Apologies ... we are late with our annual most influential list due to December eye surgeries.
By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
You may have read once or twice about Joey Votto’s work ethic.
Or how he has a batting eye able to tell if a pitch is outside ... even by the width of a hummingbird’s beak.
In grade 12 (2000-01) and grade 13 (2001-02) he took batting practice, then hit off the tee and then he hit some more inside Bob Smyth’s Etobicoke facility. His hard work and his explosive swing made him a second round pick by the Cincinnati Reds in 2002, after he was spotted at a Florida showcase by Cincinnati Reds scout John Castleberry.
Yet, we discovered something else about his high school workday the other night after we spoke to tell him he was No. 1 on our belated list of 2017’s most influential Canadians in baseball. This is our 11th annual compilation.
“In high school, I’d go hit with my friend Warren Bradley, then go home and do my ‘fake’ home work,” Votto joked. “Then, I would watch the scouting bureau videos of every single player I could find. I spent hour after hour watching Joe Mauer. I mean I was obsessed. Joe Mauer ran well. Joe Mauer threw well. He was first overall pick in 2001. I tried to emulate him.”
Originally, the Bloordale Bomber and Etobicoke Ranger wanted to grow up to be like Scott Thorman (Cambridge, Ont.) of the Ontario Blue Jays. Votto saw Thorman hit each weekend morning for coach Gary Wilson, working out at Smyth’s facility. And more and more Votto hit (“Did he hit? Huh. Only until his hands bled,” Smyth used to say). Votto studied videos of Chipper Jones, first overall in 1990; Derek Jeter sixth overall to the New York Yankees in 1992 and Casey Kotchman, 13th overall to the Anaheim Angels in 2001; Melvin Upton, second over-all and Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC) fourth overall, who were both chosen in 2002.
Votto won the MVP award in 2010 with an OPS of 1.024 as the Reds won the NL Central Divison. This year his OPS was 1.032, as he hit .320, had the highest OPS (.454) in the National League for a sixth time and finished second in the MVP voting behind Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton (302-300 in the voting). Each had 10 first-place votes. Stanton had 10 second-place votes and five third-place votes. Votto had nine second-place votes and four third-place selections.
The voting was so close that had Votto been one spot higher on the ballot he would have won (a fourth instead of a third). Three voters were singled out for not voting either Votto or Stanton in the top three. The two Miami voters had Stanton first and Votto third. Another national writer had Votto fourth. Those were telling ballots.
Did Votto stomp and cuss?
Did he say that voters “need to do a better job on their homework?”
Did he claim an anti-Ohio bias?
Far from it ... He told reporters: “(Stanton) and I had similar seasons but we could not be more different. We both had 10 first place votes. Thank you to everyone who voted for me. Holy cow, what an honour to finish second. What an honour to receive 10 first-place votes. With the way we finished in the standings (68-94), it wasn’t a strong year. To have 10 first-place votes is such an honour.”
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In 2010, when he was named the most influential he said “Growing up, looking out across the border, I saw bright lights, stronger arms, stronger bats, players who had more exposure than we did. There was more TV coverage, more support from their communities. All we heard as kids was how everything was better in the U.S. when it came to baseball.
“Hearing that all those years I couldn’t help but feel inferior. Some Canadian kids have that feeling because we spend so much time on hockey. It’s important young kids understand that kids from here can make it in baseball.”
And last week he recalled when he broke into the minors.
“You play locally and think these guys are really good, you read names in Baseball Ameriica and eventually you think they are matchable,” said Votto who recalls early in his career people would ask if he was competing against Larry Walker, Matt Stairs or Justin Morneau.
“When Larry played he was thinking about competing against Barry Bonds. I tried to compete with the masses, whether it was Jose Altuve, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton or Mike Trout.”
At the annual Baseball Canada banquet Votto sat with Atlanta Braves prospect Mike Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) and St. Louis Cardinals prospect Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC). What questions did the prospects ask the established major leaguer?
Not a lot, but that did not surprise Votto.
“Younger players learn by observation, by being inspired by what they see,” Votto said. “Very rarely do I have a conversation about how to perform. Players always seem to get the message by watching and observing.”
Now, 18 or 19 years after he first started working out indoors in Etobicke, he returns to the same place, now known as Denny Bernyi’s Pro Teach. And he gets the same reaction from youngsters who stand and watch him hit.
“I find the youth players will wait until I get finished, then they ask if they could take a picture,” Votto said. “My schedule is so inconsitent the way they act is the same whether I am there at 10 AM or midnight,”
Votto learned by observing too. Especially when Scott Rolen joined the Reds from the Blue Jays.
“I remember watching Rolen after what could have been a bad call, how he did not say a word or complain and thinking, ‘Oh, so that’s how you act?’” Votto said. “Same with Ken Griffey. He never let the umpires distract from his game.”
If you regularly watched the Blue Jays the last decaade, the way they roll their eyes and heads or throw their arms in the air, this might be a novel concept.
* * *
Since the final day of the season -- a 3-1 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley on Oct. 1 -- Votto has been to two funerals. He was amongst the mourners for Walter “Superbubz” Herbert, a first-grade student who died of cancer.
Votto homered against the New York Mets reliever Jeurys Familia on Aug. 31, high-fived young Walter who was sitting behind home plate and suffering from stage 4 neuroblastoma. Votto returned with his bat and his uniform to Walter. When the youngster passed away in October, Votto attended the visitation, bringing flowers for the family and posing for a photo with Walter’s sister Adley.
“At no point did I ever feel comfortable about talking about this little boy out of respect for the family," Votto said.
And he attended the funeral of Etobicoke Rangers coaching legend Steve (Whitey) Brietner, who Votto threw out the first pitch to when the Reds visited the Rogers Centre last summer.
* * *
Votto has won the Tip O’Neill award as Canada’s player of the year seven times in the last nine years. He has been named the Most Influential Canadian in Baseball three times, the George Gross Sportsman of the Year award twice and has won the Lou Marsh award twice -- all in the past eight years, He is one of nine athletes to be multiple winner of Canada’s athlete of the year. Marlene Streit (golf), Nancy Greene (alpine skiing), Sandy Hawley (horse racing), Ben Johnson (track), Jacques Villeneuve (auto racing) and Sidney Crosby (hockey) each won twice, while Barbara Ann Scott (figure skating) won three times and Wayne Gretzky (hockey) four times. Votto has studied the list.
“I love the award because of all the different sports, because men or women can win,” Votto said. “I’m very proud and I love the list of names. It’s such a diverse award. The major professional sports are one thing but when a Canadian does something on the world stage we are extremely proud.
“As a country we probably have a hockey bias, but looking at the list the bias does not show.”
So if you listen to Votto, you can learn you can get better by studying video other hitters (or pitchers), that there is zero reason for Canadian youngsters to have an inferiority complex, not to argue with umpires, to lose with class and show proper respect to those who have passed.
And now on with the list ...
1. Joey Votto, Reds (1).
In December of 2016 two events happened in the same week: Votto was named most influential Canadian in baseball and Votto decided he would not participate in the 2017 WBC in Miami. We received a few complaints on that one. Well, 2016 was 2016 ... we’ll see what happens. Votto stayed in Arizona so he would have a better year than 2016 (on May 29 he was batting .207) and he did just that. In 2017, he had the same amount of doubles (34) as in 2016, more homers (36), RBIs (100), walks (134), on-base (.454) and OPS (1.032).
Votto’s career on-base mark is .969, which is the 11th best all-time of the 19,183 players tooo play the game. Everyone ahead of him -- Ted Williams (.482), Babe Ruth (.474), John McGraw (.466), Billy Hamilton (.455), Lou Gehrig (.447), Rogers Hornsby (.434), Ty Cobb (.433) and Jimmie Foxx (.428) -- except Barry Bonds (.444) and Bill Joyce (.435) are already in Cooperstown. Joyce only played eight seasons and one has to have played 10 years to be eligible.
2. Edward Rogers, deputy chairman, Rogers Communications (5).
If the time does come for Rogers Corp. to sell the Blue Jays, Edward Rogers will make the call. He is the boss, He and his executives do not think the increase from the $125 million purchase price in the team to the $1.6 billion evaluation is properly reflected in the company’s stock price. News broke Dec. 6, Rogers could sell the team and on Jan. 25 during a fourth-quarter conference call, there was word that the team was not for sale. Do things change that quickly. Maybe because Rogers or Major League Baseball would like to know how much the franchise is worth.
After news broke that the team was for sale Edward took over for chairman Alan Horn. So he is more powerful than a year ago today. Edward could sell the Jays to another party or he could roll the Jays into a separate group either with or without Sportsnet, thump his chest and say “I am the chairman, I am doing what I want.” We’ve heard the analogy that if the company is an adult (including wireless, TV, radio, etc.) the ball club is the size of a finger nail. Well Rogers Communications spends twice as much in marketing as the Jays spend on players.
The Jays are attempting to sell Rogers Centre naming rights to either TD Bank or the Royal Bank. One story we have heard is that Edward was not told about the naming rights process and is sending his own financial expert to 1 Blue Jays Way. A six-man governance committee has been formed to decide the better offer: Edward Rogers, Roger Rai, a Rogers consultant; Tony Staffieri, chief financial officer; Joe Natale, president & CEO at Rogers; Jays president Mark Shapiro and Andrew Miller, executive vice president of business operations.
3. Farhan Zaidi, Dodgers GM, (4).
Opposing GMs and agents have said that the Dodgers ran a three-pronged attack: president Andrew Friedman, GM Zaidi and assistant GM Alex Anthopoulos. One agent told a story of arriving at 11 AM before a night game to see manager Dave Roberts standing at home plate listening to Friedman, Zaidi and Anthopoulos talk ... and talk. Said another agent: “Farhan and Alex are very smart. Farhan is a little funnier. Alex has a better jump shot.”
The front-office combo helped the Dodgers reached the World Series for the first time since 1988 mainly because they re-signed free agents Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Rich Hill. The Dodgers acquired via trade Austin Barnes, Charlie Culberson, Yu Darvish, Josh Fields, Logan Forsythe, Yasmani Grandal, Curtis Granderson, Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson and Alex Wood.
4. Joel Wolfe, agent, Wasserman Group (7).
All of baseball said Giancarlo Stanton was driving the bus during trade talks to exit the Miami Marlins. Yet it was Wolfe, whose parents grew up in Montreal, who was his No. 1 navigator. It was exhausting to meet (and say no to both) the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals. And then out of nowhere the largest contract in all of sports and reigning NL MVP with 59 homers was dealt to the New York Yankees.
He is handling Yu Darvish’s free agency, which is said to consist of a five-year offer. Besides that, he landed ex-Jay reliever Brandon Morrow a two-year deal, plus a vesting option for just 50 appearances which could make the deal with the Cubs worth $34 million, RP Jake McGee a three-year $9 million deal with the Colorado Rockies; RHP Tyson Ross signed a minor-league deal with the San Diego Padres and signed Orioles SS Tim Beckham.
In addition to Stanton taking MVP honours over Votto, Wolfe’s stable included two Gold Glovers in Giants SS Brandon Crawford and Rockies Nolan Arenado, who won Platinum honours.
5. Alex Anthopoulos, Braves GM (12).
Anthopoulos was a driving force in the Dodgers’ front office, first signing Brandon Morrow after a major-league deal never came for the former first rounder. He played an important role in convincing the Dodgers brass to promote Morrow when he opted out of his contract. Morrow had a 2.06 ERA -- walking nine and fanning 50 in 43 2/3 innings -- allowing 31 hits. He was overworked in the World Series.
It’s a tired and true line trotted out by one GM or president after another. Like J.P. Ricciardi and now the current Jays regime about how “the cupboard is bare” in the minors. They tell their friends in the media “you didn’t get it from me, but ...” Like former Cleveland Indian and MLB Network panelist Sean Casey saying that the “Jays have nothing in the minors” and that trading Josh Donaldson will afford them the opportunity to replenish their farm system. Vladimir Guerrero, the only $3.9 million signing bonus negotiated “En français” (between Anthopoulos and Guerrero’s mother) that we have heard about. Bo Bichette, Anthony Alford, Ryan Borucki and Guerrero are a long way from bare. Guerrero is ranked among the top three prospects lists. Along with Guerrero, Bichette and Alford are ranked in the 60 by Baseball America and MLB.Pipeline.
On Nov. 13, Anthopoulos was hired as Braves GM and executive vice-president as John Hart was removed as president. He will have autonomy of baseball operations, giving him more power than any Braves general manager since John Schuerholz (1990-2007). Anthopoulos takes over from John Coppolella, forced to resign after rule violations and banned for life. Now, Anthopoulos makes roughly the same as he turned down leaving the Jays two years ago and takes over what Baseball America named the best minor league organization. Hall of Famers Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz interviewed Anthopoulos between Games 5 and 6 of the World Series.
6. Larry Walker, Hall of Fame candidate (8).
Walker has never received more than 22.9% of the required 75% in his first seven years from the Baseball Writers Association of America. He has not had a base hit since striking out in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series in the ninth inning facing Astros Dan Wheeler. Yet, he is finally gaining traction this year. He has 2019 and 2020 as his final years on the ballot.
Walker jumped to 34.1% after being at 21.9% last year. He gained more votes (44) than anyone but Vladimir Guerrero (75). The knock by some against Walker has always been that he played in Denver, despite the fact he played 70% of his games elsewhere. As for the knock on road average, he batted .278 (90th) between Andre Dawson (.2783) and Max Carey (.2777); had an on-base mark of .370 between Joe Cronin (.371) and Duke Snider, Hank Aaron and Al Kaline (.369 each); slugged .495, which ranked 26th behind Larry Doby (.496) and ahead of Jim Bottomley (.486) and 168 home runs 37th, behind Al Kaline (173) and ahead of Gary Carter and Rickey Henderson (162 each).
Among HOF corner outfielders he is 13th in OPS+ (ahead of Billy Williams and Dave Winfield) and in WAR he is 14th (ahead of Willie Stargell and Williams). In 1997, he had a .443 on-base mark and slugged .733 on the road. At Coors he had 2,501 plate appearances compared to 5,529 other stadia. He had an on-base mark of .462 at home and .372 elsewhere. At home he slugged .710 and was .501 other places.
7. Russell Martin, Blue Jays (2).
Canada’s greatest catcher played the least amount of games (91), had the fewest plate appearances (365) and at-bats (307) in his 12-year career due to injuries. And for only the third time his club did not make post-season play, but that’s not his fault. He had played in October three times with the Dodgers (2006, 2008-09), twice with the Yankees (2011-12), twice with both Pittsburgh (2013-14) and the Jays (2015-16).
Martin has caught 1,448 games in his career. The rest of the top five Canucks are George Gibson (London, Ont.), Larry McLean (Fredericton NB), Jimmy Archer (Toronto, Ont.) and Nig Clarke (Amherstburg, Ont.). There is not be a statue of a ball player in front of the Rogers Centre -- there used to be one of broadcasting/wireless pioneer Ted Rogers -- but Martin has a statue of himself in front of Cayleigh Parrish’s The SPORT Gallery in the Distillery section.
Martin and Maple Leafs great Johnny Bower have been there since last summer. Imagine how many stops those two combined to make. Martin was immortalized by Patrick Amiot, who grew up in Montreal and was born the evening Jacques Plante donned his mask for the first time. Amiot now lives in Sebastopol, Calif.
8. Jonah Keri, SI, Sportsnet, CBS Sports (19).
Some writers vote for Hall of Famers. Others lobby. And one is like Keith Davey, the Liberal Party Rainmaker. Keri ran a campaign to get Tim Raines his deserved place in Cooperstown. It was a long climb up the hill. He cranked things up a year ago in each TV or radio or podcast appearance and finally reached the top. He went to verbal war and won facing MLB Network’s Chris (Mad Dawg) Russo, who did not think Raines belonged, in a debate. Keri changed writers minds with an open letter https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/a-letter-to-bbwaa-voters-why-tim-raines-deserves-to-be-in-the-hall-of-fame/
Raines went from 69.8% (307 votes) to 86% (380). And like the great ones -- Roy Halladay, Pat Hentgen, Joey Votto -- he did not forget who helped him speaking to Keri in his speech and Keri wept. Keri, joined by his childhood pal David Itzkovits, claimed he had the sniffles.
“There’s a few guys that I want to talk about before I get into my career. The one guy I want to talk about, who was inspirational for me especially in the past three or four years for my candidacy into the Hall of Fame, and that guy is Jonah Keri. This was a kid that grew up watching Tim Raines play. I remember seeing a picture of us. I think he had to be about six or seven and I was in my Montreal uniform and he told me ‘This was me.’ Jonah is about 37 now. I said no way. He said ‘Yeah, this is me, back in the day, I watched your every move as a player. You were my favourite player.
“Today I want to thank him so very much for his support and for him getting that name out there. There are a lot of things that I didn’t even know myself. This guy told me about stats that where I was like ‘Did I do that?’ Not only that but we have become really good friends And again thank you.”
