprehensive stats package. This year they added the New England Collegiate League, Ontario University Athletics, Dixie Youth and PONY league to name a few new clients. Pointstreak also purchased 5050 Central Ltd., which changed the landscape of raffles by incorporating a computerized ticket sales which electronically captures every transaction.
A year ago Pointstreak had agreements with seven indy pro leagues, Cape Cod and Northwoods colleges, the Baseball Canada nationals to the B.C. Premier League, the Intercounty, the Canadian College Baseball Conference, Eastern Canadian Premier League and the Little League World Series in Williamsport.
77. Jason Bryans, scout, Kansas City Royals (80).
All the customs officials at the Ambassador bridge and the Windsor tunnel know Bryans as he ventures across the border to scout Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois. He signed outfielder David Lough, an 11th round pick in 2007, who had nine homers and 65 RBIs in 114 games at triple-A Omaha and may have a chance to make the team in the spring.
Matt Ridings, a 41st round pick in 2010, pitched at rookie-class Burlington walking 11 and striking out 60 in 66 2/3 innings. On the scouting side he was involved in the Royals adding minor leaguers Antonio Cruz and Julio Rodriguez in a deal for Wilson Betemit. He also drafted Whitby infielder Joey Hawkins from the Ontario Blue Jays in the 42nd round.
78. Jason Chee-Aloy, director of operations, Toronto Mets (79).
Chee-Aloy turned over his coaching duties to concentrate on recruiting, player evaluation and instruction. Working with GM John Jepson recent Mets to gain scholarships are: Maxx Tissenbaum, who is at Stonybrook University; Jordan Glover, Eastern Michigan; Jesse Bartle, Notre Dame College; Trevor Edwards, UNC Greensboro; Nick Studer, Skagit Valley; Connor Panas, Canisius; Michael Foster, Northeastern; Jacob Hillier, Sauk Valley; Brodie Jeffery, Wallace State; Grant Tamane, Rio Grande; Spencer Grant, Deleware Tech; and Gabe Mark, UBC.
79. Hazel Mae, MLB Network (85).
After making sure that July 1 was observed in MLB Network studios when it comes to highlights and features, Mae is back where it all began at Sportsnet. Then, Mae was hired to do Red Sox games, moving on to the MLB Network, which may be the best produced show we’ve seen.
Of course you can only see it south of the border. Mae did handle draft coverage interviews from Paramus, N.J., and it was amazing how well the panel did … “they’re looking for a high school outfielder,” a voice would predict. Then, seconds later a former great would say into the microphone “we’re pleased to select I.D. number 43849, an outfielder from Central high school in …”
80. Matt Higginson, scout, A’s (89).
Higginson went to see Sean Jamieson and Canisius open in Cary, N.C., on Feb. 18, Higginson said Jamieson “made it so I had to keep coming to his games.” The Simcoe, Ont. native was selected in the 19th round.
The A’s scout flew home from Oakland, met Jamieson halfway between Buffalo and Pearson airport to sign a contract. Jamieson was off to pro ball. Higginson also signed Oshawa’s Eric Wood.
81. Dan Vertlieb, agent (-).
Vertlieb represented two of the five Canadian high schools with six figure bonuses: Dustin Houle of Penticton went in the eighth round to the Brewers for $150,000 and North Surrey’s Justin Atkinson in the 26th round to the Jays for $100,000. The Vancouver resident also represented Cody Hebner, a junior college right-hander from Auburn, Wash., who went four spots after Robson and signed for $200,000.
He has a law degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State and was named a Willard H. Pedrick Scholar in recognition of academic excellence. His uncle Dick Vertlieb was the GM of the Mariners in their inaugural season.
For the third straight year, the Capitals won the Can-Am title at Stade Municipal. Surrey’s Jeff Duda was 6-0 with a tiny 1.53 ERA, outfielder Bobby Wagner of Port Coquitlam, B.C., led in homers (13) and RBIs (59), while Toronto’s John Mariotti was 10-1, with a 2.87 ERA.
The Capitals were 64-26, breaking the Northern League record of 62 victories set by the New Jersey Jackals in 2002.
The Capitals welcomed its two millionth spectator in the regular season, on Aug. 20, in their 13th season. Top crowd was 4,464 on Sept. 2 and Quebec averaged 3,048 fans, to rank 18th of 51 indy teams in North America in attendance.
83. Doug Walton, producer, Sportsnet (-).
Walton took over for Rick Briggs-Jude and now sits in the big chair for meetings to discuss what the pre-game show will consist of, and the opening and talking points for broadcasters Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler.
And sometimes when there’s no chair they meet down the left field line or in a dugout corner, but it all came out well.
