*Paul Beeston (Welland, Ont.) was the most influential Canadian in baseball returning to the CEO position with the Blue Jays.
By Bob Elliott
He was always around ... maybe three or four games per Blue Jays homestand.
Even after he left.
He’d sweep into the Rogers Centre press box, grab dinner, scoop up a bag of popcorn for dessert and head down the hall to watch the Jays play, sitting beside his lifelong pal Howard Starkman.
The team used to be his baby.
He helped lure four million fans into the SkyDome back in his day.
He brought in free agents Dave Winfield, Jack Morris and Roger Clemens.
Then, he was off to New York to run Major League Baseball, but he was always around when in town.
Paul Beeston was never more around than in 2008.
He helped the Jays find a new manager — even if it was a former manager — in Cito Gaston.
He brought back a minor-league co-ordinator — even if he was an ex-minor league co-ordinator — in Mel Queen to monitor the Jays farm teams and prospects.
And now, as intermm CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, he will be responsible for hiring a new team president to replace Paul Godfrey.
------------------------------------------------------------- 2007 -- Most Influential Canadians in Baseball
All of which makes Paul McGill Beeston, who attended the University of Western Ontario, Sun Media’s choice as the most influential Canadian in baseball for 2008 in our second annual poll.
Our top-to-bottom list, with 2007 rankings in brackets:
1. Paul Beeston, CEO on an interim basis, Blue Jays (10).
With the death of Ted Rogers, owner of Rogers Communications and the Jays, Beeston (Welland, Ont.) may be around a long enough to shed his interim tag. Whether he goes or stays, people will be say five years from now what a good/bad hire the next president of the Jays was.
2. Greg Hamilton, director of national teams, junior coach, Baseball Canada (1A).
No ones makes as many decisions and runs through as many mine fields as he does. This year. for example. he put together four distinct rosters: The pre-Olympic tourney in March at Taiwan; the Canadian junior team, which lost in the quarters at Edmonton in August; the Olympic team in Bejing and the 2009 junior team which headed to Florida in October. He has been negotiating with MLB teams for the World Baseball Classic, to be played at the Rogers Centre in March. You can find Hamilton (Peterborough, Ont.) at his Ottawa office until 10:30 most nights.
3. Pat Gillick, senior adviser, Philadelphia Phillies (5).
As GM, he guided the Phillies to the 2008 World Series — his third. He became a Canadian citizen in November of 2005 after living in Toronto since 1976 and has always supported Canadian baseball. He led the Jays, Orioles, Mariners and the Phillies to post-season play 11 times in his final 20 seasons. He added Jamie Moyer, Brad Lidge, J.C. Romero, Joe Blanton, Matt Stairs, Jayson Werth, Greg Dobbs, Scott Eyre, J.C. Romero and Chad Durbin, who were all small pieces to complete the puzzle.
4. Justin Morneau, first baseman, Minnesota Twins (7).
Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.) entered the first year of a six-year $80-million US extension and was Canada’s best, winning the Tip O’Neill Award presented by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame after finishing second in MVP voting. While that other No. 33 Larry Walker was never comfortable in front of the microphone, Mourneau has grown into his role as Twins and Team Canada spokesman.
5. Ted Rogers, owner, Jays (4).
The founder and chairman of Rogers Communications passed away Dec. 2, but 11 months was certainly enough time to cement his spot. Rogers bumped the Jays’ payroll to $98 million in 2008.
6. Claude Delorme, VP, Florida Marlins (9).
Delorme (Sturgeon Falls, Ont.) was the Marlins point man in talks with the city of Miami to build a $550-million stadium for 2011. He gained approval where others failed, only to see those plans held up in court for the moment. Thanks to Delorme, Miami will also play host to World Baseball Classic (second-round) games at Dolphin Stadium. He joined the Marlins in 2005, overseeing stadium operations after 22 seasons with the Montreal Expos.
7. Doug Melvin, GM, Milwaukee Brewers (3).
For a guy who used to throw indoors alongside future Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, and never pitched in the majors he has done okay. Melvin (Chatham, Ont.) has seen his Brewers go from 56 wins in 2002 to 68, 67, 81, 75, 83 and 90 and a NL wild-card berth. Melvin had his contract extended by three years in October.