9. Greg Hamilton, Baseball Canada (3).
The Canadian Junior National team did not have all hands on deck for the World Juniors in Thunder Bay, but after a poor start, upset No. 1 Japan and lost in the Super Round playing for bronze against Japan. Hamilton’s team was without INF Adam Hall (London, Ont.) who was injured and OF Cooper Davis (Mississauga, Ont.) at class at Vanderbilt. The goal of the program is to get players to the next level. RHP Landon Leach (Pickering, Ont.) signed a $1.4 millon with the Twins and the O’s gave Hall $1.3 million.
Plus Canucks landed with strong programs such as Edouard Julien, (Quebec City, Que.) to Auburn, Cade Smith (Abbotsford, BC) and Carter Loewen (Abbotsford, BC) both to Hawaii, Jason Willow (Victoria, BC) California Santa Barbara, Dondrae Bremner (Toronto, Ont.) Cincinnati, Victor Cerny (Winnipeg, Man.) and LHP Wesley Moore (Surrey, BC) both to Cal State Northridge, Jack DeCooman (North Vancouver, BC) Washington, OF Isaac Deveaux (Montreal, Que.) Utah, LHP Harley Gollert (Toronto, Ont.) Austin Peay, INF Steven Moretto (Vancouver, BC) Sacramento State, LHP Garret Nicholson (Sydney Mines, NS) Central Michigan.
Putting together Canada’s WBC rroster was difficult for Hamilton since Canada’s best could not make it. Hamilton did not have Reds 1B Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.), LHP James Paxton (Ladner, BC), Jameson Taillon, whose parents were born in Ontario, RP John Axford (Simcoe, Ont.) and OF Michael Saunders (Victoria, BC). Plus Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) was injured and Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) stayed in camp with the White Sox fearing he would be cut.
There was a replacement for Votto in Freddie Freeman, who slid in to share 1B-DH duties with Justin Morneau. Canada lost 9-2 to the Dominican, 4-1 to Colombia and 8-0 to Team USA. George Kottaras (Markham, Ont.) had three hits, while Rene Tosoni (Port Coquitlam, BC), Eric Wood (Pickering, Ont.) and Peter Orr (Newmarket, Ont.) each had a pair of hits. The other hits went to Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.), Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC) and Jonathan Malo (Laval, Que.). Canada will have to qualify in 2020 for the 2021, as will Chinese Taipei, Mexico and China.
10. Fergie Jenkins, Hall of Famer (14).
We remember someone telling us as a peewee that peewee baseball was named after Pee Wee Reese. We didn’t believe it. Not for a second. But years later we discovered Babe Ruth and Connie Mack divisions. Organizers thought so much of the Hall of Famers, they named whole age groups after them.
And this summer, 47 teams from 10U to 18U will play in the Fergie Jenkins League based in Welland and run by Scott Bullett. Organizations fielding teams on different levels include the Bullettproof Prospects, Ontario Athletics, Ontario Giants, Ottawa Knights, Tri-City Giants, Central Ontario Reds, Fieldhouse Buccaneers, Kingston Colts, Ontario Cardinals, Ontario Athletics, Ontario Blue Jays, Upper Canada Rebellion and the Oakville Hammers.
Jenkins is much in demand when it comes to signing autographs. As our Kevin Glew points out in 1971 Jenkins had 30 complete games, while last year’s Cubs staff had 28. Canada’s national treasure received a World Series ring on April 10 when the Cubs opened 2017 at Wrigley Field with a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on an Anthony Rizzo single.
11. Pat Gillick, senior advisor, Phillies (10).
In September, it was Tournament 12 time and the Phillies had the worst record in the game, which translates into the first pick for June in 2018. Gillick, a Canadian citizen, lives in Birmingham, Mich., near his daughter Kim, her husband David and grandson Cooper, made the trip to scout C Noah Naylor. And stayed over the next day to watch him again. Some people e-mail complaining Canadian Junior Team members should not be in the T-12. Well, if the juniors aren’t at Rogers Centre, a Hall of Famer like Gillick, scouts and recruiters aren’t either.
Gillick, senior advisor to the president Andy MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak, as well as a minority owner, was in on selecting OF Mickey Moniak with the first overall pick in 2016. He’s ranked the 29th best prospect in the minor by Jim Callis on MLB.Pipeline. Moniak hit .236 with five homers, 44 RBIs and a .625 OPS in 123 games at class-A Lakewood. The Phillies, coming off 66 wins, will pick third, while the Tigers go first and the Giants -- both with 64 wins -- draft second.
12. Don Cherry, Hockey Night in Canada, 7th-inning stretch warbler (27).
You may think that Donald S. (Kingston, Ont. -- Canada’s first capital) has a nice little seven-minute slot after the first period and the extent of his popularity runs from Legion Branch No. 9 in Kingston to Branch 160 in Comox, BC. Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, BC), special assistant to Cubs president/GM, asked Cherry to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” on Aug. 19 when the Blue Jays visited Wrigley Field.
Cherry was on the field pregame when Cubs manager Joe Maddon came out of the dugout to greet him. Then, Dempster, who first saw Cherry on TV as a seven or eight-year-old, led Cherry from the field up to the press box. “I’ve told many a person this but walking around Wrigley with Don Cherry was honestly like walking around with Paul McCartney or Babe Ruth,” Dempster said. “I’ve been there for many a celebrity and Don stood out by far and away as the top. Young and old. Men and women. It was like nothing I’ve seen.”
It took half an hour for the Cherry entourage to move up one level through the stands as he was continually asked to pose for pictures, sign program or simply shake hands with a fan. Men. Women. Children. Grandpas. Cubs fans. Jays fans. Dempster said Cherry was “much more knowledgeable about baseball than I thought he would be, especially when it came to the Jays, his wherewithal was quite impressive.”
13. Buddy Black, manager, Colorado Rockies (6).
Harry “Bud” Ralston Black was accepting congratulations after the 2015 season. He had been let go by San Diego but was now hired by the Washington Nationals. One problem. The Nats pay their managers slightly over the pay grade for the head night security guard. So, when it came time to talk contract an agreement was not reached. Black was special assistant to the Angels GM in 2016 and last year managed the Rockies to 87 wins and post-season play for the first time since 2009.
Black is WBC eligible and able to take over for Ernie Whitt some day because his father Harry was born in the Edmonton area and his mom in Melville, Sask. His father was recruited from the Olds (Alberta) Elks to skate for UCLA in 1938. Buddy has managed his teams to 736 wins in his 10 seasons and went 121-116 in 15 years, including two wins in three starts for the 1990 Blue Jays, beating the Yankees and the Orioles. He played two seasons at San Diego State where he was a teammate of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and was a 1992 inductee into the SDSU Aztec Hall of Fame.
14. Bob McCown, host, Prime Time Sports (11).
Since I am not driving to and from ball parks as much as other year, I do admit I am no longer a full-time listener any more. However, I do talk to people. People like Claude Themalfachuck, who tells me “Robert is as strong as ever," as well as others who know Rory Calhoun's distant cousin.
When it came time for Sportsnet to break the news on their news story of the year -- that Gregg Zaun was fired after multiple women at Sportsnet complained about his “inappropriate behavior” in the workplace -- Rogers Media president Rick Brace gave the release to McCown alone to read. McCown was re-upped for three more years Dec 31. Happy New Year.
15. Dan Shulman, broadcaster, ESPN, Sportsnet (17)
After being the smooth voice of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball since 2011, Shulman is stepping down to spend more time at home. But in the end it probably means more Shulman on Jays games. He did about 30 games last year and that is likely due to increase. And the first Jays-Yankees game he does with his former partner Aaron Boone in the New York dugout will be fun to hear.
The Toronto resident will still have a full college hoops schedule for ESPN, will call the entire postseason on ESPN Radio and do a limited number of weeknight TV games for ESPN. This is Shulman’s 20th year calling baseball for ESPN. He began doing postseason radio in 1998. He served as the voice of ESPN’s Monday (2008-10) and Wednesday Night games (2002-07). Son Matthew, who was raised right and was a former Jays intern (best since Dean Knudson), now works in the financial field.
16. John Ircandia, managing director, Okotoks Dawgs (18).
Another year and another bump for Ircandia’s passion: his summer college team. Ballpark Digest showed that the Dawgs drew the third highest attendance among the 153 summer college teams which drew more than 100 fans per game. Okotoks moved up from fourth to third with an average attendance of 4,104, up from 3,329 in 23 home date. The Madison Mallards were No. 1 (6,039) and the Savannah Bananas (3,659) were next in average attendance at Seaman Stadium. Not bad for a group which was told it could not find a home in Calgary.
As for the Dawgs Academy, they won the bantam and peewee Alberta titles, while the midgets won the Buckeye Elite at Ohio State and Firecracker Invitational showcases in Spokane, Wash. Caesar Valero committed to NCAA’s top ranked Oregon State and was one of coach Allan Cox’s 22 players selected to attend Tournament 12 with Micah McDowell named MVP. Word was at T12 that the Dawgs had one of its best recruiting years.
While sons Matt and Vince Ircandia have moved on from the program, father John, the Big Dawg, continually strives to make his program better. Matt is a marketing analyst at Tourmaline Oil and Vince used to be senior vice president of business operations with the Portland Trail Blazers and now has his own business analytics consulting company, StellarAlgo Corp. This month national team coach Greg Hamilton (Peterborough, Ont.) and long-time Dawgs coach Dave Robb (Lac Le Biche, Alta.) were inducted in the Dawgs Hall.
17. Tony Staffieri, chief financial officer, Rogers Communications (61).
It was his bomb to deliver and Staffieri dropped it ... strategically. This news blast was not in the Financiaal Post or the Globe. Staffieri chose to say that Rogers was interested in selling the Blue Jays to free up capital for its main communications businesses in front of a world-wide audience in an on stage interview at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference in New York.
Staffieri said that the Jays are a “very valuable asset for us that we don’t get full credit for.” He said there wasn’t anything imminent “but we’re certainly looking at the alternatives,” and would like “to get content without having capital tied up on our balance sheet.” The Jays team payroll is way less than the Rogers marketing budget.
18. Kyle Boddy, Driveline Baseball (20).
Not many facilities get major league props in front of a national TV audience. Trevor Bauer has just thrown 98 pitches, working 6 2/3 scoreless as the Indians beat the Yankees 4-0 in Game 1 of the AL Division Series. Bauer allowed two hits and walked one, while fanning eight. “The guys at Driveline did a good job,” Bauer told Tom Verducci of Fox Sports before quickly moving onto a post-game cliche.
Bauer is just one client of Boddy, born in Cleveland to his Toronto-born father. He runs an indoor facility at Kent, Wash. who worked with weighted balls. Bauer was 17-9 with a 4.19 ERA in 31 starts as he walked 60 and fanned 196 in 176 1/3 innings last season, Brandon McCarthy was 6-4 with a 3.98 ERA in 16 starts with 27 walks and 72 strikeouts in 92 2/3 innings with the Dodgers, ex-Jay Matt Boyd make more starts for the Tigers than Daniel Norris going 6-11 with a 5.27 ERA walking 53 and whiffing 110 in 135 frames, Dan Straily was 10-9, 4.26, walking 60 and fanning 170 in 181 2/3 innings.
And it is where former Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum went to begin his comeback using Trackman and Rapsodo on how pitchers spin the ball.
19. Arlene Anderson, CEO, Sam Bat (21).
Not a bad year for the Carleton Place bat factory. Both MVPs -- Houston’s Jose Altuve and Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton -- were among the 137 pros who ordered Sam Bat product. The company is doing a booming business online. Founder Sam Holman was at the winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Again Sam Bat is featured on SONY MLB The Show, showed with our Players Weekend Custom bats with a photo in the New York Times and developed new transition bats for Youth, the MC-5 (Miguel Cabrera’s knob variation), Sam-5 and the KB-5. Russell Martin ordered Sam Bat as did other Jays Kendrys Morales, Marco Estrada and Aaron Sanchez.
Besides Altuve, Stanton and Cabrera, some of the other pros ordering Sam Bat include Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Hanley Ramirez, Rafael Devers, Miguel Montero, Melky Cabrera, Avisail Garcia, Jason Kipnis, Edwin Encarnacion, Michael Brantley, Jordan Zimmermann, Yulieski Gurriel, Marwin Gonzalez, Carlos Correa, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Joc Pederson, Marcell Ozuna, Ryan Braun, Gary Sanchez, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Adam Lind and Bryce Harper.
Jose Altuve of the Astros ordered bats from Sam Bat that use the colours and design of the Venezuelan flag. Mets’ Amed Rosario picked out a bright orange and blue bat, from Marucci Sports, and teammate Dominic Smith chose a matte blue version. Canucks swinging Canadian maple besides Martin include Jameson Taillon, Jordan Procyshen, Dustin Houle, Eric Wood, Josh Naylor, Demi Orimoloye, Andy Yerzy, Mike Soroka, Miles Gordon and Louis Boyd.
20. Ryan Dempster, assistant to president/GM, Cubs, MLB Network (65).
The biggest planned honour at a ball park is the ceremonial first pitch and then singing the anthem. Except at Wrigley Field there is this another honour when guests sing Harry Carry’s seventh-inning “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” With the Jays in town on Friday Aug. 18, the Cubs gave actress Elisabeth Moss (The West Wing, Mad Men) and Sunday afternoon former Cub Gary (The Sarge) Matthews. Dempster, the star of MLB.Network, “Doughnuts with Demp” and a Cubs front office exec, booked Don Cherry for Saturday.
Someone was supposed to accompany Cherry but at the last minute became ill, so, ex-big leaguer Greg O’Halloran (Mississauga, Ont.), who originally set everything up, pinch hit. An Ontario Terriers coach, O’Halloran took his cousin Bill O’Harra with him. Except there were zero Air Canada tickets left for their Saturday AM flight. No problem. Dempster obtained the use of Jon Lester’s private plane. Cherry was a hit on the field, in the seats and in the booth. Wrigley organist Gary Pressey is a Bruins fan and used to go to games at the Garden when Cherry coached. Cherry sent Pressey a personalized photo. “We thought fans would really appreciate him. They did and he didn’t disappoint,” said Dempster who gave credit to Max Berman, who brings guests in. Berman asked if Dempster could help make it happen. “The reaction after the stretch was a 10! His kindness and generosity of his time with people was special to watch.”
And while Dempster missed the 2006 World Baseball Classic, he came out of retirement to start the opener last March in Miami against the Dominican Republic (four runs in two innings). And on one day’s rest faced Team USA (three runs in 1/3 of an inning). His yearly trip to Chicago and a tour of Wrigley is annually the top seller at the annual Baseballl Canada auction. In all, through his fantasy auction packages and donations to the program, he has raised $220,000.
21. Jeffrey Royer, general partner, Arizona Diamondbacks (25).
In the business world, one conglomerate merges with another. There has yet to be a merger, but this summer, David Royer, a graduate of the High Park Braves, worked in baseball operations for the Blue Jays, who we all know are owned by Rogers Communications.
His father, Jeffrey, is an independent director of one of Canada’s leading cable TV families -- Shaw Communications -- and also one of the 30 business operations running big-league teams. The Toronto resident committed $160 million US over a 10-year span as part owner of the Diamondbacks. He was the largest single investor in the Israeli Baseball League, which started in 2007.
He is also Chairman of Baylin Technologies, Inc. and Galtronics Corporation Ltd, as well as being affiliated with (B. Y.) Medimor Ltd., as well as Beit Ben Yehuda, Massuah Hotels, Family Channel Oy and Emmit Labs, Inc.
22. Jeff Mallett, part owner, Giants (29).
He was on the losing end as the University of Victoria Vikes were edged 1-0 by the McGill Redmen in 1982 at the Canadian university soccer championship. He later played at Santa Rosa JUCO and San Francisco State University, earning All-American honors. He has not done a lot of losing since, picking up World Series rings in 2010, 2012 and 2014 with the Giants as a part owner since 2002. Before that he was president and CEO for Yahoo Inc. for eight years.
Also an owner of the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps and the Derby County Football Club, in the UK League, he owns the class-A San Jose Giants as well. San Jose had 62 wins in five months, two short of the Giants total over the six-month schedule. Mallett established The Jeffrey Mallett Leadership Award which is an annual scholarship awarded to an outstanding University of Victoria student. He was the inaugural winner of the UVic Business Board of Advisors, Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2004.
23. Paul Beeston, president emeritus, Jays (13).
When it came time for someone to phone and express sympathies to Brandy Halladay on Nov. 7 after it was confirmed that her husband, former Jays ace Roy Halladay had died, Beeston was given the assignment. Halladay had crashed his ICON A5 in the Gulf of Mexico, 17 minutes after taking off from a lake near his Tampa-area home.