84. Ted Giannoulas, The San Diego Chicken (68).
Starting off his career in 1974 as radio-KGN Chicken and a mascot at San Diego Padres home games, the London, Ont., native has entertained ball fans from Seattle to Miami, from Vermont to Bakersfield. He was once called the Babe Ruth of mascots by the San Diego Union.
The Chicken has performed at more than 8,500 games and has more than 17,000 total appearances including parades, trade shows, banquets, conventions, TV and radio dates. And unlike ball players he signs autographs for each and everyone who wants one.
85. Joel Landry, coach, Academie Baseball Canada (60).
The Montreal-based ABC had two players selected in the June draft: Montrealer Jensen Dygestile-Therrien, an 18th rounder who signed with the Phillies and Jonathan Jones of Lorraine, Que., a 23rd rounder signed by Giants’ scout Eay Callari.
86. Andrew Collier, GM, Winnipeg Goldeyes (73).
It doesn’t matter the name of the league — the Goldeyes moved from the independent Northern League to the indy American Association … and fans still came out. In 48 home dates Winnipeg led the AA with an average crowd of 5,740, drawing 275,521 for 48 home dates. A year earlier, the Goldeyes drew 271,399 fans to beautiful Canwest Park for an average of 5,654.
The Portage la Prairie, Man., native is a five-time NL executive of the year.
Reitsma pitched seven years in the majors and like others before him — Jason Dickson, Jeff Zimmerman, Paul Quantrill — is giving back to the junior national team program.
The Calgary native was in the bullpen in Colombia looking after each and every need of a teenager when Canada came home with the silver medal.
88. Jamie Campbell, broadcaster, Sportsnet (95).
Campbell went from the play-by-play voice of the Jays … and did not move into a van down by the river. Instead, he hosted a must-watch pre-game show with Gregg Zaun with interesting, topical features. And the same way Dan Shulman used to draw answers from the late Jim Hunt, Campbell brings out the best of Zaun.
Players could learn from Campbell on how to handle a change of address.
89. Jake Kerr, owner, Vancouver Canadians (-).
The Vancouver-born Kerr is the managing partner and principal owner with the Canadians. A friend of both Paul Beeston and Phil Lind — he attended UBC with Lind — he made his money in forestry. Jeff Mooney, another owner, is with A&W Canada.
Mooney is also Canadian. Andy Dunn is the team president and a minority partner, after working with the Expos and the Marlins.
90. Mike Lumley, coach, London Badgers (83).
No one knows what Lumley does on a night off — he never has one. If it rains the London Badgers coach takes his team(s) indoors to Adam Stern’s Centre Field Sports — 12,000 square feet of cages and indoor turf. Lumley also coaches the Western Mustangs. The Badgers won the national midget title, edging Alberta 8-6. Lumley went with second baseman Nolan Anderson to get the final out.
91. Don Cowan, scout, Blue Jays (90).
The 2012 season may not be a banner year for prospects on the west coast, however Cowan was busy as four of the top five Canadian high schoolers were from B.C.
He isolates the best the Premier League players available for when Canadian scouting director Jamie Lehman flies west for a visit.
92. Bob Huggins, Cold North Wind (-).
His PaperofRecord.com site hosts the archives of The Sporting News, the original Bible of Baseball. The Ottawa native is extremely influential with baseball historians.
Huggins came up with the idea of housing every newspaper ever published on his web site. Hey. it’s a lot easier than looking at microfiche.
John Axford was re-discovered working at the Mississauga hitting facility. Mark James got his second chance after being sidelined with injury and then working with Armstrong. Ditto for Toronto lefty Adam Kudryk, who the Diamondbacks signed in February.
And now Mississauga’s Jamie Richmond is making another comeback under Armstrong’s watchful eye.
94. Ben Nicholson-Smith, writer, MLB Trade Rumors.com. (-).
During the winter meetings, on Dec. 7, the site had 2,300,605 page views, including Nicholson-Smith’s recap of a Scott Boras briefing. He says he works at least 45 hours a week, rarely more than 60 hours from Toronto. He’s covered some Jays games as well as the GMs meetings and the winter meetings.
A typical week sees the site get 2-to-3 million page views. Nicholson-Smith was working on his masters at Carleton when he began working part-time for Tim Dierkes’ Chicago-based MLBTR site on a part time basis in 2008. When he finished school he began working full-time. He grew up in London and graduated from Western.
95. Mike Wilner, The Fan-590 (97).
The Blue Jays radio host has the same work ethic he demands of players. He blossomed this year when either Buck Martinez or Pat Tabler had time off. Allan Ashby did a solid job in the TV booth, while Jerry Howarth and Wilner manned the radio booth.
On most nights he has a pre-game show, works the game with Howarth and Ashby and then runs an authoritative, post-game show.