8. Paul Godfrey, former president, Jays (1).
On the advice of GM J.P. Ricciardi, Godfrey spent Ted Rogers’ money on a seven-year, $126- million extension to Vernon Wells; a seven-year, $69.835 million extension to Alex Rios; a four-year, $12 million extension to Aaron Hill; a five-year, $47 million deal to B.J. Ryan; picked up Scott Rolen and the $33 million remaining on his deal; and gave A.J. Burnett a five-year $55 million deal, with an opt-out clause. The outgoing CEO said if he had it to do over again he would not include an opt-out clause. He is now publisher of the National Post.
9. Brett Lawrie, catcher, Milwaukee Brewers (-).
Ten months before the 2008 draft the Langley, B.C. product struggled with a move from third to behind the plate. How did he adjust? He was selected in the first round — 16th overall — by then Brewers scouting director Jack Zduriencik, the highest ever for a Canadian high school position player. Youngsters trying to decide between baseball and other sports should take note of Lawrie (Langley, BC) and his $1.7 million US signing bonus.
10. Walt Burrows, Canadian director, MLB Scouting Bureau (6).
Burrows (Brentwood Bay, BC) evaluates high schoolers from coast to coast before the draft. He has those special eyes, doing advance work for the World Baseball Classic, the Olympic teams and instructs at MLB’s scout school. Only Murray Zuk (San Diego Padres) of Souris, Man. and Claude Pelettier (New York Mets) of Ste-Lezare, Que. have scouted Canada longer, now that Burlington’s Jim Ridley has passed away.
11. Tony Viner, president, Roogers Media (-).
With the death of Ted Rogers, the decision to approve the budget and payroll is Viner’s. Besides the Jays, the Rogers Centre, Sportsnet, The FAN and a number of areas fall under the Rogers Media umbrella and those decisions cross Viner’s desk.
12. Sam Holman, owner Sam Bats (-).
Maple bats broke at a record pace this season. Colorado Rockies’ scout Bill McKenzie was watching a game from an Ottawa tavern when he asked Holman, a carpenter at the National Arts Centre why a better bat could not be made. Holman made a better bat. Joe Carter took one with him to San Francisco and Barry Bonds liked it so much he hit 73 homers with his Rideau masher. MLB decided not to ban maple bats. He defended his product, saying smaller companies were to blame for the majority of the splintered bats.
13. Rob Thomson, coach, New York Yankees (36).
The Yanks’ final season at Yankee Stadium was his first at the big park in the Bronx. Thomson (Corunna, Ont.), who played in the Intercounty league for Stratford, served as bench coach with the Yanks. He became the first Canadian to manage a game in the majors since George Gibson (London, Ont.) in 1934 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, when, in April, Joe Girardi took ill. Entering his 20th year with the Yanks he’ll serve as third base coach. He has four Series rings as field co-ordinator.
14. Jerry Howarth, broadcaster, Jays (12).
He paints nightly pictures alongside analyst Alan Ashby. We never thought we’d ever hear a tandem as good as Tom (Cheek) and Jerry, but Howarth and Ashby are getting there. The Etobicoke resident became a Canadian citizen in April of 1994, estimates he has worked 4,262 regular season Jays games and has become the voice of the franchise, educating and entertaining.
15. Fergie Jenkins, Hall of Famer (17).
Canada’s only Hall of Famer lives in the Phoenix area, but he’s often in Canada, whether it be Vancouver’s Nat Bailey Stadium or a celebrity golf tourney in St. Catharines. Jenkins (Chatham, Ont.) he won 284 games and was presented the Order of Canada from the Governor General.
16. Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs (-).
He predicted in the spring that this was the Cubs year — they’d win the Series to end their 100-year drought. Not so, but Dempster (Gibsons, BC), won 17 games. He recently was given a four-year, $52-million deal and. if he wants it, Canada’s March 7 start against Team USA in the WBC, is his as well.
17. Larry Walker, former NL slugger, coach Team Canada (11).
He lives in Jupiter, Fla. and is a part-time coach with the Cardinals each spring. He will be north of the border: Jan. 24th for the Baseball Canada banquet; in March, with the WBC team and in July when he’ll be inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) product is the finest Canadian position player the country has produced.
18. Jeffrey Royer, general partner, Arizona Diamondbacks (8).
His family was an original founding investor in the Diamondbacks and his involvement has grown to part of the general partnership. The Toronto resident committed $160 million over a 10-year span to the team. He grew up in Wisconsin a fan of Warren Spahn, and now sits on the board of directors with Shaw Communications.