He was also part of the 16-man Modern Era Committee which elected former Detroit Tigers great Jack Morris and Alan Trammell to Cooperstown at Lake Buena Vista, Fla. during the December winter meetings. Morris had 14 votes, while his shortstop had 13. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the committee which included Hall of Fame members George Brett, Rod Carew, Bobby Cox, Dennis Eckersley, John Schuerholz, Don Sutton, Dave Winfield and Robin Yount; major league executives Sandy Alderson (Mets), Bob Castellini (Reds), Bill DeWitt (Cards) and David Glass (Royals) and Beeston; and plus historians Steve Hirdt, Jayson Stark and some other guy.
24. James Paxton, Mariners (-).
The former Jays first-round pick (unsigned) receives a raise to $4.9 million from $2.35 million, after becoming into the ace of Seattle pitching staff. Paxton was 12-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 24 starts last season. He walked 37 and fanned 156 in 136 innings. He was on the disabled list in 2017 with a forearm strain and a pectoral injury, which was a blow to the M’s post-season run. He earned Mariners Pitcher of the Year honours from the Seattle chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America setting career bests in wins (12), starts (24), innings (136), strikeouts (156) and ERA (2.98).
He prepped for the regular season on his normal pace and came out of the gate firing strikes, in three straight scoreless outings of at least six innings joining George McQuillan (1907), Lefty Leifield (1907), Ray Caldwell (1914), George Mogridge (1916), Harry Brecheen (1948), Luis Tiant (1966), Tommy Greene (1991), Woody Williams (2003) and Jordan Zimmerman (2016). He started with 23 consecutive scoreless innings, the best the Mariners history.
Paxton earned AL Pitcher of the Month for July, going 6-0 with a 1.37 ERA (6 ER, 39.1 IP) with 46 strikeouts and six walks in six July starts in July, becoming the first Mariners pitcher to win six games in a single month. He became one of 10 lefties in history (the 12th) to record at least six wins, an ERA of 1.40-or-better and at least 40 strikeouts in any calendar month (last: Clayton Kershaw-LAD, June 2014).
25. Andrew Tinnish, assistant GM, Blue Jays (23).
Four more of Tinnish’s drafts made the majors: Anthong Alford, Casey Lawrence and Ian Parmley with the Jays, along with former No. 1 Deck McGuire with the Reds. They join a group of Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino, Kevin Pillar, Daniel Norris, Dalton Pompey, Anthony DeSclafani, Joe Musgrove, Daniel Barnes, Sean Nolin and Asher Wojciekowski. Alex Anthopoulos and Tinnish signed Vlad Guerrero.
Tinnish covers Latin America as well as being involved in the day-to-day operations. This year he signed Brazillian sensation, the 5-foot, 8-inch RHP Eric Pardinho, who the Jays gave a $1.8 million bonus after scouting him since he was 14. He also signed SSs Leonardo Jimenez of Panama for $800,000 and Dominican dandy Miguel Hiraldo, signed for $750,000. He agreed to join Anthopoulos in Atlanta changed his mind 96 hours after the announcement and returned to the Blue Jays.
26. Stubby Clapp, manager, triple-A Memphis (24).
There is always a lot of pressure on a manager. Yet, how much more is there when your number is retired and hanging on the wall above the Redbirds’ bullpen at AutoZone Park? Clapp’s No. 10 went up April 21, 2007, as the first number ever retired by the Memphis Redbirds. He is second in franchise history for games played (425) and hits (418). He was a fan fave due to his outstanding play at second and his Ozzie Smith-like back flips.
Baseball America named Clapp 2017 Minor League Manager of the Year after his club went 91-50 (.645), the most wins for a Memphis club since 1948 and the triple-A Pacific Coast League title, beating El Paso in a five-game championship series. During their title march, the Redbirds set a franchise record with an 11-game win streak and going 13-0 in extra-innings. Clapp was also PCL Manager of the Year, the first Memphis manager to earn either honours.
27. Jim Stevenson, area scout, Astros (28).
The World Series champion Astros will be getting their Series rings April 2 when they host the Baltimore Orioles. And one of those getting a ring is Jim Stevenson (Leaside, Ont.), who coached at Leaside and now scouts for Houston out of his Tulsa, Oak. home. He selected Dallas Keuchel in the seventh round of the 2009 draft from the University of Arkansas Razorbacks and gave him $150,000 to turn pro. Keuchel has won a Cy Young award and is 55-34 won-loss record with a 3.15 ERA, walking 194 and striking out 631 in 745 2/3 innings over the last four years.
Stevenson drafted Canadian Baseball Network First Team OF Jonathan Lacroix (Montreal Que.) from Seminole State College in the 12th and gave him a $125,000 bonus last year. In 2016, he selected 3B Abraham Toro-Hernandez (Greenfield Park, Que.), also from Seminole State, giving him a $250,000 bonus. Splitting 2017 between the class-A Quad Cities River Bandits and class-A Tri City Valley Cats, he hit 11 doubles, two triples, 15 homers and 33 RBIs. The switch-hitter batted .246 with an .859 OPS in 69 games.
Two of Stevenson’s previous draftees from Northeastern Oklahoma, were added to their respective 40-man rosters. The Astros added RHP Dean Deetz, 11th rounder in 2014 and OF Ramon Laureano, 23rd round in 2014 and dealt to Oakland (for Brandon Bailey).
28. Ron Tostenson, national cross checker, Cubs (22).
Last June, Tostenson, was in on drafting pitchers early and often, eight of the first 11 picks, including two who made Baseball America’s Cubs top 10 list. Ranked fifth was RHP Alex Lange, a second rounder who was given $1,925,000. He appeared in four games at class-A Eugene, going 0-1 with a 4.82, walking three and fanning 13 in 9 1/3 innings. And No. 10 on the list was OF Nelson Velazquez, a fifth rounder from Carolina, P.R., who was given $400,000. He hit .236 with eight homers and 17 RBIs in 32 games.
A lot of Cubs were scouted by Tostenson -- drafted Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Albert Almora and LHP Rob Zastryzny (Edmonton, Alta.). Canucks in the system include LHP Ryan Kellogg (Whitby, Ont.) and 3B Jesse Hodges (Victoria, BC). Both were at class A Myrtle Beach Pelicans where Hodges hit .268, with 13 homers and 63 RBIs, while Kellogg was 5-7, with a 5.21 ERA.
Also faves on his list are RHP Erich Uelmen from Cal Poly, who was given a $382,300 bonus, Cubs RHP Jeremy Estrada, a Palm Desert high schooler given a $1 million and LHP Ricky Tyler Thomas of Fresno State, who signed for $175,500.
29. Rob Thomson, bench coach, Phillies (32).
The Yankees search for a new manager was described by one opposing GM as a search for a unicorn. ESPN analyst Aaron Boone, Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens, Dodgers 3B coach Chris Woodward, former Indians manager Eric Wedge, retired OF Carlos Beltran and Yankees bench coach Thomson were all interviewed for the job. We’re told that the choice was Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin, before Boone was hired.
Now, most coaches move from one organization to another due to knowing someone (like John Gibbons and DeMarlo Hale roomed together during 1996 winter ball in Hawaii). With five World Series rings, Thomson was not out of work long. In fact, he accepted the job from Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and GM Matt Klentak before the Yankees settled on a manager. Klentak gave him an “out” clause if the Yanks wanted him to manage. He is the most experienced coach on the staff.
30. Maury Gostfrand, agent (33).
When FOXSports.com decided to get rid of the written word and go strictly with video, if you wanted to read Ken Rosenthal, you had to go to his Facebook page. It would be like the Dodgers telling Clayton Kershaw he was the new shortstop. Gostfrand found a soft landing spot for Rosenthal, who leads the league in information, on The Athletic, as well as breaking news on MLB Network.
Gostrand also represents Tom Verducci (Sports Illustrated, MLB Network, the best feature read in the business), former Blue Jay Kevin Millar (MLB Network’s Intentional Talk) and analyst Steve Phillips (TSN, Sirius Radio). An Expo fan, he grew up in the Chomedey area -- Home of Chenoy’s -- on Montreal’s West Island and moved to North Miami Beach. He recently merged his Vision Sports Group with The Montag Group. He also represents Hall of Famer Don Sutton, Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, BC), former ESPN wordsmith Jayson Stark, John Farrell and Jim Bowden of Sirius Radio and The Athletic.
31. Roger Rai, Rogers consultant (-).
Rai is a close friend of Edward Rogers, Rogers Communications boss of bosses going all the way back to their days at the Western University. And Rai has represented the Jays at owners meetings. He is a passionate ball fan and people tell us he knows the game.
So when it comes to having the Edward’s ear, he is the man. Rai is often at Yankee Stadium and during the oust-Paul Beeston stage he called Chicago White Sox president Kenny Williams to see if he was interested in Beeston’s job.
32. Jonathan Hodgson/Jerry Howarth (15).
Jays broadcaster Jerry Howarth, sent us a note after the 2016 top 100 list came out writing: “I would like to turn over all of my space on the list to my inspiration who has made you and I better and that is Jonathan Hodgson (Calgary, Alta.). The two of us are grateful to him and he would be grateful seeing his name on your list and his accomplishments as noted by you. Can we please do that together?”
Hodgson been an Okotoks Dawgs broadcaster and last year did the same for the Victoria HarbourCats, besides helping out on the recruiting end of the situation. Howarth, an Etobicoke resident became a Canadian citizen in April of 1994 and by our count, has worked more than 5,300 regular-season games since in 1981. The late Tom Cheek worked 4,306 consecutive games.
33. Vladimir Guerrero, No. 1 prospect, Jays (74).
Baseball America ranks No. 3 in the minor leagues and MLB.Pipeline has him fourth. Whether the Montreal-born Guerrero ever wears a Canada uniform in the WBC, he is most certain to play for Canada’s Team. Way back when Casey Janssen and Jose Bautista complained on Aug. 1, 2014 that the Jays did not add anyone at the deadline -- despite both Edward Rogers and Paul Beeston promising help was on the way if the Jays were in the hunt at the annual spring farewell diner in Dunedin. Rather than being in major-league parks looking for talent the Jays scouts were entertaining and working out Guerrero at Dunedin.
He is an above average hitter, with plus power and a plus arm. Splitting time between class-A Lansing and class-A Dunedin he hit .323 with 28 doubles, 13 homers, 76 RBIs and a .910 OPS. He received a $3.9 million bonus -- second highest in club history. Latin America scout Ismael Cruz, scouts Dana Brown, Perry Minasian, Andrew Tinnish and GM Alex Anthopoulos were all involved. He shared the Canadian Baseball Network Randall Echlin award with Tyler O’Neill.
34. Matt Stairs, hitting coach, Padres (45).
Stairs (Fredericton, NB) went from Phillies broadcaster to Phillies hitting coach in 2016. The young Phillies had a team batting average of .250 (tied for ninth with the New York Mets), were 12th in homers (174), OPS (.723) and runs scored (690). Philadelphia finished 42-47 over the final 89 games and manager Pete Mackanin was given an extension. Then, the season ended and Mackanin and Stairs were gone.
Stairs, who spent the 2010 season with the Padres -- where he hit six of his 265 homers in his 19-year career, which was second only to Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, BC) with 383 -- will be the hitting instructor for manager Andy Green.
35. Walt Burrows, scout, Twins (38).
For years Burrows was in charge of scouting Canada for the Major League Scouting Bureau. So, it was not a surprise that he knew the country better than most scouts. Well, now he works for the Twins and he still knows the country best.
Burrows (Brentwood Bay, BC) landed the top high school arm in 2017 drafting RHP Landon Leach (Pickering, Ont.) from the Toronto Mets. He was selected 37th overall and given a $1,846,100 bonus. Leach was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA walking six and fanning 10 for the rookie-class Gulf Coast Twins.
36. Mike Soroka, Braves system (-).
If you are projecting things for Soroka he ... probably flies into Atlanta’s Hartsfield International and gets his own express train to baggage and probably gets his own car on the MARTA system to the park. After all, Atlanta sent Soroka to Double-A Mississippi for 2017, skipping the Class A Florida Fire Frogs after he spent the year before at Class A Rome. He was ranked No. 27 by Baseball America.
He was more than five years younger than the average age in the Southern League and opened with five scoreless and seven strikeouts against the Jackson Jumbo Shrimp. His ERA climbed to 3.45 after a May loss to the Birmingham Barons. But the Chris Reitsma pupil finished with a 2.75 mark, going 11-8 with 125 strikeouts in 153 2/3 innings. Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) pitched for the Calgary PBF Redbirds and coach Jim Lawson, earning a $1,974,700 bonus.
37. Doug Mathieson, GM Langley Blaze/Diamondbacks scout (31).
Mathieson’s second rounder from 2016, Andrew Yerzy (Toronto, Ont.) hit 13 homers for the Rookie Class Missoula Osprey as well as a .298 average, 45 RBIs and an .890 OPS in 54 games. Arizona gave Yerzy a $1,214,100 signing bonus. Fourth round pick RHP Curtis Taylor (Port Coquitlam, BC) from UBC was 3-4 with a 3.32 ERA walking 23 and striking out 68 in 62 1/3 innings.
And the next Canuck on the horizon is Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC) a grad of the Langley Blaze. His Blaze Dacks Scout Team are regular visitors to Jupiter each fall for the World Wood Bat tournament. And they make a spring trip to Arizona to play first and second-year pro players. The Langley Blaze will play the first Wayne Norton Memorial Game March 25 against Seattle Mariners minor leaguers at the Peoria Sports Complex.
38. Brett and Joe Siddall, A’s minor leaguer, Jays broadcaster (39).
A Windsor friend of mine who has been a Tigers fan since the days of Al Kaline, Norm Cash and Jake Wood, told me that Siddall had turned him into a Blue Jays fan. How ‘bout that! As Mel Allen used to say. That shows how much of a professional Jerry Howarth’s partner is. Joe is doing endorsements now for Premier Suites, a condo rental agency, and Moore’s Clothing.
Dr. Tamara Siddall and Joe’s son Brett was drafted in the 13th round in 2015 by Oakland scout Matt Higginson (Oakville, Ont.) In 2017, Brett was with the class-A Stockton Ports hitting .300 with 23 doubles, 21 homers, 68 RBIs and an .861 OPS in 117 games. A’s scouts say “They like Brent a lot as he seems to make the necessary adjustments at each level.”
39. Chris Reitsma, senior advisor amateur pitching, Orioles (49).
He was heavily involved in the selection of LHP D.L. Hall, No. 5 prospect in the Orioles system by Baseball America. Chosen in the first round (21st overall) in June, the Valdosta Ga. high schooler was given a $3 million bonus. The Calgary scout, otherwise known as the Big Prairie Dawg, was in on LHP Zac Lowther, second-round pick from Xavier University, who received $779,500 to sign.
And he was involved on third-round pick RHP Michael Baumann, a high schooler from Jacksonville, Fla., given $500,000. Hall, who played for coach Adam Stern, was selected in the second round (60th overall in North America) and signed for a $1.3 US million bonus. He also filled in O’s scouting director Gary Rajsich on Adam Hall (London, Ont.) and his makeup. Baltimore chose Hall in the second round giving him a $1.3 million bonus. He earned the Canadian Baseball Network’s Jim Ridley Memorial Award as scout of the year thereby kicking in an incentive clause.
40. Terry McKaig, director of baseball, UBC (35).
UBC will open its $5 million stadium in March, which sits alongside the training centre, which makes for a $8.9 million complex built almost all donor funded. The Thunderbirds are travelling to Japan in August to play and there will be a return trip in 2019 to Vancouver as part of an international initiative.
UBC is up to giving out $180,000 a year in scholarship money (all donor funded). In its first year in the PBL, the UBC Thunder 16U finished second at the final four. A 14U and 18U team will be added making for three Premier league out of UBC ... as well as a Jay Vee Thunderbirds starting in September. New recruits this year include RHP Garrett Hawkins and INF Ty Penner from Vauxhall Academy, RHP Declan Dutton, North Shore Twins, SS Cameron Sanderson, Great Lakes Canadians, OF Ben Mitchell Toronto Mets and OF Jayden Knight of the Langley Blaze.
41. Chris Mears pitching cross checker, Red Sox (34).
Mears is in charge of scouting amateur pitchers for GM Dave Dombrowksi. And Boston took mounds men with three of their first five selections: grabbing RHP Tanner Houck Missouri in the first round of the 2017 draft (24th over-all) and giving him a $2,614,500 bonus, fourth rounder RHP Jake Thompson of Oregon State given a $350,000 and fifth rounder RHP Alex Scherff a Colleyville (Tex.) Heritage High Schooler.
Houck is No. 3 on Baseball America’s top 10 list and Mike Shawaryn, a fifth rounder in 2016 from Maryland, given $637,500 is No. 8. Before his pitching-only days, Mears scouted No. 1 pick OF Andrew Benintendi, seventh overall in 2015 from the Arkansas Razorbacks, who received a $3.59 million bonus. In 2017, he hit .271 with 20 homers, 90 RBIs and a .776 OPS in 151 games.