96. Dave Wallace, coach, Parksville Royals (86).
Campbell River’s Mark Hardy, a Royals grad, was a fast climber from UBC to the San Diego Padres’ system. Hardy was a workhorse for class-A Fort Wayne making 27 starts in 2011. He won 11 games (the most by any Canadian active this year at the minor league level). He lost 10 and in 129 1/3 innings;, allowed only 40 earned runs, finishing with a 2.78 ERA.
97. Scott Neiles, owner, Home Run Sports (-).
Baseball is full of David vs. Goliath stories whether it is the majors (the Yankees vs. K.C.), a college campus (Slippery Rock at Michigan) or the local sandlot. And then there is Home Run Sports, the Winnipeg sports store which was founded in 1986 and started battling multi-nationals for sporting good sales from its De La Seigneurie Blvd. office.
The store began dealing almost exclusively with baseball and softball. It has branched out with additional stores in Calgary, Okotoks and Mississauga. Neiles was one of the best infielders in the province and served as president of the Manitoba Junior League.
98. Pete Toms, writer, bizofbaseball.com (-).
Toms coaches his son’s South Ottawa Little League team and when the bats are put away he writes must-reads for the bizofbaseball.com site. Toms has an appreciation of how what fans see on the field on a nightly basis reflects a club’s ownership situation.
And the Blue Jays are a perfect example: from the stay-out-of-the-way Labatt’s days, to the absentee-landlord era of Interbrew to Rogers Communications, which Toms describes as “shifting.”
He’s against revenue sharing and argues that more centralized revenue (MLB Network, on-line merchandising and BAM) reduces an owner’s motivation to win and increase his gate. Better to have an egomaniac owner who puts winning before profit.
Dempster was in Prague in November to receive a career achievement award from the European Coaches Association. The award was presented to Dempster for his dedication in helping to grow baseball in Europe after being an MLB Envoy Coach in European countries for over 10 years, working at the grass roots level as well as with elite players.
The man whose roots trace to Kingston and his knowledge comes from Jim Lutton, coaches the Durham College Lords, national champs this year and Great Britain, winners of the European qualifier this summer.
100. Ron Sandelli, director of security, Blue Jays (-).
Sandelli played an important role in the Jays 2011 season. However, since it was a matter of deep security and the matter is classified he can’t tell us what he did.
Luke Adams, Toronto, MLB Trade Rumors.com; Alex Andreopoulos, Etobicoke, Ont., bullpen catcher, Jays; Don Archer, White Rock, B.C., scout, Angels, Paul Aucoin, Brantford, Ont., owner, Brantford Red Sox, Curtis Bailey, Red Deer, Alta., scout, MLB Scouting Bureau.
Evan Bailey, coach, Okanagan Athletics; Al Bernacchi, Windsor, Ont., coach, Windsor Selects; Denny Berni, Etobicoke, Ont., Pro Teach; Howie Birnie, Leaside, Ont., Baseball Ontario; Scott Bullett, Welland, Ont., Bullett Proof Academy.
Claudette Burke, Hawkesbury, Ont., manuscript archivist, Hall of Fame, Cooperstown; Ray Calari, Montreal, Que., scout, San Francisco Giants; Don Campbell, Ottawa, Ont., coach, Ottawa-Nepean Canadians; Don Charrette, Ottawa, Ont., College Baseball Connect; Mike Chewpoy, Victoria, B.C. Victoria Mariners
Dr. Michael Chivers, kinesiologist, Vaughan, Ont.; Gary Cohen, Monteal, The Baseball Cube site; Voon Chong, Vancouver B.C., trainer, triple-A Las Vega; Scott Crawford, Georgetown, Canadian Hall of Fame; Jason Dickson, Chatham N.B., vice-president, Baseball Canada.
Jack Dominico, Toronto, owner, Toronto Maple Leafs; Scott Douglas, Moose Jaw, Sask., coach, Trinidad State College; Randall Echlin, Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame; Coey Eckstein, coach, Abbotsford Cardinals; Dave Empey, North Vancouver, B.C., coach, Vancouver Cannons.
Mike Frostad, Calgary, Alta., athletic training co-irdinator, Jays; A. J. Fystro, Calgary, Alta., coach, Calgary Dinos; James Gardiner, Toronto, trainer, class-A Lansing; Bill Green, Program Coach, Coquitlam Reds; Andrew Halpenny, Winnipeg, Man., scout, MLB Scouting Bureau.
John Haar, director of Baseball Operations & Prep coach, North Shore Twins; Paul Hogendoorn, President, OES Inc.; Vincent Horsman, Halifax, N.S., pitching coach, class-A Lansing; Ted Hotzak, president, B.C. Premier League, Cam Houston, St. Albert, Alta. Prospects Academy.