19. Keli McGregor, president, Colorado Rockies (-).
His father, Brian McGregor, grew up in St. Lambert, Que., and played for the Montreal Alouettes (1959-61). Keli’s grandfather, Edwin, was in the Canadian infantry and was wounded in The Battle of Cassino, Italy, during World War II. Keli’s great uncle, Flight Lieutenant Kelvin Parke, was a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force, 101st squadron, and was killed when his plane was shot down over Bonn, Germany on Dec. 28, 1944.
20. Phil Lind, vice-chairman of Rogers Communications (19).
It was Godfrey and Lind who talked Rogers into buying the Jays from Interbrew, the club’s absentee owners. He played a key role in bringing the Buffalo Bills to the Rogers Centre, and represents the Jays at ownership meetings. He obtained a broadcasting license from the CRTC for a baseball channel, whether it be the MLB Network or something else.
21. Jeff Mallett, part owner, San Francisco Giants (14).
Mallett (Victoria, B.C.) is a partner under Giants managing general partner Peter Magowan. He was president and chief operating officer for Yahoo Inc. from 1995-2002 and lives in San Francisco.
22. Allan Simpson, Perfect Game cross-checker (13).
Best player in North America for the draft? High schooler or collegian? Simpson has the answer. Simpson (Kelowna, B.C.) he’s the national co-ordinator for the scouting service which college recruiters and most pro teams worship year round. He founded Baseball America and now his site rates the best 16-to-18-year-old teams and players of every age group.
23. Dave McKay, coach, St. Louis Cardinals (35).
The first base coach is in his 13th season with the Cards and his 23rd season with manager Tony La Russa. When McKay (Vancouver, BC) talks in organizational meetings, La Russa listens.
24. Richard H. McLaren, professor of law, University of Western Ontario (-).
He was one of the three main lawyers who assisted Sen. George Mitchell on his investigation on the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. A respected arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport, he has served at in five Olympic Games, including Bejing, resolving disputes pertaining to anti-doping cases, eligibility and intellectual property rights.
25. Terry Puhl, manager, Team Canada (18)
He managed Team Canada to an Olympic berth at the qualifier in Taiwan. Once there his team pitched well, but the bats were held up in customs. Five one-run losses! The 1919 Chicago White Sox couldn’t do that. Puhl (Melville, Sask.) coaches the University of Houston Victoria Jaguars, 28-5 in 2008.
26. Mike McRae, coach, Canisius College (49).
McRae (Niagara Falls, Ont.) resident turned around Canisius and was given a multi-year contract extension, through 2011. The Anaconda coach of the year took a program from a 4-43 record in 2004 to 41-13 in 2008. And he did it with Canadians: 13 going into the spring of 2009, including all-Americans Shane Davis (Belmont, Ont.) and Kevin Mailloux(Windsor, Ont.) He also has the likes of Mike Goemans (Guelph, Ont.), Perry Silverman (Montreal, Que.), Branson Joseph (Mississauga, Ont.), Brian Burton (Kitchener, Ont.) and Shayne Willson (Surrey, B.C).
27. Gord Ash, assistant GM, Brewers (20).
Ash (Toronto, Ont.) is Melvin’s right-hand man with the Brewers, handling contract talks. The Toronto native has helped make the Brewers Canada’s team when it comes to the June draft: no less than nine Canadians are active in their system. Also part owner of the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team.
28. Jim Ridley, scout, Minnesota Twins (48).
Ridley (Toronto, Ont.) passed away on Nov. 28. Besides scouting, he was a coach, an instructor and a mentor to hundreds of Canadians. How well respected was Ridley? Well, the outpouring of affection from both sides of the border is evident (canadianbaseballnetwork.com/node/1751).
29. Dan Shulman, ESPN broadcaster (21)
Schulman (Thornhill, Ont.) is in Year III of a five-year deal. He gave up some radio work for the NBA, but kept his Wednesday night TV game, does radio with Dave Campbell, as well as The FAN 590. Once described as the Jays’ worst loss on the free-agent market — ever.