42. Doug Melvin, senior advisor, Brewers (36).
Like Pat Gillick, Melvin is a senior advisor type, going back to his scouting roots. Melvin does a lot of assessing of players in Brewers system. The Brewers went from 73 wins in 2016 to 86 games in 2017, a game behind the Colorado Rockies for the second NL wild-card spot.
Melvin was in contention to replace Gord Ash as the Jays GM in 2001 but Toronto management was anti-Melvin, claiming he had not produced enough pitching when he ran the Texas Rangers and that he wanted a $90 million payroll. Instead, he went to the Brewers coming off $43 million team payroll, reaching postseason play twice.
43. David Beeston, Senior VP, Strategic Planning & Senior Counsel, Red Sox (46).
Beeston is one of the two or three closest advisers to President and CEO Sam Kennedy. We’re told by our friends in Boston that there are very few things on the non-baseball side that David doesn’t have his hand in. He does a lot of big-picture thinking in addition to the daily stuff, and is probably the first person Sam turns to for crisis management.
Like his father, Paul, he attended Western University, while his grandfather was wise enough to attend Queen’s University and root-root-root for the Golden Gaels.
44. Fred Wray, agent (37).
Wray settled salary arbitration cases for RHP Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker’s with Anaheim. Richards, who will earn $7.3 million, made two starts coming off injury going 0-2 with a 2.28 ERA in six starts as the Angels opening day starter in 2016 struck out 27 in 27 2/3 innings. Shoemaker will earn $4.125 million after going 6-3 with a 4.52 ERA in 14 starts as he whiffer 69 in 77 2/3 innings.
The former Canadian Junior National team member, Wray (Calgary, Alta.) works for Independent Sports & Entertainment agency, which represents free agent 1B Logan Morrison. He also has Twins C Jason Castro in year two of a three-year, $24.5M million deal and C Mitch Garver, a ninth rounder in 2013 from the University of New Mexico made his debut hitting .196 with a double, three triples, three RBIs and an .636 OPS.
45. Allan Simpson, Canadian Hall of Fame (30).
Already elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Simpson (Kelowna, BC) took over for the late Randy Echlin guiding the selection committee. His 16-man panel elected former Jay RHP Roy Halladay, ex-Montreal Expos slugger Vladimir Guerrero, along with former Baseball Canada president Ray Carter (Nanaimo, BC) and legendary ump Doug Hudlin (Victoria, BC) last June.
Simpson founded Baseball America, was a big part of Perfect Game’s draft coverage and wrote a book entitled Baseball America’s Ultimate Draft Book: The Most Comprehensive Book Ever Published on the Draft: 1965-2016. Inside are the biggest hits and misses in draft history and is an excellent reference book, which generated near-universal acclaim as the best book on the draft ever published. He still works for Perfect Game and is writing a writing a book on the Alaska Goldpanners, probably the most successful summer college team ever, especially when put in the context of operating in Fairbanks, Alaska.
46. Dave McKay, coach, Diamondbacks (39).
When McKay coaches first, as he does for the Diamondbacks, he does more than say “Turn left.” Besides looking after the Diamondbacks outfield he teaches base running. In his fifth season with the Diamondbacks and 34th on a big-league staff, Arizona was fourth in the majors with a 77.4% success rate (103-for-133), behind the Yankees, the Indians and the Nationals. A.J. Pollock had 20 steals, while Paul Goldschmidt had 18, Gregor Blanco 15 and Chris Owings 12.
McKay served on Tony La Russa’s staff for 27 straight seasons (1984-2011), including 16 with the A’s (1989-95) and Cardinals (1996-2011), after beginning coaching career as a player-coach in Oakland system in 1983. La Russa ran the Diamondbacks in 2015-16. McKay coached on three World Series championship clubs: 1989 A’s and 2006 and 2011 Cardinals.
47. Bill Byckowski, scout, Reds (56).
There was a time when Byckowski (Georgetown, Ont.) covered Canada for the Jays. His coverage and his responsibilities grew as he joined former Jays scouting director Chris Buckley with the Reds. Besides grabbing some of top Canucks: Miles Gordon (Oakville, Ont.), Bruce Yari (Waterloo, Ont.) and Alex Webb (Surrey, BC), he played a big role at crunch time -- both in the field and in the Reds war room -- when it came time to sign the draft choices to big-ticket signing bonuses.
He was in on Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect 3B Nick Senzel (chosen second overall from Tennessee in 2016, $6.2 million signing bonus), No. 2 RHP Hunter Greene (Sherman Oaks, Calif. HSer drafted 2nd overall last June, $7,230,000); No. 3. OF Taylor Trammell (Kennesaw, Ga. first round, 35th overall, $3.2 million), No. 5. OF Jesse Winker (Orlando HSer, chosen 49th overall, $1 million) and No. 10. C Tyler Stephenson (11th overall in 2015 from Kennesaw $3,141,60.
Bykowski was also in on the likes of SS Jeter Downs (a Miami Gardens, Fla. compensation pick, $1,822,500 million bonus), OF Stuart Fairchild (second rounder in 2017, Wake Forest $1,800,300), Chris Okey (second rounder from Clemson in 2016, $2 million), RHP Jimmy Herget (sixth round in 2015, South Florida, $276,600), RHP Ben Lively (fourth round, 2013 from University of Central Florida, $350,000), now with the Phillies. This month he was named one of the top 100 players in the 100-year history of the Intercounty League.
48. Cal and Paul Quantrill, Padres, Blue Jays (59).
Cal, who turns 23 next month, was ranked No. 52 on Baseball America’s list of top 2017 minor-league prospects. He is listed No. 52 on Baseball America’s top 100. Meanwhile, James E. Clark, of the East Village Times, which covers the Padres from A-to-Z, has Quantrill ranked as San Diego’s third best prospect. Quantrill split time at double-A San Antonio and class-A Lake Elisnore going 7-10 with a 3.80 ERA. In 116 innings he walked 40 and struck out 110. Quantrill pitched for the Ontario Terriers and coach Scott VandeValk and then was given a $3,963,045 million bonus.
Paul, 49, a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys whose name has been placed on the Baseball Canada Wall of Excellence, is a special assistant. Like Pat Hentgen, Quantrill works with minor leaguers and is consulted regularly. He also was his son’s pitching coach with the Terriers.
49. Gord Ash, VP baseball project, Brewers (43).
This season was almost like 1995 or 2001 inside the Rogers Centre. Living in Toronto now, Ash was a regular in the press box, scouting games more so than some current Jays executives. This year Ash worked mostly on developing a new Brewers academy in the Dominican. It will be located north east of the Santo Domingo airport, near a small town called Guerra. Manuel Vargas, one of the best young baseball executives in the Dominican, is the complex administrator. The new site will open in early 2020.
Ash is also part of TSN’s team of analysts and was excellent commenting during the Roy Halladay tragedy. It was manager Buck Martinez, pitching coach Mark Connor and Ash who decided after a bad spring to send Halladay all the way back to Dunedin. He also represented the Brewers in studio at the draft calling the names of OF Tristen Lutz a high schooler from Arlington, Tex. given a $2,352,000 signing bonus and second-round pick RHP Caden Lemons of Vestavia Hills (Ala.) signed for $1,450,000.
50. Jamie Lehman, West Coast cross checker, Jays (55).
The Blue Jays promoted Lehhman (Brampton, Ont.) from scouting Canada and New York state for the last year to a cross checker in fertile California. Besides California, he is in charge of 13 states supervising six area scouts covering Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Arkansas and Hawaii.
Last year, he drafted and signed Tanner Kirwer (Sherwood Park, Alta.) for $40,000 in the 20th round. Later he chose speedy OF Cooper Davis (Mississauga, Ont.), who was not going to bail on a Vanderbilt scholarship when selected in the 25th round. So, Lehman gets the bump for his promotion after being in charge of Canada for eight years.
The Jays ranked 11th when you add six-figure signing bonuses handed out to Canadians since 1991. The Pittsburgh Pirates are No. 1 handing out $6,905,000 to the likes of Jameson Taillon, Austin Shields, Eric Wood and Tom Boleska. Next come the Mariners ($5,557,500), Padres ($5,327,045), Orioles ($5,291,800), Braves ($3,787,700), Brewers, Twins ($3,10,6500), Reds ($3,076,000), Marlins ($2,652,000), Cubs ($2,315,900) and the Blue Jays ($2,202,500). Tough to blame Bobby Prentice, Bill Byckowksi, Kevin Briand or Lehman when they do not have final say. The cross checkers from south of the border do.
51. Tyler O’Neill, Cards prospect (50).
When people ask “Who is the next Canadian to make an impact in the majors among Canadian hitters?” my answer is always O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC). He won the Honourable Mr. Justice Randall Echlin Memorial Award as the Canadian Baseball Network’s minor league hitter of the year for a third straight year. Although this year he shared honours with Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero (Montreal, Que.).
Mariners’ Jerry DiPoto made a rare deal sending O’Neill to the Cards for former No. 1 pick (19th over-all) from Gonzaga, Marco Gonzales, in the 2013. With triple-A Tacoma and Memphis, he hit .246 with 26 doubles, three triples, 31 homers, 95 RBIs and an .820 OPS. He spent the first 93 games with Tacoma and then was re-united him with manager Stubby Clapp (Windsor, Ont.), who coached third on the Pan Am team. The Cards have dealt three OFs this offseason: Randal Grichuk to the Jays, Magneuris Sierra to Miami and Stephen Piscotty to Oakland.
52. Dr. Jason Smith, Blue Jays physician (42).
Doesn’t matter whether it is C Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) or SS Troy Tulowitzki, who each earned $20 million in 2017 or a minor bantam pitcher, the good doctor has time for both. Sometimes back to back. He has stepped into Dr. Ron Taylor’s shoes. From tending to players at the Rogers Centre, to seeing grade 11 students or college players who need an assessment in a hurry, Dr. Smith (Calgary, Alta.) gets them on the road back.
He was a fourth-round pick of the Calgary Flames in 1993, from Princeton where he played 103 games in four years. He played 25 games for the Saint John Flames during the 1996-97 AHL season before concussions ended his career. He trained under Dr. James Andrews and learned how to perform Tommy John elbow surgery. Smith is part of the Jays medical team with Drs. John Theodoropoulos, Irv Feferman, Noah Forman, Allan Gross, Steven Mirabello, Glenn Copeland, James Fischer, Pat Graham, Mark Scappaticci, Mike Prebeg, Ted Farrar, Bernie Gosevitz and Dr. Ron Taylor: physician emeritus.
53. Jake Kerr and Jeff Mooney, co-owners Vancouver Canadians (43).
They didn’t have a highlight year like when they took turns zinging Edward Rogers and defending Paul Beeston, hanging to the president title by his finger nails, when the Jays winter caravan came to town in 2016. The Canadians drew 229,527 fans in 38 home dates at Nat Bailey Stadium for an average of 6,303 -- up from 6,117 in 2016 to lead the class-A Northwest loop. The Spokane Indians were second with an average of 5,315.
The Canadians received the Ballpark Digest Continued Excellence Award, winning a fourth NWL title and setting an attendance record. Kerr (Vancouver, BC) co-owns the team with A&W’s Mooney (Regina, Sask.) who grew up in Winnipeg as a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan. No matter whether the Bombers or the Riders won, one faction teased him. They are with the Jays for four more years.
54. Shiraz Rehman, assistant GM, Cubs (41).
Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell and Kris Bryant received their 2016 World Series rings on April 10 before the home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rehman received his about the same time. Born on Montreal’s West Island and raised in New York, he provides statistical information to support trade and player evaluation, as well as aiding in salary arbitration and managing research.
While the Cubs fell short in 2017, his McGill University Redman won their fourth consecutive Canadian Collegiate Baseball Association championship, beating Carleton 10-1 at Fredericton. A starting infielder for four years and captain for two he wrote the troops a letter to be read before the final game. After McGill with a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting, he earned an MBA from Columbia Business School. He was an intern with the Red Sox, joined the Diamondbacks and moved to the Cubs after the 2011 season.
55. Justin Morneau, special assistant, Twins (48).
Morneau bounced out to SS Brandon Crawford for the final out of the WBC, as Team USA blanked Canada 8-0 before 22,303 fans at Marlins Park in Miami in March of 2017. Who knew it would be the final at-bat of his career. He made his major-league debut with the Twins June 10, 2003 against the Rockies. Walker sent a bat over to the Twins clubhouse, and inscribed it, “Welcome to the show, make Canada proud.”
Morneau did that. An MVP, a four-time all-star and winner of the most memorable home derby ever at Yankee Stadium, Morneau saw his career cut short due to a fluke play at second base. He made a routine slide into second like he had done 1,000s of time. Jays shortstop John McDonald leapt in the air and threw to first. But his knee accidently clipped Morneau giving him a concussion. Morneau will serve as one of the in-studio replacements for Gregg Zaun on Sportsnet, even though he has accepted a job as a special assistant with Minnesota. He joins former Twins Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins.
56. Blake Corosky, True Gravity, agent (62).
How many Toronto agents have represented a first rounder? Well, Crosky has. He looked after Kentucky 1B Evan White of Gahanna, Ohio. Selected 17th overall in 2017, White was given a $3.25 million bonus by the Mariners. The largest bonus for a Corosky client before White? INF Chris Bisson (Ottawa, Ont.) of the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians, a fourth rounder drafted by the Padres in 2011 who was given $235,000.
True Gravity also looks after Drew Steckenrider of Atlanta, drafted by the Marlins in the eighth round in 2010 from Tennessee, who pitched in 37 games for the Marlins; Kyle McGrath, of Louisville, a 36th rounder 2014, who pitched 17 games with the Padres; Lousiville’s Chris Smith, who pitched in four games with the Jays and is headed to big-league camp with the Nationals. He worked out a deal so LHP Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.) could join the Orix Blue Wave, LHP Evan Grills (Whitby, Ont.) in the Rockies system; Conor Lillis-White (Etobicoke, Ont.) who went to Arizona Fall League with the Angels and TV’s Sid Seixeiro.
Corosky’s stable has come a long way since his first client INF David Detienne (Halifax, NS), who played seven years in the Dodgers system, after being selected in the 25th round in 2001.
57. Mike McRae, assistant coach, Virginia Commonwealth (40).
McRae had plenty of offers -- from the Toronto Blue Jays, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Longwood and Army at West Point -- to leave Canisius over the years. After the 2017 season, he left for VCU. McRae spent 14 seasons as head coach of the Golden Griffins, compiling a record of 440-358 in his 14 seasons at Canisius, including a 333-222 in the last eight seasons that includes three MAAC regular-season titles.
While the Canadian coaching legend is in another state, players he recruited remain on campus. Ten in all, including: C Nick Capitano (Bolton, Ont.), OF Cyrus Senior (Montreal, Que.), LHP JP Stevenson (New Glasgow, PEI), 3B Liam Wilson (Ayr, Ont.), OF Canice Ejoh (Toronto, Ont.), LHP Jared Kennedy (Calgary, Alta.), INF Conner Morro (Cheltenham, Ont.), RHP Carson Perkins (Bienfait, Sask.), INF Jacob Martins (Richmond Hill, Ont.) and OF Michael Ssemanda (Hamilton, Ont.).
58. Shi Davidi, Sportsnet (93).
It is not easy writing about a team your employers own. Friends have told me it is not so much censorship from the ivory tower, but self-censorship, part of human nature. Davidi does an excellent job hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway. After the Jays lost Edwin Encarnacion with their take-it, or leave-it approach, he pointed out how the Dodgers allowed free agents Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Rich Hill to waltz into free agency wonderland and all returned. Jansen (five-year, $80 million), Turner (four years for $64 million) and Hill (three-year, $48 million) all returned. He asked why did the Jays not take that approach.
As well as writing for Sportsnet, he does TV hits. He has worked for Sportsnet since 2011 after 10 years working for Canadian Press, where his game stories were read by more writers than anyone else. He manages in his free time to teach journalism at Centennial College.
59. Tom Tango, MLB Advanced Media, MLB (65)
You might have noticed Statcast, brought to you by Amazon Web Services on MLB.Network. Well, the man who created metrics like barrels, catch probability, exit velocity (speed off the bat) and sprint speed to describe player performance is Canadian. He uses a nom de plume rather than his real name and is known as TangoTiger on-line. The Jays’ leader in barrels -- the ideal combination of exit velocity (95 mph or harder) -- last year was Justin Smoak with 59, sixth highest barrel total in 2017. Josh Donaldson and Kendrys Morales were for second on the Jays with 43 each.