Peter Hoy, Cardinal, Ont., coach, St. Lawrence College; Marc Hulet, London, Ont. Fangraphs; Ian Jordan, Montreal, Que., Scouting Bureau; Brad Jorgenson, Thunder Bay, Ont. owner/GM, Thunder Bay Border Cats; Sam Katz, Winnipeg, Man., owner, Winnipeg Goldeyes.
Chris Kemlo, Oshawa, Ont., scout, MLB Scouting Bureau, coach Ontario Prospects; Bryon Kennedy, coach, Fraser Valley Chiefs; Randy Knorr, manager, triple-A Syracuse; Mike Kozak, Toronto, assistant trainer, Marlins; Michel Laplante, Val D’or, Que., president, Quebec Capitales.
Andre Lachance, Ottawa, Ont., women’s coach, Baseball Canada; Ken Lamberton, coach, Victoria Eagles; Marty Lehn, White Rock, B.C. scout, Brewers; Ken Lenihan, Halifax, N.S., scout, MLB Scouting Bureau; Dong Lien, Winnipeg, trainer, Phillies.
P.J. Loyello, vice-president, Marlins; Drew MacDonald, Bradford, Ont., trainer class-A Bluefield; Todd MacFarlane, Edmonton, Alta., collector; Jay-Dell Mah, author, Nakusp, B.C.; Murray Marshall, Stoney Creek, Ont., Team Ontario; Kirk Martin, Cardinal Sports.
Ryan McBride, Toronto, Ont., coach, Toronto Mets; Dan McIntosh, St. Marys Ont., trainer class-A Dunedin; Jim McKean, Montreal, ESPN; Brooks McNiven, pitching coach, Douglas College, North Shore Twins; Ryan Mittleman, scouting co-ordinator, Jays; John Milton, Caledon, Ont., Oakville Royals; Nancy Newman, host, YES Network.
Mike O’Connor, Peterborough, Ont. Wind Mobile; Mark Orton, Newmarket, Ont., president, Baseball Ontario; Mel Oswald, Hamilton, Ont., coach, Canadian Thunderbirds; Bill Park, Chatham, Ont., commissioner Great South League summer college loop, Athens, Ga.; Rob Pegg, Flesherton, Ont., coach, Colorado Christian University; Marc Picard, coach, Ontario Youth Team.
Todd Plaxton, Saskatoon, Sask., scout, Scouting Bureau; Jamie Pogue, bullpen catcher, St. Louis Cardinals; Mark Polishuk, London, Ont., MLB Trade Rumors.com; Terry Puhl, Melville, Sask. coach, University of Houston-Victoria/Team Canada; Mark Randall, Edmonton, Alta., St. Francis Academy.
Dave Robb, Lac La Biche, Alta. coach, Okatogs Dawgs; Doug Rogers, Coach, Nanaimo, B.C. Nanaimo Pirates; Jeff Ross, Montreal, equipment manager, Jays; Jasmin Roy, Longueuil, Que., MLB Scouting Bureau; Neate Sager, Ottawa, Out of Left Field blog
John Saunders, Toronto, ESPN; Phil Savage, Hamilton, Ont., coach, Omaha Diamond Spirit, Mink summer college league; Mike Shaw, Oakville, director of team travel and clubhouse operations, Jays; Jim Sheppard, coach, University of Toronto; John Silverman, Montreal, equipment manager, Marlins; Russ Smithson, coach, Port Coquitlam, B.C. White Rock Tritons.
Bob Smyth, Ladysmith, B.C., scout, MLB Scouting Bureau, Richard Solomon, Windsor, Ont., coach Windsor Selects; Bernie Soulliere, Windsor, Ont., chef de mission Team Canada; Howard Starkman, Mississauga, Ont., vice-president, Jays; Marnie Starkman, Mississauga, Ont., Rogers Centre scoreboard.
Mike Steed, Burlington, Ont., pitching coach, Oakville Royals; Jay Stenhouse, Toronto, Rogers Centre vice president of public relations; Shawn Travers, coach, Ontario Blue Jays; Richard Todd, WebBall Baseball Instruction; Randy Town, Calgary, Alta., coach Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges.
Scott Van de Valk, Georgetown, Ont., coach Ontario Terriers; Cam Walker, Winnipeg, Man., head coach, Indian Hills Community College; Rob Webster, Langley, B.C., coach, Kwantlen College; Gerry White, Coach, Ladner, B.C. North Delta Blue Jays; Cavanagh Whitely, Prince George B.C. Douglas College; Kyle Williams, coach, Coquitlam Reds.
Brett Wilson, North Battleford, Sask., owner, double-A West Tennessee; Mike Wilson, North Delta Blue Jay; Nigel Wilson, Ajax, Ont., Competitive Edge.