30. Jacques Doucet, broadcaster (39)
His Expos have been gone for four years, yet his 34 years of broadcasting are not forgotten. The French-language voice of the Expos, finished second in on-line fan balloting for the Ford C. Frick Award with 10,282 votes. He was behind Cincinnati’s Joe Nuxhall (19,547 votes) and ahead of the late Tom Cheek (8,992)
31. Dr. Ron Taylor, Jays club physician (30)
Taylor (Leaside, Ont.) looks after the millionaires’ sore elbows and sprained knees at the Rogers Centre. Yet his impact on the baseball community expands to cover everyone from peewee to those heading into tehir draft years as he runs the S.C. Cooper sports medicine clinic at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto.
32. Russell Martin, catcher, Los Angeles Dodgers (-).
Who do all the old Expos fans cheer for now? Well, like a lot of Canadians they cheer for players rather than teams. And the Montreal all-star is No. 1 with a bilingual bullet.
33. Jim McKean, MLB umpire supervisor (16).
The former Saskatchewan Roughrider and Alouette was as excellent an umpire as a quarterback. After umping 29 years in MLB the Montreal native keeps a close eye on the balls and strikes decision makers from his base in St. Petersburg, Fla.
34. Doug Beeforth, Sportsnet (24)
The president of Sportsnet oversees the production of 100 Jays games. Sportsnet also holds the rights to the all-star game and World Series.
35. Jason Bay, left fielder, Boston Red Sox (-).
They said he couldn’t hit in October. Well, he never had the chance until this fall. All Bay (Trail, B.C.) did was lead Boston in home runs (three), RBIs (nine), average (.341) and OPS (.471) over the post-season as the Red Sox lost in Game 7 of the ALCS.
36. Matt Stairs, Philadelphia Phillies (-).
He became the No. 2 home run hitter in Canadian history behind Larry Walker (383-254). His game-winning, two-run shot off Dodgers’ Jonathan Broxton put the Phillies to within a game of the Series. Stairs (Fredericton, NB) was voted the game’s best journeyman by acclaimed scribe Joe Posnarski.
37. Alex Anthopoulos, assistant GM Jays (22).
Beeston says Anthopoulos (Montreal, Que.) is one of the best creative young minds he’s met in the game. Respected by agents. Outsmarted the Orioles in signing of Adam Loewen to a two-year minor-league deal.
38. Ray Carter, president, Baseball Canada (29).
Carter (Tsawwassen, B.C.) and in his eighth year as president. Carter was instrumental in putting together Jim Baba, Greg Hamilton and Andre Lachance, the best 1-2-3 punch we ever had in Ottawa which helped lead to this golden era of Canadians in the majors.
39. Tim Hallgren, scouting director, Dodgers. (23)
His father Arnie Hallgren (Victoria, BC) was the first B.C. born player on a 40-man roster (Boston Braves, 1953). Selected high schoolers Chris Withrow of Midland, Tex., in 2007 and Ethan Martin of Toccoa, Ga. his first two years running the Dodgers. Drafted Georgia Tech third baseman Mark Teixeira in the first round in 2002 when he was with the Rangers. Born in Clarkston, Wash., he has been with the Dodgers four years after 17 with the Rangers.
40. Jon Lalonde, scouting director, Jays (25).
Travis Snider can play and so can J.P. Arencibia, Brett Cecil, Justin Jackson, David Cooper and Kevin Ahrens. Appointed with zero MLB experience in 2003, Lalonde (Midland, Ont.) has done well. The Jays are no longer a “college only” team on draft day.
41. Tom Valcke, CEO, Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (32).
The salesman responsible for the museum gathering and retaining artifacts that make history coast to coast continues to raise funds and raise the profile of the museum, He was technical commissioner in Bejing.
42. Wayne Norton, scout, Mariners (53)
Had a good year, despite tripping his boss while scouting in Holland. He signed the top three prospects in the M’s system, according to the highly-respected Baseball America: 1. Holland OF Greg Halman -- Bob Engle, former Jays scouting director, was in on the signing -- combined for 29 doubles and 29 homers at SIngle-A High Desert and Double-A West Tennessee. 2. OF Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC) and 3. RHP Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, Que.). He signed Tyson Gillies (Langley, BC) too, voted the best outfield arm in the system.
43. Stubby Clapp, hitting coach, class-A Greenville (27).
Though Clapp (Windsor, Ont.) is coaching, the Astros were good enough to give him time off to play in the pre-Olympic qualifier in Taiwan, the Olympics and he’ll be around for the WBC in a back-up role.