Jose Bautista actually made the only five-star catch of any Jays player, while Kevin Pillar led with four, four-star plays. Pillar was the sixth-best fielder at +15 outs above average in 2016, but last year was -2 OAA, while the Jays as an outfield unit ranked as worst at -22 OAA in 2017. Overall exit velocity includes all types of contact and of the 11 Jays with 200 balls in play, Kendry Morales had 46.3% hard-hit rate, ranked 12th-best. Richard Urena had the best sprint speed of 28.6 feet per second. Urena, Pilar, Ezequiel Carrera, Michael Saunders, Devon Travis, and Darwin Barney came in above league average in sprint speed in 2017.
60. Freddie Freeman, Braves (-).
There were few moments to remember from the WBC -- besides RHP Nick Pivetta (Victoria, BC) on the mound -- than the arrival of Freeman. Earlier attempts were made by the Freeman camp to join Team Canada, but with former MVPs Joey Votto and Justin Morneau there was not any room at the inn until last March. After “O Canada” was played before an exhibition game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin Freeman looked to the skies.
Freeman wanted to play in memory of his late mother Rosemary, who was born in Oshawa, grew up in Peterborough and then her family moved to Windsor, which is where his father was born. Freeeman was born in Fountain Valley, Calif. WBC eligibility rules allow players to play for countries of their parent’s birth. Freeman’s father, also named Fred, was born in Windsor. Rosemary passed away when he was 10 years old of melanoma skin cancer. Freeman said he had extra motivation, “Because I know she’s up there watching and I want to make her proud.”
61. Adnan Virk, Baseball Tonight, ESPN (51).
No one working south of the border lets viewer know where he’s from more than Virk. He lets everyone know he’s from Canada, just as Harold Reynolds (Seattle Mariners, Oregon State) and Chris Rose (Cleveland) tells people who they rooting for ... with Virk it is Canada. Although watch out if anyone who attended Ernestown Secondary School (outside Kingston, Ont.) and played for the Eagles shows up.
Am unsure what Virk’s nickname is but an acquaintance at ESPN told me once it could be “Johnny One Take.” There is seldom if ever the need to try it again. He has often been a guest host on Mike & Mike. After attending Ryerson, he worked for 12 years in Toronto (The Score, Sportscentre at TSN, Bollywood Boulevard, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment) before heading to Bristol, Conn. in 2010. He also had a podcast called Cinephile: The Adnan Virk Movie Podcast.
62. Phil Lind, Vice Chairman, Rogers Communications (58).
He may get extra points because every time I see him it is like looking at my father (except Phil has more hair). But Lind is a behind the scenes rainmaker going back to the days of Ted Rogers when Bringer of Rain Josh Donaldson was at Auburn. The man has put out more enough brush fires to be a volunteer fireman in California.
He convinced the late Ted Rogers to purchase the Jays, obtained the broadcasting license from the CRTC for the MLB Network and still has power on The Campus. And to answer a question I am asked often: “No, Phil Lind is not Adam Lind’s father.”
63. Josh and Noah Naylor, Padres, Ontario Blue Jays (67).
Josh has a future. The Padres first base prospect singled in the first run for the World team in its 7-6 loss to the U.S. in the Futures Game in Miami. The left-handed-hitting Naylor is a combined 3-for-4 with two RBIs in Futures Game after appearing in the 2016 game at Petco Park in San Diego. James E. Clark, of the East Village Times, who covers the Padres, has him ranked San Diego’s ninth best prospect. At the Arizona League Fall Stars game, he tripled to open the second showing an exit velocity of 107.5 mph, reaching a top sprint speed of 27.7 feet/second going home to third in 12.7 seconds.
Noah has a future. Like his brother was, he is with the Ontario Blue Jays and while Josh went 12th overall, Noah is projected to be a first rounder, either behind the plate or at third base. He is more athletic than his brother, but does not have the same power. He is 22nd on Baseball America’s top 100 High school list, 2017), 47th on MLB Pipeline top 50 combined list of high schoolers and collegians and 48th on Perfect Game’s top 150 combined list.
64. Scott Thorman, manager, Lexington (69).
Thorman, is entering his second year as manager at Lexington, after managing at Rookie-class Burlington from 2015–16. OF Khalil Lee, rated the No. 2 prospect in the Royals system by Baseball America, played for Lexington last year and hit .237 with 24 doubles, six triples, 17 homers, 61 RBIs and a .774 OPS in 121 games. In his first three seasons Thorman’s teams have a combined 135-138 record.
Thorman was a former No. 1 pick of the Braves in 2000, was signed by Dayton Moore, now the Royals GM and his bench coach is former Brave INF Glenn Hubbard. You know how far this young man has come and what is reputation is when you are the winter meetings in Orlando in December and Hall of Famer George Brett walks up and asks, “So, heard from my buddy Scotty Thorman lately? What a great kid!”
65. Jacques Doucet, broadcaster (57).
Used to be each year through fan voting the top 10 announcers would be picked. Doucet always did well when it came clicks on Facebook. Then, former Ford C. Frick winners would vote for a winner (like Tom Cheek in 2012). In 2016 a change in the rules saw a new election cycle established, The National Voices Era (broadcasters whose contributions were realized on a national level) saw Bob Costas elected and he will be honoured in July.
Frick voting was split into three groups: Broadcasting Beginnings (early team voices and pioneers of broadcasting) and Current Major League Markets in 2017. with the 2019 Frick Award. Doucet was categorized among Current Markets (team-specific announcers) group, which has its next turn in the rotation in 2020. He was a finalist on the 2017 ballot. The Expos French-language broadcaster from 1972-2004, worked 81 Jays games in 2017.
66. Tristan Pompey, Kentucky outfielder (-).
Could Pompey, one of the best hitters in the best college loops last year, go in the first round? As J.P. Ricciardi said at draft time: take the best hitter (Aaron Hill) from the best league (SEC). He was ranked 14th on Baseball America’s top 100 college prospects in December and 29th on MLB Pipline’s top 50.
Pompey hit .361 with 18 doubles, 10 homers, 45 RBIs, 1.005 OPS, 9-for-13 stealing bases ... Led the Southeastern Conference with a .410 batting average, while also tallying the most hits and finishing in the top three in runs, on-base percentage, and total bases. He now ranks third on UK’s single-season hits list with 96, third in runs with 70 and fifth in walks with 46.
67. Joe Natale, President and CEO Rogers Communications (-).
Departed Guy Lawrence’s plane had not been at the Heathrow gate for long and the Globe & Mail had accurately predicted that Natale, late of Telus Communications, would be next. And the Globe’s next step was that the Blue Jays might be soon be for sale. Bell Media owns 28% interest in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which includes the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Argos, Toronto FC as well as farm teams, while Rogers owns 37.5%.
The Telus business model does not include owning sports franchises or media assets, although Edmonton is home to Telus Field. Experts say Natale’s devotion to customer, and customer service has been a success, showing in wireless growth. It has been said Natale has a perceived willingness to shift focus from areas like Vice and the Jays, given his background at Telus.
68. Murray Cook, scout, Tigers (60).
One spring, we were behind home plate an hour before Greg Hamilton’s Canadian Junior National Team was getting ready to play a team from Puerto Rico in St. Pete’s. As first pitch neared Cook shook hands and said his farewell and good byes, which I thought was real strange. Why come to the game if you are only going to watch pregame infield/outfield. About seven innings later I headed down the left field line to go to the washroom. There on a scorching day seated under a tree -- the only shade from which you could see the diamond -- was Cook, when other scouts had bolted to their next game.
The Tigers drafted two Canucks last June: former Oakville Royals’ RHP Kyle Thomas (Alliston, Ont.), who signed and Rhys Cratty (Surrey, BC) who went to school. Cook had something to do with the class-A West Michigan Whitecaps opening the season with three Canucks in the starting lineup: OF Jacob Robson (Windsor, Ont.) from Mississippi State an eighth rounder, SS Daniel Pinero (Toronto, Ont.) from Virginia a round later in 2016, plus Cole Bauml (Humboldt, Sask), in the 10th in 2015. Cook was at the Tigers draft table at MLB Network headquarters in Secaucus, N.J.
69. Greg Brons, Going Yard facility (-).
In 2011, Saskatchewan Sport initiated a high performance planning initiative as Dr. Peter Davis pushed Brons to come up with a comprehensive plan. Players did not have the daily training environment of Alberta academies like Vauxhall or Okotoks. So academies were established: Brons runs Going Yard in Saskatoon, while Rob Cherepuschak and Justin Eiswirth run the Martin Academy in Regina. Danny Demchenko fronted the money behind Going Yard indoor centre. Kids can see Andrew Albers throow a bullpen or Cole Bauml, at class-A West Michigan take batting practice.
In the future Saskatoon will have a 90,000 square foot baseball/softball facility at Gordie Howe Complex that will rival Okotoks. Jesse Renneberg expanded to fall ball in Saskatoon, which includes a November trip to Phoenix. In the past four years Team Saskatchewan has been in a medal game - fourth place in 2014, silver in 2015, and gold in 2016 and 2017. The peewee and bantam teams are provincial teams. Former college players Nolan Bracken and Chris Untereiner coach along with James Avery, a former minor leaguer, who pitched in the Olympics in Beijing.
70. Charles Bronfman, former Expo owner ().
The reason you are able to watch Your Blue Jays is because Bronfman was an initial success with the Montreal Expos at Jarry Park and then Olympic Stadium. One of Canada’s most accomplished businessman and philanthropists, he flew in from New York to speak at a luncheon for Sarnia-Lambton Business Week in October at the Best Western Guildwood Inn. He was heir to the Seagram empire and was majority owner of the Montreal Expos.
He spoke with Howard Green, co-author of Bronfman’s memoir Distilled: A Memoir of Family, Seagram, Baseball and Philanthropy. Bronfman discussed his time at Seagram’s – including the $35-billion sale of Seagram’s to Viviendi and pro sports, as well as passion for supporting charitable organizations such as Historica Canada and Birthright Israel. Now if he ever decided to change his mind and get back into baseball ...
71. Hazel Mae, Sportsnet (-).
Mae was in demand this postseason. Besides covering the New York Yankees-Cleveland Indians ALCS series for Sportsnet, TBS asked her bosses if she could do double duty. Sportsnet gave the OK to work for TBS, and in return, TBS allowed her to do Sportsnet hits in between her TBS duties. So, Mae had two different camera guys, two different mics and switched back and forth. Not once did she throw back to the wrong studio.
Her 1-on-1 sit downs were must-see TV: Jose Bautista after he re-signed, Edwin Encarnacion before his first game at Roger Centre, and, we believe. Marcus Stroman’s only media sit down of the season. Stroman was upset because he thought he was being misrepresented by the media. Sportsnet’s Gregg Zaun had said Stroman was too short to be a starter.
72. Charlie Wilson, director, minor league operations, Blue Jays (54).
It really does not matter what minor-league outpost you mention. It could be Buffalo, Manchester, NH, Dunedin, Lansing, Mich. Bluefield, WV or Vancouver. If Wilson walks into any of the front offices or club houses it is like Pat Gillick or Robbie Alomar waltzed into the park on a surprise visit. I’ve seen it before (in all but Bluefield, but have met the owners at the Rogers Centre and they rave about the minor-league administrator.)
And why not? You would have to go back to the old combination in the 1990s of Syracuse-Knoxville-Dunedin-Hagerstown-St. Catharines-Medicine Hat to find a time when the Jays had a better relationship with their minor-league system. They own Dunedin and used to own St. Catharines. The Braves are the only club which owns the majority of their affiliates going back to executive Paul Snyder’s days. The reasoning? “Zero complaints when we promote someone,” Snyder used to say. Wilson is a former Howard Starkman Award winner which goes to the employee who “best exemplifies the values of integrity, innovation, accountability, team work and a passion for winning.”
73. Claude Pelletier, scout, Mets. (86)
The Mets drafted and signed one Canadian in the June draft: OF Raphael Gladu (Trois-Rivieres, Que.) in the 16th round from Louisiana Tech University, who was given a $10,000 bonus. We doubt Pelletier was in Louisiana much to see Gladu play, but he had probably seen the player since he was 14. He knows his province. Gladu hit .269, with two homers and 14 RBIs at Rookie class Kingsport Mets. LHP Kurtis Horne (Sooke, BC) is also in the Mets system.
Former Jays scout Marc Tramuta, now the Mets scouting director, sends out a mass email every January to his staff. In the email is a link to the annual Canadian Baseball Network’s Top 100 Influential Canadians in Baseball. Last year was the first we’d heard of it. Tramuta instructs his troops: “We need to get some Canadians to move Claude Pelletier higher on the top 100 list.” He also represented the club at the draft.
74. William Humber, historian (78).
Bill Phillips (St. John, NB) of the 1879 Cleveland Blues was the first Canadian major leaguer. Or so we read. Then it was discovered that Edward (The Only) Nolan (Pownal, PEI) was the top man the year before with the Indianapolis Blues. Then Tom Smith (Guelph, Ont.) of the Brooklyn Athletics had the top spot. Well, we now know that Bob Addy (Port Hope, Ont) of the 1871 Rockford Forest Citys was The first. How do we know? Because Humber (Bowmanville, Ont.) tells us so. Why the inconsistency before? Well, records were poorly kept in those days. Sometimes a city of residence was mistaken for a place of birth and we’re told the clubs did not want jobs going to non-Americans.
Humber is writing a book, his 12th, on Addy, who played six years, two with the Philadelphia Whites, Boston Red Stockings, Hartford Dark Blues, Chicago White Stockings and Cincinnati Reds. He also managed the Whites and later the Reds. The director of Eco Seneca Initiatives at Seneca College holds a spring training for fans class, his 40th annual, his last. He should be booked as the first guest next January for he is a captivating speaker and people will get the chance to hear him when this summer in St. Marys when he is the sole Canadian inducted into St. Marys.
75. Scott Moore, president, Sportsnet, (64).
The reason you had the chance to watch goings on from the winter meetings in Orlando was because Moore sent the Sportsnet team south. Moore’s travelling squad _ Shi Davidi, Hazel Mae, Ben Nicholson-Smith, Jamie Campbell, Mike Wilner and Jeff Blair _ to give daily coverage. Sportsnet did skip covering some September trips with the team out of the race.
Moore has been president of Sportsnet for Rogers Media Inc. since January 2014 and not once has a Rogers executive walked into the dugout during the game like what transpired during the John Farrell Era in the midst of a lopsided loss to the Red Sox. “John, how is it going?” A coach said Farrell replied “Not so good, we’re getting stomped 7-1. You know there is a game going on, right?” Another coach recalled saying about the Rogers official “talk about a lack of court awareness.”
76. Adam Stern, Great Lake Canadians (77).
The top high school position player last June came from Stern’s program. INF Adam Hall (London, Ont.) was chosen in the second round (60th overall) by the Baltimore Orioles, who gave him a $1.3 million signing bonus. And the top high school pitcher this June is likely to be RHP Eric Cerantola (Oakville, Ont.) of the Great Lake Canadians. He has committed to Mississippi State. INF Kyle Maves (Burlington, Ont.) is off to Quinnipiac University, while C-INF Owen Diodati (Niagara Falls, Ont.) has signed to attend Xavier, OF Matt Jenkins (Toronto, Ont.) to Harvard and INF Brian Zapp (Waterloo, Ont.) to Miami-Ohio.
Canadians graduate OF Miles Gordon (Oakville, Ont.) hit .319, with eight homers and 37 RBIs for Rookie Class Billings Mustangs in the Reds system. Hall injured an oblique muscle after only two games with the Rookie Class Gulf Coast Orioles.
77. Alex Agostino, scout, Phillies (68).
His 17th round pick from 2011, Jesen Dygestile-Therrien (Cap-Rouge, Que.) sailed through the Phillies minor-league system (2-1, 1.41 ERA in 39 games, nine walks, 65 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings at double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley) to the majors. But with the Phillies he allowed 31 base runners in 18 1/3 innings finishing with an 8.35 ERA. He became a free agent and quickly signed with the Dodgers.
LHP Nick Fanti, a 31st rounder in 2015 draft from Smithtown threw two no-hitters for class-A Lakewood and was also a South Atlantic League all star starter, while 6-foot-10 LHP Kyle Young, a 22-round from Oyster Bay, NY in 2016 draft had an all-star year for manager Pat Borders at class-A Williamsport. Young was 7-2 with a 2.77 ERA in 13 starts striking out 72 and walking 15 in 65 innings. And in 2017 he drafted 33th rounder 6-foot-6 RHP Ben Brown. OF Ben Pelletier (Varennes Que.), drafted by Agostino, led the organization in batting average hitting .333 season for Rookie Class Gulf Coast Phillies and shared honours as top Canuck with A’s Jake Lumley (Windsor, Ont.) Rookie Class AZL A’s.
RHP Nick Pivetta (Victoria, BC) had his first year in the majors making 26 starts, going 8-10, with a 6.02 ERA, walking 57 and fanning 140 in 133 innings. The former boss of Baseball Quebec was smiling as a Quebec player -- OF Christopher Acosta-Tapia (Laval, Que.) earned Canadian Baseball Network College Player of the Year honours. OF Jonathan Lacroix (Montreal, Que.) Seminole State Trojans and Acosta-Tapia also earned First Team all-Canadian college honors. And IF Edouard Julien (Quebec City, Que.) went to Auburn.
78. Rick Johnston, coach, Ontario Terriers (-).
A while back at a clinic/coaches convention in Langley, BC, I walked into the second hospitality room to see former Dodgers great Reggie Smith put his arm around Johnston and say, “Any time you want to come to my place and teach hitting for a couple of weeks, you have a standing invitation, you know your stuff.” I looked around as all the California High School and US College coaches in the room waiting for the same invite (“and you too.”) ... which never came.
Edwin Encarnacion filmed a segment for his charity on a fundraising day at The Baseball Zone. Ryan Armstrong and Johnston worked with the young players. As he left Encarnacion said “You guys should come to the Dominican Republic and open a place like this.” Devon White brought in a young player recently to work with Johnston, a coach with the Canadian Junior National Team, where he had starred himself as a young un. Co-owners Nicole and Mike Tevlin picked up the tab last for Greg O’Halloran’s 16U Terriers team. This month he was named one of the top 100 players in the 100-year history of the Intercounty League.
79. Jason Dickson, president, Baseball Canada (71).
Dickson (Miramichi, NB) reached the top as a pitcher, going from the 1991 gold-medal winning Canuck team at the World Juniors to pitching four seasons with the Angels, gaining an all-star berth and pitching for Canada at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Dickson became the 11th president in Baseball Canada’s 53-year history taking over for Ray Carter. Dickson had a busy first year attending the WBC in Miami, Canada Games in Winnipeg, U-18 WC in Thunder Bay and the WBSC Annual Meeting in Botswana. Director general Jim Baba was also in Botswana.
80. Dr. Marc Philippon, M.D. (70).
Philippon is one of the world’s leading orthopedic surgeons, after earning his medical degree on an academic scholarship from McMaster in Hamilton. He is a partner at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Col. As well his efforts go into the Steadman Philippon Research Clinic. A soccer and tennis player at the NCAA level, he completed his residency at the University of Miami at Jackson Memorial and worked in Fort Lauderdale.
Philippon joined The Steadman Clinic in 2005 from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he served as director of sports medicine/hip disorders, director of sports medicine/hip disorders fellowship. He has treated over 1,000 athletes including the Colorado Avalanche’s Semyon Varlamov, Denver Broncos centre Matt Paradis, Greg Norman, Mario Lemieux, Alex Rodriguez, Ed Reed, Kurt Warner, Carlos Delgado, LaMarcus Aldridge, Milos Raonic and Sue Bird.
81. Mark Ditmars: VP, corporate partnerships, Jays (-).
There are two schools of thought on whether wins matter for starting pitchers. Well, one thing the clubhouse attendant to the man atop the ivory tower will agree upon: revenue matters. In three years on the job Ditmars have roughly tripled the Jays revenue in corporate partnerships.
A graduate of the University of Windsor, Ditmars previously worked at EMI Music Canada and Labatt Breweries of Canada before joining the Jays. With the team, Ditmars has been tasked with the challenging, yet exciting role of overseeing every one of the team’s corporate partnerships all the way through from idea creation to execution. As they say in the board rooms he “brings a lot to the table.”
82. Les McTavish coach, Vauxhall Academy (82).
The Vauxhall Jets program produced LHP J.P. Stevenson (New Glasgow, PEI) of the Canisius Golden Griffs, elected to the Canadian Baseball Network’s All-Canadian 2017 First Team, while SS Nolan Rattai (Medicine Hat, Alta.) of the Midland Chaparrals earned Second Team honours. Other players McTavish coached in school last season: Nolan Bumstead (Calgary, Alta.) Cal State Northridge, who earned student athlete of the year, LHP Ben Onyshko (Winnipeg, Man.) and INF-OF Chris Thibideau( Dartmouth, N.S.) North Florida.
And on the way are LHP Wesley Moore (Surrey, BC) C Victor Cerny (Winnipeg) and INF-OF Damiano Palmegiani (Surrey, BC) and LHP Adam Macko (Stony Plain, Alta.) who is headed to Purdue. McTavish also scouts for the Mariners.
83. Shawn Travers, coach, Ontario Blue Jays (79).
Travers did not have the top high school player from Canada last June. However, his organization will likely have the top high schooler Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) following in the footsteps of his brother Josh. Travers spoke at the 74th annual American Baseball Coaches Association convention in Indianapolis which drew more than 6,000 coaches. His moved to the middle of the Expo Stage in the exhibit area to speak on his topic was “Developing middle infielders.”
Cooper Davis (Mississauga, Ont.) was drafted in the 25th round by the Toronto Blue Jays electing to attend Vanderbilt. RHP Zach Pop (Brampton, Ont.) was the third Canuck pick chosen over-all in the seventh by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who gave him a $147,500 bonus. Besides Travers, other coaches in the 10-team organization include Mike Siena, Joe Ellison, Kyle DeGrace, Dino Roumel and Mike Steed, whose 17U team won the V Tool 412 Series Tournament in Fayetteville, Ark. and Tulsa, OK. The 16U team lost in the semi-finals at the Mickey Mantle World Series in Connecticut.
84. Denny Berni, coach, Pro Teach (95).
Etobicoke Rangers grad Connor Lillis-White (Toronto, Ont.), a California Angels draftee was one of a handful of Canadians to be invited to the Arizona Fall League. The 6-foot-4 lefty spent last season between double-A Mobile and class-A Inland Empire. He was 5-4 with a 3.90 ERA in 39 games, all but one outing a bullpen appearance. He walked 37 and fanned 81 in 67 innings at the two stops. 3B Nicholas Follett earned All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Honorable Mention after hitting .293 with 10 doubles, 17 RBIs and a .734 OPS in 40 games for the College of Desert Roadrunners, Cameron Dyck (Oakville, Ont.) signed to attend Niagara University; Cameron Deasy to Minot State, Brian McKenna College of the Desert. Chris Wysloblocki was clocked in the 90s at Okanagan College.
Berni runs a busy indoor facility in Etobicoke, which has students from Hollycrest Middle School there week days. It’s the same facility Joey Votto spent hours and hours hitting as a teenager and the same holds true in the off season. When not instructing Berni coaches the Rangers 18U and helps out with other Rangers teams. In his spare time runs the Humber College Hawks.
85. Adam Stephens and Scott Crawford, Canadian Hall of Fame (92).
When St. Marys council voted to reject a request for a funding scenario aimed at constructing a new facility to replace the current museum a year ago the future did not look good for the St. Marys nine that day. Stephens (Stratford, Ont.) chairman of the board and Crawford (Georgetown, Ont.), director of operations, took the setback in stride. They moved forward with expansion which should be completed by March.
Marklevitz Architects Inc. (Stratford, Ont.), BaAM Productions (Toronto, Ont.) and Elgin Contracting & Restoration Ltd. (Thomas, Ont.) are developing a 2,500-square-foot expansion and renovation to the inside of the existing structure. This project is made possible by a number of generous private donations and funding through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program. The project will create a secure archive facility and resource library for the Hall’s extensive collection of over 6,000 books and magazines and more than 10,000 artifacts and papers.
86. Matt Higginson, scout, A’s (84).
We’re not sure if there were champagne corks popped in the fourth inning of a Dodgers romp over the Pirates on May 8, but no one would blame Higginson (Oakville, Ont.) if he did. Christopher Bostick made his maajor-league debut in left field and struck out the next inning facing Alex Wood. It was the first player Higginson signed to reach the majors after he drafted him from a Rochester (NY) high school in the 44th round in 2011. Bostick was hitless in four at-bats in May, but batted .348 as a September call up. He was part of a four-player deal to the Rangers in 2013, then to the Nationals and on to the Pirates.
Last June, Higginson drafted 2B Jake Lumley (Windsor, Ont.) from Canisius in the 33rd round. Lumley hit .333 with 25 RBIs for the Rookie Class Arizona League A’s. His earlier sign, OF Brett Siddall -- 13th rounder from Canisius in 2015 -- batted .300, with 21 homers and 68 RBIs at single A Stockton. Also his RHP Lou Trivino, an 11th rounder from Slippery Rock split the season between triple-A Nashville and double-A Midland (8-3, 3.03, 65 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings).
87. Ryan McBride, director of baseball, Toronto Mets (88).
Few, if any, coaches saw their players fare as well in college as McBride, as the former Toronto Mets boss saw J.D. Osborne (Whitby, Ont.) of the Tampa Spartans and Tristan Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) Kentucky Wildcats earned spots on the Canadian Baseball Network all-Canadian college First Team honours, while Adam Jafine (Toronto, Ont.) Charleston Golden Eagles and Midland’s Eric Senior (Toronto, Ont.) gained spots on the second team. Osborne hit .387, slugging 20 home runs while driving in 86 runs. He also led the team with 19 doubles and ranked second among all Spartans with 66 runs and 86 hits. Pompey had 18 doubles, 10 homers, 45 RBIs, 1.005 OPS, 9-for-13 stealing bases, leading the SEC with a .410 average in league games, while tallying the most hits and finishing in the top three in runs, on-base percentage, and total bases. Jafine racked up eight wins and was tied for second in the Mountain East Conference in innings pitched (83 1/3 innings, was third in strikeouts (82). Senior, a former T12 MVP, ranked high amongst the national leaders, sitting third in RBIs (91), 12th in triples (seven), 15th in hits (90), 17th in home runs (17), 22nd in runs (72) and 28th in slugging (.752).
Two years ago, C Andrew Yerzy (Toronto, Ont.) was the top high schooler in Canada signing with the Diamondbacks for $1,214,100 and last June the honour belonged to another Met: RHP Landon Leach, signed by the Twins for $1.4 million. Chris Kemlo coached the 18u Mets, along with Mark Dainty, Claire Osborne.
88. Stu Scheurwater, umpire (91).
Scheurwater (Regina, Sask.) was the first Canadian named to the major league staff since Jim McKean (Montreal, Que.) retired after 2001. He replaces Dale Scott, who suffered a career-ending concussion at the Rogers Centre. Scheurwater spent parts of six seasons Triple-A while filling in at the major-league level for Scott. He has already worked 153 games in the majors, 253 in his career going back to his debut April 25, 2014 at Dodger Stadium.
Scheurwater will stage an umpires clinic in Charlottetown this month for aa three-day clinic, along with Trevor Grieve (Scarborough, Ont.), considered by many to be the best amateur umpire in Canada. Grieve officiated the gold medal game in the last two World Baseball Classics.
89. Mike Wilner, broadcaster, The Fan (75).
Wilner falls in the ratings for 2017. Did you not listen? He was to blame for many of the Jays defeats on the postgame show. He’s the one the Jays went from 93 victories and 2015 postseason play, to 89 wins and the 2016 October play to 76 wins. After a tough loss it is the toughest job in the organization except maybe being travelling secretary when you arrive at DFW after an extra-inning loss, only to find out the team charter is still in Newark (true story, about 1988).
Am a long-time listener who has never been a first-time caller, Wilner needs a Chuck Barris gong for some callers. He has patience to teach two Grade 1 classes seven days a week. Wilner knows the game and hosted the Baseball Canada Fund Raiser in January. It was a four-alarm set of speeches. We are far from an expert on multi-platforming but thought the pregame TV show worked a lot better when Wilner was asked “What are your callers talking about Mike?” every week in 2016. There were only roughly only 10 sightings this past season.
90. Jim Baba, director general, Baseball Canada (73).
Baba spearheaded a three-year partnership with Rogers Comunications’ Dale Hooper, which led to Canada Baseball Day at the Rogers Centre. Baba was head technical commissioner at the WBSC U-18 WC and worked on the technical side for the last two rounds of the WBC. Baba is fast becoming go-to technical guy for the WBSC at international events.
The chair of the IBAF tournaments commission, a group in charge of the rules and designs of the IBAF championships. He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Hall of Fame as a player in 2009, joining his idol Doerksen. He failed to repeat coaching the Prairies at Tournament 12.
91. Richard Griffin, columnist, Toronto Star (89).
One ex-Montrealer who follows the Jays calls Griffin “the heart and conscience of sporting’s fifth estate.” He is the market’s quickest wit whether it be in print, on TV or radio or in person. He has been writing about the Jays for 22 years after 21 years running the Expos P.R. department,
And now along with Mike Nightingale, he forms the Oakville A’s best coaching staff in the organization. He is a regular on the Scott MacArthur show, afternoons on TSN, with your host Scott MacArthur, starring Scott MacArthur.
92. Jason Bryans, scout, Cardinals (-).
Bryans (Tecumseh, Ont.) travelled down the I-70, switching from scouting for Kansas City to the Cards. Sean Manaea, a Bryans draft from his KC days, was selected in the first round (34th over-all) from Indiana State in 2013. Manaea was given a $3.55 million bonus and won 12 games in 29 starts with a 4.37 ERA. The Royals dealt Aaron Brooks and Manaea to the Athletics for Ben Zobrist and cash.
With the Cards he was in on drafting OF Nick Plummer, a high schooler from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. in the first round (23rd over-all) in 2015. Plummer was given a $2,124,400 bonus. And the same year he selected 3B Bryce Denton, a second rounder from Brentwood, Tenn., who was given a $1.2 Million bonus.
93. Jon Lalonde, pro scout, Blue Jays (90).
Lalonde is one of the top evaluators on the pro staff. The Jays used him a lot of high leverage assignments leading up to the trade deadline and giving him Nippon Professional Baseball organization coverage. Jim Skaalen and Lalonde went to Seoul and Tokyo during the WBC in March. Along with Dan Evans and Andrew Tinnish, the former scouting director, were some of those Jays scouts in on free-agent, two-way man Shohei Ohtani. Most of his time was spent on the NL Central
C A.J. Jiménez, drafted in the ninth round in 2008 when Lalonde was scouting director of the Jays made his debut with the Texas Rangers. Running the Jays scouting department, Lalonde and scout Tom Burns also selected Brett Cecil, 38th overall in 2007, now in year II of a four-year $30.5 million deal by the Cardinals and C JP Arencibia (466 games in six seasons).
94. Jay Lapp, scout, Jays (94)
Lapp didn’t draft anyone with the Brewers last June and was let go in September. Steve Sanders and Jamie Lehman of the Blue Jays stepped in and hired Lapp (London, Ont.). Lapp is the most experienced of the Jays amateur scouting staff which includes: Adam Arnold (St. Thomas, Ont.), Jasmin Roy (Montreal, Que.) and Kory Lafreniere (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.). Don Cowan (Delta, BC) retired at the end of the season. The highest the Jays have ever paid to a Canadian is $462,500 to RHP Trystan Magnuson (Vancouver, BC) from Louisville in 2007. The Jays rank 11th in six-figure signning bonuses paid to Canadians behind the Pirates, who are $6,905,000, followed by the Mariners, Padres, Orioles, Braves, Brewers, Twins, Reds, Marlins and the Cubs.
Lapp signed OF Demi Orimoloye (Orleans, Ont.) with the Brewers and he had 23 doubles, four triples, 11 homers while knocking in 40 and batting .214. He was 38-for-49 stealing bases with a .632 OPS in 125 games.
95. Denis Boucher, scout, New York Yankees (-).
Boucher (Laval, Que.) was the pitching coach of Canada’s World Baseball Classic in Miami, working with Phillies PHP Nick Pivetta (Victoria, BC). He also coached the Quebec team in Tournament 12.
And as a scout, the Yankees sent Boucher (Laval, Que.) to last year’s draft at MLB Network headquarters in Secaucus, N.J. He was joined at their respective tables by three other Canucks Mets Claude Pelletier (Ste-Lezare, Que.), Murray Cook (Sackville, NB) and assistant GM Gord Ash (Toronto, Ont.). “I told Denis,” said Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer, in a joking manner, “it is going to be easier to find a Canadian representative on the draft floor than to find a Canadian team in the Stanley Cup Final.”
96. Andrew Albers, Orix Blue Wave (-).
Acquired from the Braves Aug. 11, Albers (North Battleford, Sask.) went 5-1 with one save and a 3.51 ERA in 9 appearances, including six starts, striking out 37 in 41 innings. The Mariners, agent Blake Crosky and Orix worked out a deal for him to go to Japan.
As a starter, Albers was 4-1 with a 3.16 ERA, limiting opponents to three earned runs or less in each start, while he fanned 25 in 31 1/3 innings. At triple-A, Gwinnett he was 12-3 with a 2.61 ERA with 10 quality starts out of 17 starts with 115 whiffs in 120 2/3 innings. He earned International League Pitcher of the Week and was Gwinnett’s Pitcher of the Month the same month (July) as he went 4-0 with a 1.14 ERA.