44. Rob Ducey, scout, Jays (58).
Ducey (Cambridge, Ont.) did pro scouting (majors and minors) for the Jays and coached the Olympic Team and the Junior Team. He signed Scott Richmond off a workout, but won’t coach in the WBC as he will be scouting the Pacific Rim for the Jays.
45. Blair Kubicek, coach, Prairie Baseball Academy (33).
Since 1996 the Lethbridge, Alta. coach has placed 98 players at four-year schools in Canada and south of the border, with 26 of his players being drafted from his program.
46. Ted Hotzak, president, B.C. Premier League (-).
He runs the best league which produces the most talent year after year. Adam Loewen, Jeff Francis, Brett Lawrie, Kevin Nicholson, Aaron Myette and Kyle Lotzkar all went in the top 53 picks in North America their respective years ... all came from the league he and Clyde Inouye run.
47. Alex Agostino, technical director, Baseball Quebec (44).
Wears two hats as the head of Baseball Quebec and the Phillies’ Canadian scout and is trying for a third — hoping to get a stadium built in Montreal.
48. Ellen Harrigan, assistant director, administration, Dodgers (43).
The Agincourt native signed a quarter of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, is in charge of day-to-day administration for GM Ned Coletti and does the majority of contract language. The former St. Catharines GM handles waivers, rules and transactions.
49. Terry McCaig, coach, University of British Columbia (28).
It was a down year on the field for the Thunderbirds, but the first four-year scholarship program in the country had an excellent year recruiting. McCaig (Vernon, B.C.) hopes to move UBC from NAIA play to NCAA Division II which will make it even easier to recruit.
50. Les McTavish, coach, Vauxhall Academy (60).
The ex-national team pitching coach (Stettler, Alta.) has the best high school team in Canada with draft possibilities galore. He offers scholarships to his school concentrating on players from the Maritimes and the Prairies.
51. Claude Pelettier, scout, Mets (45).
Pelettier (Ste-Lezare, Que.) is the senior member of the Canadian scouting service, signing Marc Griffin in 1987. With the Dodgers he signed Cy Young Award winner Erie Gagne.
52. William Humber, Historian (34).
An author and a teacher but above all a man with a passion for Canadian baseball. He has examined every pro team back to 1876 and the first Canadian major leaguer in the same decade and everyone in between.
53. Nancy Newman, host, YES Network (26).
Newman (Toronto, Ont.) is the studio host for the Yankees pre and post-game shows. Newman hosts Yankee Magazine, as Hall of Famer Mel Allen did.
54. Joey Votto. first baseman, Cincinnati Reds (-).
Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) finished second in NL rookie of the year vote. He was a second-round pick of the Reds from the Etobicoke Rangers, after playing for the Canadian Thunderbirds.
55. Bill Byckowski, scout, Reds (47).
Byckowski (Georgetown, Ont.) never had a pick as high a 53rd over-all in North America as Canadian scouting director for the Jays. He gave second rounder Kyle Lotzkar a $594,000 bonus, sixth highest for a Canadian in 2007 and gave Carter Morrison a six-figure bonus in 2008.
56. Jeff Francis, Colorado Rockies (-).
Francis (North Delta, BC) didn’t repeat his 17-win season of 2007, but he is someone Team Canada is counting on for the WBC at the Rogers Centre.
57. Bart Given, assistant GM, Jays (38)
Looks after the MLB rules and regulations, plus contract work for the Jays. Given (Haliburton Ont.) brought Scott Downs to the Jays.
58. Murray Cook, scout, Tigers (52)
The Tigers have a deep farm system. One of the reasons is the work of Cook (Sackville, N.B.) a former GM of the Yanks, Expos and Reds now Detroit’s regional cross checker in the East, for amateur scouting.
59. Wayne Morgan, scout, Mariners (51)
The former Jays scouting director, Morgan (Kindersley, Sask.) is a major league scout for the M’s. With the Astros he signed Terry Puhl.
60. Ron Tostenson, scout, Mariners (-).
Tostenson (Kelowna, B.C.) was drafted by the Expos, began working for the Jays and is now with the Mariners as a national cross-checker. He lives in Sacramento, Calif.