97. Fred Zinkie, MLB.com (-).
Who knew that the fantasy capital of the world was at the Rogers Centre, or rather Newcastle, Ont. Yet, when host Kelly Nash throws to the Dairy Queen Ball Park Cam there is Zinkie standing outside the third base dugout at the Rogers Centre. He was hired by Dave Feldman in 2011. Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB) had been highly interested in fantasy sports while attending Lakehead and Victoria, where he did his Master’s, and baseball was his favourite sport.
He fared well and decided to show others how to play. Zinkie went through to become a teacher, and still teaches. He competes in the two biggest invitation-only leagues within the industry -- Tout Wars and LABR -- each year regularly finishing among the top three nearly every year. He submits anywhere from 3-to-10 articles a week, depending upon needs. In the offseason, he writes for the player preview, does podcasts, segments for the MLB Network and manages all team depth charts and injury pages.
98. Scott MacArthur, TSN.
MacArthur covered all 162 games for three seasons. Zero writers do that. Zero TV types do that. Only Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth worked that hard and TSN’s MacArthur did not have the team charter to get him to the next destination. That is how he earned the nickname 162.
Now, he’s off the road and host of the Scott MacArthur Show, with your host Scott MacArthur, starring Scott MacArthur weekday afternoons on TSN. Not many host have two former GMs regularly like MacArthur does. He has former Blue Jays GM Gord Ash and former New York Mets GM Steve Phillips. TSN’s deep roster of coverage which includes Gregor Chisholm (Saint John, NB) of bluejays.com, Richard Griffin (Kingston) of the Toronto Star, Steve Simmons (Toronto, Ont.), Paul Hollingsworth (Halifax, NS), and ex-Jay Dirk Hayhurst.
99. Maxime Lamarche, executive director, Baseball Québec (-).
Qubec ran the table at the 15U edging New Brunswick 2-1 in the gold medal game. Quebec knocked off Ontario, BC, New Brunswick and PEI to get to the finale. Quebec was led by the likes of Émilien Pitre, Nicolas Deschamps, Jérémy Therien, Mathis Poutre, Simon Lusignan and Thomas Sansregret. A member of the Baseball Canada championships committee, he makes sure that what is best for the province happens. He also looks after human and financial resources plus sponsorship.
Previously, Maxime held the position of Director of Sales and Marketing at the Capitales de Québec for five seasons. In addition to his administrative experience, Maxime Lamarche also played on diamonds practically all his youth. He competed in his Junior Elite career with the Bisons of Saint-Eustache and the Diamonds of Quebec from 1999 to 2004. He caught at Brevard and Des Moines Area Community College, before joining the Quebec Capital. After retirement from playing, he handled sales and marketing moving to Baseball Québec in 2010.
100. Kevin Briand, pro scout, Toronto Blue Jays (-).
When the Jays moved RP Joe Smith to Cleveland at the deadline it was Briand (Montreal, Que.) who had filed good reports on the two minor leaguers. The Jays added both LHP Thomas Pannone, 23, and INF Samad Taylor, 18. Pannone, a ninth round pick in 2013, was at class-A Lynchburg, double-A Akron and double-A New Hampshire. Combined at three spots, he was 9-3 in 25 starts with a 2.36 ERA. He walked 36 and fanned 149 in 144 2/3 innings.
Taylor also made three stops at class-A Mahoning Valley, class-A Bluefield and class-A Vancouver. He hit .294 with nine doubles, six homers 30 RBIs and a .771 OPS in 52 games.
101. Rest in Peace: Steve (Whitey) Brietner (Brampton, Ont.), Don Fields (Tecumseh, Ont.), Arleene Johnson (Ogema, Sask.), Brian Logie (London, Ont.), Wayne Norton (Port Moody, BC); Betty Widdrington (London, Ont.).
Brietner, 63, threw out the first pitch to Etobicoke’s own Joey Votto, when the Reds came to the Rogers Centre last year. Toronto lawyer David Wiseman, a former Etobicoke Rangers catcher called Greg Hamilton in Ottawa of Baseball Canada with the suggestion. Then, Hamilton a former Princeton Tiger called another Mark Shapiro, who played one year of football there and is now president of the Toronto Blue Jays. They made it happen, unlike when the Canada’s 1984 Olympic team wanted to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Yankees Rob Thomson. It’s like the Etobicoke Rangers are more important than our Olympic team or the Yankees. “Well, I would say that I would have to agree with THAT,” deadpanned Whitey that night. Mike (The General) Gauthier on his coach: “Words can’t describe the affection I have for Steve. We shared many great memories on the field but it was the ones off the field that I hold special and dear to my heart. We talked on the phone, texted during ball games most every day and I feel fortunate to have spent quality time with him in December when I was finally able to travel back to Canada (from Wisconsin). The embrace we shared when I got home is something that I will remember forever.”
Fields, 70, touched them all as a player, coach, manager, president and groundskeeper at Lacasse Park, where his No. 22 is the only number retired, Fields always credited his coach, Sid Cooke, for mentoring him in baseball and life. He joined the Tecumseh Green Giants when the Maidstone Shamrocks folded. Fields managed Tecumseh to the 1992 national senior title. A true fighter, he battled blood cancer for almost seven years.
Johnson 93, was nicknamed Iron Lady, of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She was inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988 and a year later was accorded induction into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. In 1992 Arleene was a technical advisor on “A League of Their Own” and at the end of the film, Arleene, along with other former Canadians played in a reunion game on Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY.
Logie, 75, was a long-time Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame volunteer, a baseball bat authenticator and historian. He is also the man who named the OHL’s London Knights. Logie spent hours upon hours documenting the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s bat inventory.
In the case of Norton, 75, every night during the summer we watch teams compete on the field. What we never see is the competition that goes on behind the scenes. Phone calls. Workouts. Evaluating between scouts from two teams. Interviews with parents/players and scouts. Then the constant calls to the war room. Norton won only one battle during the June draft and it was not one of the top three. The Mariners signed Mariners INF Louis Boyd (North Vancouver, BC) in the 24th round. Yet, Norton battled each and every day, all 365 days as he battled ALS. He went from being fed through a tube (“Right now I’m having a grilled cheese with ice cream and pie for desert,” he would tell pals Pat Gillick, Ian Dickson or Bob Engle on a visit as he nodded towards the IV bag.) He battled to get to off the IVs and from his wheel chair threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Safeco last September.
Widdrington, 87, was married to Peter Widdrington, who attended Queen’s University and Harvard Business School, before almost 40 years with John Labatt Ltd. He was Chairman of the Board of the Blue Jays during the glory years up to and including the 1992 and 1993 World Championship season. He played a large role in the developing Canada’s first all-sports network, TSN. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.
And since we were five weeks late due to eye surgeries -- eight days of not being able to read, then more than a week of only two or three-hour shift at the laptop, rather than an 8-to-10 hours -- we have some more names
Dana Bookman helped form the Toronto Girls Baseball League and then moved on to other provinces.
102. Dana Bookman and Julie Gosselin, women’s baseeball.
Bookman is the founder of Toronto Girls Baseball, Nova Scotia Girls Baseball, Manitoba Girls Baseball and the Canadian Women’s Baseball Association. The Queen’s grad has been nominated for RBC Female Entrepreneur of the Year. Bookman has more than 15 years of experience in news, current affairs, reality and documentary and online programming and has produced for major broadcasters.
Gosselin, a Baseball Quebec vice president since 2014, has also been responsible for women’s baseball since 2016 and came up with new strategic plan for female baseball in the province. She convinced Maxime Lamarche to start an ABC for women and now coach Robbie Fatal trains and instructs six women. Gosselin worked for RDS and the Vancouver Olympics.
103. James Parker area scout, Padres (-).
San Diego scouting director Mark Conner singled out first-year scout Parker (Ottawa, Ont.). Parker chose Cole Bellinger of Chandler, Az. in the 15th round. “Our first-year area scout James Parker did a really good job on (Cole Bellinger),” Conner said. “Cole is considered more of a position player by a lot of people in this draft. (Parker) went in, saw him pitch and really, really liked him and kind of sparked our interest.”
Logan White drafted first baseman Cody Bellinger with the Dodgers in 2013 and he won NL rookie of the year. The Padres gave him a $350,000 US bonus. The right-hander had an ERA of 1.35 in nine games with the AZL Rookie-Class Padres, fanning 15 in 13 1/3 innings. After working Canada and learning under Murry Zuk (Souris, Man.), Parker scouts the four corners (Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico).
104. Peter Orr, pro scout, Brewers (-).
The annual Baseball Canada fund raiser in January was tame until the highlights were shown of some of Canada’s biggest games: beating USA in Winnipeg at the 1999 Pan Ams, the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, the 2008 Olympic qualifier, winning the 2011 Pan Am in Mexico, knocking off Team USA in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, as well as highlights of Justin Morneau, Joey Votto and Larry Walker. And then came CBC’s coverage from faraway Ajax at the 2015 Pan Ams. Canada fell behind by two in extras when Orr singled in a run. With one out and runners on first and second, lefty David Huff decided on his own to try a back-door pick off of Orr.
Huff threw the ball into foul ground, third base coach Stubby Clapp waved Skylar Stomsmoe home to tie the game as Orr slid head first into third. Except the right fielder throw went past third. Orr looked for Clapp and couldn’t find him. So off Orr raced for home as people in the banquet room yelled, “Slide!” Orr did and was safe. Orr will also scout the Canadian Junior Team, besides his pro coverage.
105. Mike Bonanno, agent (-).
When the WBC was underway, Bonanno (Burlington, Ont.) wasn’t entirely sure who to root for. After all he represented six players on the rosters of four different countries. With Canada were clients 3B Eric Wood (Pickering, Ont.), LHP Shane Dawson (Drayton Valley, Alta.) and C Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ont.); RHP Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) with Italy; Joey Wong with China and Jake Sanchez with Mexico.
He also represents Jordan Balazovic a fifth rounder signed for $515,000 in 2016, as well as Connor Panas (Toronto, Ont.) and RP Andrew Case (St. John, NB), who both had strong seasons in the Blue Jays systems. Client Ian Parmley made his major-league debut playing three games with the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as Austin Wynns was placed on the Orioles 40-man roster, while Beau Taylor and Seth Brown are in the Athletics system.
106. Mike Chewpoy, coach and GM, Victoria Mariners (97).
The Mariners saw a whole bunch of players go off to university last fall. The top dog was Jason Willow, who went on to play shortstop for Canada at the World 18U in Thunder Bay. He was drafted by the Orioles but is at Santa Barbara. T12 starter Fynn Chester and Liam Krause are at Salt Lake. Dylan Price, who led the BCPBL in steals and Jacob Potter went to Allen County, Caleb Piechnik, who led the league with a .431 average and Ethan Brunton are at Southeastern Illinois; Dan Rockwell who hit eight homer last fall and Zeke Holt are at Wenatchee, while Jeff Simpson went to Colby.
Trey Crust went to Douglas, while Dawson Neal, Nick Lee and Natle Postle are with the Okanagan College Coyotes.
107. Jim Swanson, Victoria HarbourCats (76)
The HarbourCats dropped to 14th among summer college leagues according to Baseball Digest. They drew 51,264 to Royal Athletic Park, an average of 1,899 fans per game. That would be 43 fans less per game than the Gastonia Grizzlies. He is former sports editor of the Prince George Citizen.
LHP Claire Eccles (Surrey, BC) became the first woman to pitch in the West Coast League and is back for the summer of 2018. After pitching for Canada at the 2016 Women’s World Cup in South Korea, Eccles was 1-0 with four walks and two strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings.
108. Robbie Fatal, coach, ABC (93).
As director and head coach of the l’Académie de baseball du Canada (ABC) and des Ailes du Québec, Fatal had three players on the Canadian Junior National Team at the World 18U in Thunder Bay. 2B Edouard Julien is now a freshman at Auburn, C Archer Bookman is attending Seminole State and William Sierra is at Chipola. OF Marc Antoine Lebreux is with this year’s team and headed to Seminole State. Plus RHP Mathieu Gauthier (Candiac, QC) is in his second year at North Carolina State.
As well, OF Christopher Acosta-Tapia (Laval, Que.) earned Canadian Baseball Network College Player of the Year honours. OF Jonathan Lacroix (Montreal, Que.) of Seminole State and Acosta-Tapia also earned First Team all-Canadian college honors. He has over 20 years of experience as a coach, spending most of his Junior Elite Quebec Baseball League time with the Saguenay Voyageurs. He won three gold medals in junior (2004, 2008 and 2009) and one in bantam (2011).
109. Mike Kelly, BC Minor baseball (-).
There was a time when Ari Mellious and Kelly coached Jeff Francis, Justin Morneau and James Paxton. Now, with the help of Pete Caliendo they toured the BC hinterlands making 17 stops in a 15-day period and drawing 5,000 fans showed up for the 17 events. The carvan visited Osoyoos, Kelowna, Revelstoke, Salmon Arm, Mission, Prince George, Port Coquitlam, Lake Cowichan, Salt Spring Island, Comox Valley, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Tsawwassen, North Shore and White Rock.
Grant Rimer, Orville Germaine, Michael Dagg, Kelly and Caliendo make all the stops in the communities from Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Okanagan and far north as Prince George. And as always when the Chicago-based Kelly drops Caliendo at the airport he thanks him for coming to teach the parents and their children “so that they can grow up to beat Team USA.”
110. Rob and Rich Butler, coaches, Ontario Prospects (81)
Ryan Kellogg is the most famous alumnus of the Butler Brothers program. It did not take long for the Butlers to have an impact on the lefty. They converted him from playing behind the plate to the mound. He went to the Chicago Cubs in the fifth round in 2015, and was 5-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 23 games, making 20 starts. He walked 28 and struck out 53 in 103 2/3 innings for the class-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
Kellogg was sixth among Canadians in innings pitched (103 2/3 innings) and tied for seventh in wins (five, with Angels’ Connor Lillis-White).
111. André Lachance, coach, Canada’s womens team.
Last year was an off season (competition-wise) for the Canadian women’s team. This year they will play in the 8th WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup in Viera, Fla. in August. Also the manager of baseball operations with Baseball Canada, he was the first level 5 certified baseball coach in Canada,
His experience includes Université Laval’s program, coaching Eric Gagne to a gold medal at the Midget nationals as well as National Women’s Team. Led by Ashley Stephenson, Stéphanie Savoie, Nicole Luchanski, Jenna Flannigan and Autumn Mills, Canada lost in Ajax in the gold medal game to Team USA.
112. Mike Griffin, coach, Czech national team.
Griffin (Nanaimo, BC) played for the Nanaimo Pirates of the BC Premier League, joined the Canadian Junior National Team in 2003, attended school at the College of Southern Idaho and University of Hawaii before playing two years in the Czech Republic. He took up coaching and Major League Baseball employed him to work in development centres, in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. This is his fifth season managing.
The Czech team almost upset Mexico in the WBC qualifier, losing 2-1 in the opener. beating Germany 15-3 and being eliminated 7-6 by Nicaragua in 11 innings. The Czech team plays in A European Pool.
113. Gary Van Tol, coach, Boise State (-).
Van Tol (Pincher Creek, Alta.) is the only coach assured of an undefeated season. He has been named the new coach as Boise restarts a program disbanded in 1980. The first season will be in 2020. Van Tol spent the past 10 years in the Chicago Cubs organization, including two years as Boise Hawks manager.
Boise is the only Division I program in the state of Idaho. Before his stint with the Eugene Emeralds and Boise Hawks, he was an assistant at Gonzaga University and University of Portland. He was the head coach at Treasure Valley and Centralia College.
114. Ross Baron, groundskeeper, Nat Bailey Stadium (-).
Formerly a grounds crew intern with the Nationals, and a graduate of the University of Guelph turf grass school, the native of Gibsons BC, earned Northwest League groundskeeper of the year in 2017. His work drew compliments from visiting players and coaches alike, not to mention the Canadians themselves.
Besides Baron being honoured, the Canadians won the deciding game of the best-of-three final with a 2-1 decision over the Eugene Emeralds. That’s four title in seven years. Riley Adams, William Ouellette and Orlando Pascual made the all-star game.
115. Sebastian Gatica, VP, Communications, Jays (-).
Gatica first came to the Skydome as a friend of the Jays mascot Ace, who replaced BJ Birdy. Gatica first duties were to shoot hot dogs out of the air cannons from atop the dugouts. He went back to school and was hired by Rogers.
Gatica was with Ron McLean as Scotiabank Hockey Day toured the country and then joined the Jays as spokesman for club president Mark Shapiro.
Former Whalley Chiefs catcher Cole Armstrong (Surrey, BC) will be the hitting coach in the White Sox system at double-A Birmingham.