61. Kevin Briand, Canadian scouting director, Jays (40).
In his first three years he signed one Canadian. In the past three the Jays have signed 11. The Montrealer is the Jays’ link to amateur ball, and is responsible for developmental funding from coast to coast.
62. P.J. Loyello, vice-president, Marlins (57).
Loyello (Montreal, Que.), in his seventh season with Florida after 15 years with the Expos, is the senior VP of communications and broadcasting. He oversees media relations, broadcasting, community affairs, community foundation and in-game entertainment departments.
63. Marty Lehn, scout, Brewers (-).
His name is beside Lawrie’s in the Brewers organization book as being responsible for signing the talented teenager. From White Rock, B.C., he runs his Big League Experience in Oliver, B.C., a camp Lawrie attended five years ago.
64. Jonah Keri, ESPN (-).
He graduated from Concordia in Montreal, wanting to write baseball for a newspaper. When that was not possible he wrote for Baseball Prospectus, co-authored Baseball Between the Numbers and is writing the screenplay for an IMAX movie. A writing machine (jonahkeri.com) he is part of a powerful lobby to get Tim Raines into the Hall of Fame.
65. Phillippe Aumont, Mariners (54).
When MLB rated its top 50 Prospects for 2009, the Gatineau, Que. right-hander was 33rd. Aumont (Gatineau, Que.) was at the Futures Games at Yankee Stadium but did not pitch due to an elbow ailment. The 6-foot-7 stud is a giant to Quebec players.
66. Jay Lapp, scout, Brewers (42).
When Dick Groch left the Yanks for the Brewers he set up a Canadian scouting network to rival the Jays in the ‘90s. The Londoner is a large part of it, as the Brewers have drafted 19 Canadians in the previous three drafts.
67. Joel Landry, coach, Academic du Baseball Canada (50).
The head coach of the Academie du Baseball Canada took over from legendary Richard Emond. Mariners’ prospect Aumont pitched for the ABC for two seasons.
68. Doug Mathieson, coach, Langley Blaze (-).
A rare breed: Raised his son — major-leaguer Scott Mathieson, drafted by the Phillies in 2002 — and is still coaching first rounders like Brett Lawrie and Kyle Lotzkar, plus drafted players Adam Parliament, Tyson Gillies, Carter Morrison and Stosh Wawrzasek. The Twins scout has the best players from the best province. It is where every scout starts.
69. Denis Boucher, scout, Washington Nationals (56).
Will be on the mound at Rogers Centre come March — as a pitching coach. Boucher (Lachine, Que.) is also scouts Canada for the Nationals.
70. Paul Aucoin, owner, Brantford Red Sox (-).
When he bought the team seven years ago the average attendance was in two figures. His goal was to re-build the franchise. Now the Sox have been in the final three of the last six years, it is a large-market team, regularly drawing crowds of 2,500.
71. Jim Baba, director general, Baseball Canada (59)
Whether it is managing or settling provincial disputes, Baba (Moose Jaw, Sask,) is No. 1 in Ottawa.
72. Sam Katz, owner, Winnipeg Goldeyes (66)
The Northern League president saw his Goldeyes lead the league in attendance with an average of 6,464 (284,398) in 44 dates. It’s almost like the mayor told people to go to the park. Katz is the mayor.
73. Brett Wilson, owner, West Tennessee (-).
Wilson (North Battleford, Sask.) started FirstEnergy Capital Corp., a Calgary brokerage firm that provides investment-banking services to the oil and gas sector. He recently bought the double-A West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, a Seattle affiliate and is a regular on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. Is a wise man with fine tastes: baseball and country music.
74. Alex Messier, scout Los Angeles Angels (-)
A hard worker covering Eastern Canada, immersed himself at a Dominican summer league to learn Spanish, all the better to scout. Speaks French, English and Spanish.
75. Jamie Campbell, Sportsnet (-).
The lead TV announcer for Sportsnet, he did roughly 100 Jays games. Campbell (Oakville, Ont.) finished his fourth year doing Jays games. He hosted a studio show in the post-season and was able to draw more out of Gregg Zaun than either John Gibbons or Cito Gaston.
76. John Harr, coach, North Shore Twins (-).
Harr guided the Twins to 55 wins in 2008 and one of his star players, Michael Crouse was drafted in June. The Vancouver native used to run the National Baseball Institute and was elected to the Canadian Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont.
77. Rick Johnston, The Baseball Zone, Brantford Red Sox (-).
Johnston (Peterborough, Ont.) recruits players for Brantford which has won the Intercounty title two of the previous three years. Runs the hitting facility, The Baseball Zone in Mississauga and the former national teamer was elected to Peterborough Hall of Fame in 2008.
78. Danny Thompson, coach, Intercounty Terriers (-).
Few coaches had better years placing players than the Burlington, Ont., owner of the Tin Cup sports bar in Oakville. Headed south: Jeff Hunt, Ohio; Billy Martin, Nathan Linseman, Benson Merritt and Donovan Latour. Canisius; Joel Stubbs, Binghamton; Brent Mitchell, South Alabama; Tanner Nivins and Jas Rakkar, Stony Brook, Tyler Patzalek, Maine; Tavis Bruce, New Jersey Tech; Graeme Carey UBC; Nathan Loehle, Bellevue, Mitch Clarke, Walter State and Mitch Peragine, Oakton.
79. Bill Green, coach Coquitlam Reds (-).
A west coast legend from Vancouver is over shadowed by only Harr in longevity. His Reds finished second in the B.C. Premier League and his former player Mike Gosse was voted the top Canadian college player before turning pro with Detroit.
80. Marc Picard, coach Team Ontario (-).
Picard (Windsor, Ont.) is respected as one of the best pitching gurus in the country, the three-time former Baseball Canada coach of the year from Pickering, Ont., runs the Team Ontario 16s.
81. Danny Bleiwas, coach, Ontario Blue Jays (-).
Bleiwas (Thornhill, Ont.) coaches the top 18-year-old team in Canada, according to Perfect Game. Sent Marcus Knecht to Oklahoma State, plus Trentt Copeland, Evansville; Kyle DeGrace, Arkansas State; Ben Chan, UBC; James Kottaras, Peter Bako, Nick DaSilva and Chris Nagorski to Connors State, Marco DiRoma and Adam Velocci to John A. Logan; Argenis Paz, Northeastern Oklahoma and Alliston Wong to Muscatine. Also runs Oshawa team.
82. Jason Chee-Aloy, coach, Toronto Mets (-).
Coached Ontario to the three Canada Cup wins the last three times in Medicine Hat. Lost to B.C. in 2007 at Quebec City. He is also with the MLB Scouting Bureau.
83. Dennis Springenatic, coach, Fraser Valley Chiefs (-).
Whether the team was named Whalley — where Adam Loewen played — or Fraser Valley — where Cole Armstrong played, Springenatic has been a long-serving coach. Loewen was the top Canuck (fourth over-all) and Armstrong may be the next major leaguer (White Sox).
84. John Ircandia, GM, Okotoks Dawgs (63)
Founded the Dawgs and helped get Seaman Stadium built for play in the Western Major League, a summer loop for collegians. He recruits from the best U.S. programs.
85. Rob Butler, Home Run Academy (-).
Butler (East York, Ont.) former Blue Jays outfielder runs a hitting school in Ajax, Ont., and along with his brother Rich, and operates the Ontario prospects organization which fields teams in many age groups.
86. Mike Lumley, coach, London Badgers (-).
Runs a multi-levelled organization out of London and has great success at the Ontario Baseball Association level and the Badgers on the next level. Also coaches powerhouse Western and the national junior team.
87. Dave Wallace, coach, Parksville (-).
Coached Carter Bell who headed to Orgeon State, and a slew of other prime-time Premier players. This year he has Paul Barton and Matt Thornton expected to go in the draft.
88. Orv Franchuk, hitting coordinator, Giants (41)
Franchuk (Lac La Biche, Alta.) resident replaces Terry Kennedy as the hitting coach at double-A San Antonio. He has 22 years of coaching experience, working with the likes ofEric Chavez, Jason Giambi, Matt Murton, Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Tejada.
89. Jason Bryans, scout, Kansas City Royals (-).
Bryans (Windsor, Ont.) does not get a lot of players in the June draft, but he covers Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and other parts of the U.S. for the Royals.
90. Deb Belinsky, DCB Group (-).
Producer of in-game entertainment at Tropicana Field and Rogers Centre. Thanks to a Blue Oyster Cult VH-1 recording session skit from Saturday Night Live! Rays fans were clanging post-season cow bells and Belinsky (Winnipeg, Man.) was responsible for the show on the scoreboard.
91. Mike Kozak, assistant trainer, Florida Marlins (-).
The only Canadian trainer in the majors, Kozak (Toronto, Ont.) worked the all-star game at Yankee Stadium in his 27th year in the majors. He attended Sheridan College and Waterloo, starting his training with the Royal York Royals tier II junior hockey team in 1977 before joining the Hamilton YMCA and then the Expos.
92. Peter Hoy, pitching coach, Le Moyne College (-).
The Syracuse school continues to motor along as a top program and Hoy (Cardinal, Ont.), a former Boston Red Sox and ex-Le Moyne Dolphin is a reason.
93. Don Cowan, scout, Jays (-).
Has worked for the Jays 13 of the previous 14 years, and drafted Michael Crouse for a six-figure bonus. It was tough for a few years when the Jays weren’t selecting high schoolers.
94. Tom Burgess, scout, Mariners (-).
Burgess passed away Nov. 24 in Lambeth, Ont. Besides scouting for Seattle the former major leaguer and Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer worked with Team Canada.
95. Hazel Mae, MLB Network (-).
After working for Sportsnet and doing studio work on Red Sox games the Toronto resident joins the new network which debuts next month.
96. Matt Higginson, scout, A’s (-).
The Money Ball Oaklanders never had a need for a Canadian scout with their college-only approach. They have hired Oakville’s Higginson to examine high schoolers after a stint with the Brewers.
97. Charlie Wilson, minor league operations, Jays (65)
When the decision is make to send a player from single-A Lansing to double-A New Hampshire, it is usually Wilson or Dick Scott who springs into action.
98. Jack Dominico, owner Toronto Maple Leafs (-).
He has run the Maple Leafs franchise in the Intercounty League for more than four decade at Christie Pits. Sympathies are expressed due to the recent passing of his wife, Lynne, who worked alongside Jack in running the organization.
99. Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet (-).
A former college player, he brought new life to the Sportsnet broadcasts. Whether inside the Green Monster or standing in the seats under an umbrella, he added insight.
100. John Milton, scout, Jays (-).
Besides scouting for the Jays, Milton (Caldeon, Ont.) coaches, is director of coaching & player development for Baseball Ontario and runs the annual Best Ever Clinic.
Honourable Mention: Don Archer, scout Los Angeles Angels, Curtis Bailey, scout MLB Scouting Bureau; Denny Berni, Pro Teach; John Berry, B.C. Baseball; Howie Birnie, Baseball Ontario, Leaside.
Scott Bullett, Bullett Proof Baseball Academy, Ray Calari, scout, San Francisco Giants; Don Campbell, coach, Ottawa-Nepean Canadians;Remo Cardinale, Team Ontario; Don Charrette, College Baseball Connect.
Shawn Corness, pitching coach, UBC; Sam Dempster, coach, Durham College; Jason Dickson, pitching coach, Team Canada National Junior Team, executive director, Sport New Brunswick; Justice Randall Echlin, chairman Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame selection committee; Dave Empey, coach, Vancouver Cannons.
A. J. Fystro, coach, University of Calgary/Okotoks Dawgs, Andrew Halpenny, scout MLB Scouting Bureau; Brad Jorgensen, owner Thunder Bay Border Cats; Davd Laing, Baseball BC; Michel Laplante, manager, Quebec Capitales.
Andre Lachance, coach, Baseball Canada; Ken Lenihan, scout MLB Scouting Bureau (61), Todd MacFarlane, collector (64); Alan Mauthe, hitting coach, single-A Lowell (70), Jean-Marc Mercier, scout, Jays.
Don McNight, president, Baseball Ontario; Mel Oswald, coach, Canadian Thundebirds; Russ Parker, owner, Victoria Seals, Golden League; Larry Pearson, business manager, Team Canada National Junior Team; Todd Plaxton, coach, scout MLB Scouting Bureau; Mark Randall, scout, Houston Astros.
Josh Ridgway, coach, Douglas College; Bernie Soulliere, chef de mission Team Canada; Bob Smyth, scout MLB Scouting Bureau, Rob Webster, coach Kwantlen College; Nigel Wilson, Competitive Edge Facility; Jeff Zimmerman, pitching coach, Team Canada juniors.