Jim Adduci, Burnaby, BC, Tigers system, with invite to camp; Jeff Amos, Oyen, Alta., Badlands Academy; Alex Andreopoulos, Etobicoke, Ont., bullpen catcher, Blue Jays; J.P. Antonacci, Simcoe, Ont., Canadian Baseball Network; Don Archer, White Rock, BC, scout, Angels; Cole Armstrong, Surrey, BC, hitting coach, double-A Birmingham (White Sox); Adam Arnold, St. Thomas, Ont., Jays scout; Pierre Arsenault, Pierrefonds, Que., pro scout, Miami Marlins; Nick Ashbourne, Toronto, Yahoo Canada Sports; Phillippe Aumont, Gatineau, Que., Tigers system.
John Axford, Port Dover, Ont., Blue Jays system; Justin Ayles, OUA Baseball Guru; Evan Bailey, coach, GM, Okanagan Athletics; Scott Ballantyne, coach, Laurier; INF Tanner Banks, Fredericton, NB, first winner of the Tanner Craswell Memorial award, Holland Hurricanes; Joseph (Elevator Joe) Bednarz, Rogers Centre; Thomas Bell, Etobicoke, Ont., Covermaster tarps; Dean Bender, senior vice president, creative services, Rogers Communications; T.J. Bennett, Lethbridge, Alta., Giants system; Al Bernacchi, Windsor, Ont., coach, Windsor Selects.
Matt Betts, Brantford, Ont., writer, Canadian Baseball Network’s Big Man on Campus; Howie Birnie, Leaside, Ont., Baseball Ontario Hall of Famer; Scott Blinn, Toronto, Ont., clubhouse manager, Blue Jays; Rod Black, TSN; Jamie Bodaly, coach, Langley Blaze/DBacks Scout Team; Rob Boik, Spruce Grove, Alta., director, St. Francis Xavier Academy; Bob Bonn, athletic director, Carthage College (Wisc.), Porter Lake, NS; Mike Boon, Etobicoke, Ont.; Toronto Mike Blog; Jason Booth, Richmond Hill, Ont., director of baseball operations/coach, Ontario Astros 18U, The Dugout; Jean Boulais, Gatineau, president Baseball Quebec; Steve Boston, Nepean, Ont., Ottawa-Nepean Canadians Sports Club.
Jeff Bouvier, Melville, Sask., president Melville Millionaires; Shawn Bowman, coach, 18U, 23U and French National Academy teams; Rick Brace: president, media business unit, Rogers Communications; Jordan Broatch, White Rock, BC, coach, Douglas College: Sheen Bromley, development and technical coordinator, Baseball Alberta; Steve Brooks, Toronto, Ont., Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame board of directors; Stephen Bronfman, potential investor financing return of baseball to Montreal; Gary Brotzel, Cupar, Sask., president, Regina Red Sox; Kylie Bunbury, Hamilton, Ont., actor, Fox drama Pitch; Alexis Brudnicki, London, Ont., Great Lake Canadians.
Scott Bullett, Welland, Ont., Bullett Proof Academy; T.J. Burton, Ottawa, coordinator amateur ball Toronto Blue Jays; Greg Byron, North York, Ont., assistant coach, Austin Peay University; Raimondo Callari, Côté St-Luc, Que., scout, Giants; Dick Callahan, Kitchener, Ont. Oakland A’s P.A. announcer; Al Cantwell, Saint John, N.B., assistant coach, Airline High School, Bossier City, La.; Aaron Caputo, business operations manager, Toronto Mets and Out of the Park Sports; Anthony Caputo, owner, Toronto Mets; John Caputo, coach, Toronto Mets; Remo Cardinale, Thornhill, Ont., lifetime scholarship.
Ken Carson, Barrie, commissioner class-A Florida State League; Ray Carter, Tsawwassen, BC, former president Baseball Canada, fixer of BC provincial problems; Julien Casaubon, Joliette, Que., assistant coach, Post University; Andrew Case, St. John, NB, Blue Jays system; Pat Cassidy, St. Albert, Alta., owner, Edmonton Prospects; Jim Chapman, Langley, coach Coquitlam Reds; Steve Chatzispiros, Richmond, BC, manager, Whalley Chiefs; David Chavarria, Burnaby, BC, pitching coach, double-A Biloxi Shuckers (Brewers); Gregor Chisholm, Saint John, N.B. bluejays.com; Dr. Michael Chivers, kinesiologist, Vaughan, Ont..
Voon Chong, Vancouver BC, assistant trainer, Blue Jays; Gary Cohen, Monteal, The Baseball Cube; Jeremy Cohen, New York, vice-president, corporate sales, marketing, MLB; Andrew Collier, GM, Winnipeg Goldeyes; Dave Cooper, coach, St. Clair College Saints, St. Clair Green Giants; Heather Connolly, senior manager, baseball administration, Blue Jays; Shaun Corness, Chilliwack, BC, Chilliwack Cougars; Wayne Corness, Surrey, BC, pitching coach, UBC; Joanna Cornish, Toronto, Ont., Hum and Chuck; Scott Costello, Barrie, Ont., umpire, triple-A International League; Melissa Couto, Toronto, Ont., Canadian Press.
Don Cowan, Delta, BC, Jays scout; Greg Cranker, coach, Erindale Cardinals; Phil Curtis, Sherwood Park, Alta., Absolute Academey, Weyburn Beavers; Tom Dakers, Calgary, Alta., Bluebird Banter; Lars Davis, Grand Prairie, Alta., volunteer assistant coach, University of Florida; Morgan de Pena, Winnipeg, Man., executive director, Baseball Manitoba; Claude Delorme, Sturgeon Falls, Ont., executive VP operations and events Miami Marlins; Jay-Dell Mah, author, Western Canada Baseball Scoresheet Baseball, Nakusp, BC; Sam Dempster, Kingston, Ont., coach, Durham Lords, Team Great Britain; Kyle Dhanani, White Rock, BC, White Rock Tritons.
Scott Diamond, Guelph, Ont., SK Wyverns, Korea; David Dion, executive director, Fredericton, N. B.; Michael DiStefano, Toronto, Canadian Baseball Network; Jack Dominico, Toronto, owner, Toronto Maple Leafs; Jason Dowse, Cannington, Ont., strength and conditioning coach, triple-A Buffalo; Rob Ducey, Cambridge, Ont., Philles base running and bunting co-ordinator; Jeff Duda, Surrey, BC, coach, Okotoks Dawgs; Aaron Dunsmore, Edmonton, Alta., coach, University of Calgary; Cory Eckstein, Abbotsford, BC, coach, Abbotsford Cardinals; LHHP Claire Eccles, Surrey, BC, Victoria HarbourCats; Bernie Eiswirth, GM, Regina, Sask., Regina Red Sox.
Dave Empey, North Vancouver, BC, Dave talks Baseball blog; Rob Fai, Vancouver, Vancouver Canadians, broadcaster, all-star MC, restaurateur; Frank Fanning, London, Ont. director of team operations and community outreach, class-A Vermont Lake Monsters; Drew Fairservice, writer, Fangraphs; Scott Ferguson, broadcaster, TSN; Amanda Fewer, Calgary, Alta., Canadian Baseball Network; Pablo Forno, Okotoks, Alta., Grand Slam Sports; Mike Frostad, Calgary, Alta., assistant trainer Braves; Stacey May Fowles, author of “Baseball Life Advice,” Globe & Mail; Orv Franchuk, Edmonton, Alta., special advisor/assistant coach, Edmonton Prospects.
A. J. Fystro, Calgary, Alta., GM, Grand Slam Sports, Okotoks, Alta.; Martine Gaillard, Sporotsnet; Danny Gallagher, Toronto, author Blue Monday (1981 Montreal Expos) published by Dundurn Press, Canadian Baseball Network; Gord Gerlach, Edmonton, Alta., lead teacher, Vimy Ridge Academy; Ted Giannoulas, London, Ont., The Famous Chicken; Shawn Gillespie, Lucan, Ont., president, Ontario Nationals; Kevin Glew, London, Ont., Cooperstowners in Canada, editor Canadian Baseball Network, chair Jack Graney selection committee; George Godfrey, Kingston, Ont., Blue Jays Aggregator; Chris Graham, Brampton; Ont., umpire, triple-A International League; Taylor Green, Comox, BC, supervisor pro scouting, Brewers.
Trevor Grieve, Oshawa, Ont., umpire, World Baseball Classic; Marc Griffin, vice-president Baseball Quebec; Matt Griffin, Oakville, Guelph University; Patrick Griffin, Oakville, video operations, Vancouver Canadians; Evan Grills, Whitby, Ont., Rockies system; John Haar, director of baseball operations, North Shore Twins; Matt Hague, Covington, Wash., Mariners organization; George Halim, Toronto, Ont., Diamondbacks scout; Tim Hallgren, Victoria, BC, pro scout, Tigers; Mike Hansford, Burlington, Ont., Corbett`s Source for Sports.
Ellen Harrigan, director administration, Dodgers; Jason Hart, Thunder Bay, Ont., head coach, Lakehead University; John Hashimoto, Blue Jays Academy Instructor, Baseball Canada master coach developer & evaluator; Mustafa (Moose) Hassan, Toronnto, Ont. home clubhouse manager, equipment; Ernie Hawkins, North Delta, BC, coach North Delta Blue Jays; Ed Heather, Cambridge, Ont., researcher for Intercounty Baseball League 100th anniversary top 100 team; Chris Henderson, Jays Journal; Jim Henderson, Calgary, Alta., free agent; Andrew Hendricks, Toronto, Ont., writer, Canadian Baseball Network; Tyler Hollick, Calgary, Alta., Okotoks Dawgs.
Paul Hollingsworth, Dartmouth, N.S., broadcaster, TSN; Vince Horsman, Dartmouth, N.S., pitching coach, double-A New Hampshire; Ted Hotzak, president, BC Premier League; Cam Houston, St. Albert, Alta. Prospects Academy; Peter Hoy, Cardinal, Ont., coach, St. Lawrence College (NY); Todd Hubka, Claresholm, Alta., Prairie Baseball Academy; David Huctwith, Mississauga, Ont, president, Baseball Ontario; Marc Hulet, London, Ont. Fangraphs; Frank Humber, coach, Corner Brook, Nfld.; Michael Hunt, Edmonton, Alta., coach, Moose Jaw Miller Express; JJ Hyde, Coquitlam, BC, Tri-City Indians.
Todd Ireland, Burlington, Ont., associate head coach, Tusculum College; Dutch Iannetti, owner,, Fort McMurray Giants; Aaron Izaryk, Markham, Ont., head coach, Bridgton Academy, North Bridgton High, Maine; Rob Jack, Toronto, executive assistant, Alomar Sports; Steven Jaschinski, Burlington, Ont., class-A Northwest League; Jeremy Jayaweera, coach Ontario Nationals, scout Angels; John Jepson, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Ont., VP communications and business, Ontario Terriers; Mike Johnson, Sherwood Park, Alta., coach, St. Francis Xavier Academy/Canadian Junior National Team; Doug Jones, Oyen, Alta., GM Brooks Bombers/Badlands Academy; Frank Kaluzniak, Brandon, Man., Parksville Royals.
Tom Katelnikoff, West Kelowna, BC, West Kelowna Diamondbacks; Sam Katz, Winnipeg, Man., owner, Winnipeg Goldeyes; Chris Kemlo, Oshawa, Ont., coach, Toronto Mets; Kevin Kennedy, Toronto, Ont., Pitch Talks; Mike Kicia, Edmonton, Alta., assistant minor league strength and conditioning coordinator New York Yankees; Tyler King, Toronto, Ont., Canadian Baseball Network; Dave Kington, coach, Coquitlam Reds; C George Kottaras, Markham, Ont., Team Canada, WBC; Mike Kozak, Kirkland, Que., assistant trainer, Marlins; Blair Kubicek, Digby, NS, Okotoks Dawgs Hall of Famer; Kevin Kvame, Lethbridge, Alta., president WMBL, GM Lethbridge Bulls.
Jessica Lack, Calgary, Alta., digital media coordination, community relations, class-A Tampa Yankees, Kory Lafreniere, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.. Jays scout; Jacques Lanciault, Laval, Que., must read, jacqueslanciault.com; Scott Langdon, Etobicoke, Ont., Canadian Baseball Networrk; Eric Langill bullpen catcher, Kirkland, Que., New York Mets; Michel Laplante, Val D’Or, Que., president and GM, Les Capitales de Québec; Jean-Gilles Larocque, Sudbury, The Baseball Academy; Brent Lavallee, North Delta, BC, coach, LSU-Shreveport; France Lauzière, Montreal, president, TVA; Jim Lawson, Calgary, Alta., coach, PBF Redbirds.
Randy LeBleau, Winnipeg, Man., assistant coach, Campbellsville College; Kevin Legge, Paradise, Nfld, president, Newfoundland and Labrador; Ken Lenihan, Halifax, N.S., vice president of operations, Team Nova Scotia; Marty Lehn, White Rock, BC, GM White Rock Tritons, Brewers scout, Big League Experience; David Laing, executive director, Langley, BC, Baseball BC; Marc LePage, Welland, Ont., coach Brock University; Chris Leroux, Mississauga, Ont., Magallanes, Venezuela, Free agent, The Bachelor; Honsing Leung, Toronto, Ont., coach, Toronto Mets; Linda Lewis, Port Lambton, Ont., Baseball Ontario, Hall of Famer; RP Adam Loewen, Surrey, BC, Texas Rangers system.
John Lott, ball scribe, photographer, The Athletic; Jeff Lounsberry, coach, Burlington Bandits; Nicole Luchanski Edmonton, Alta. Team Canada women’s team; Mike Lumley, coach, London, Ont. London Badgers; Jim Lutton, Oshawa, Ont., Baseball Ontario Hall of Famer; Shawn Lynn, coach, Ontario Royals; Drew MacDonald, Bradford, Ont., trainer class-A Lansing; Mitch MacDonald, Selkirk, Man., coach Regina Red Sox; Ryan MacDonald, Kennetcook N.S, Prairie Baseball Academy/Lethbridge Bulls; Walter MacEwen, Charlottetown, PEI, incoming president of Baseball PEI.
Todd MacFarlane, Edmonton, Alta., collector; Josh MacInnis, Cole Harbour, NS, Okotoks Dawgs; Kevin Malloy, visiting clubhouse manager, Rogers Centre; Arash Madani, Toronto, Ont., Sportsnet; Chris Marco, Waterdown, Ont., umpire, double-A Eastern League; Dave Martin, Ottawa, newspaper collector; Keegan Matheson, Toronto, Ont. Baseball Toronto, ‘Modern Beat Reporting’; John Matthew IV, Ormond, Ont., producer extraordinare, bluejays.com; Brooks McNiven, North Vancouver, BC, North Shore Twins; Cory Melvin, Tampa, scout, Brewers.
Mitch Melnick, Montreal, Que., TSN 690; Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro, Tim and Sid Sportsnet; Matt Mills, Hamilton, coach, Ontario Royals; Larry Millson, Toronto, Ont., Jack Graney Award winner, The Sports Xchange; John Milton, Brampton, Ont., Perfect Game Director Canada, Ontario Terriers, St. Petersburg Baseball Commission, program coordinator; Scott Mitchell, writer, broadcaser TSN; Ryan Mittleman, director, pro scouting, Jays; Dustin Molleken, Regina, Sask., free agent; Herb Morell, Mississauga, Ont., Intercounty League statistican, official scorer at Rogers Centre; Peter Morris, East Lansing, Mich., historian/author.
Greg Morrison, owner, Medicine Hat Mavericks; Adam Morissette, Baseball Canada; Morris Mott, Brandon, Man., chairman Manitoba Hall of Fame; Neil Munro, North Bay, Ont., Canada’s stat guru, Canadian Baseball Network; Leo Mui, Bluebird Banter; Mike Mutlow, Swift Current, Sask., president, Swift Current 57s; Bill Neale, Collingwood, Ont., head coach Kansas Wesleyan University; Shawn Neale, Collingwood, Ont., assistant coach, West Texas A&M University.
Scott Neiles, Winnipeg, Man., Home Run Sports; Nancy Newman, New York, Yankees Magazine, host, YES Network; Ben Nicholson-Smith, Sportsnet; Mike Nickeas, Vancouver, BC, assistant coach, hitting, Georgia Tech University; Greg O’Halloran, coach, Ontario Terriers; Cory Olafson. Moose Jaw Sask., general manager, Moose Jaw Miller Express; Ron Oneson, coach, London, Ont., Ontario Nationals; Garnet Pawliw, Surrey, BC, Cloverdale Nationals; Rob Pegg, Flesherton, Ont., coach, Vanguard University; Josue Peley, interpreter, Blue Jays organization; Dave Perkins, Toronto, Ont., Prime Time Sports.
Marc Picard, Pickering, Ont., coach, Windsor Selects; John Picco, Windsor, Ont., coach, Windsor Selects; Warren Philp, Thunder Bay, Ont., convenor of 2017 World Juniors; Jamie Pogue, bullpen catcher, St. Louis Cardinals; Dalton Pompey, Mississauga, Ont., Jays 40 man roster; Mark Polishuk, London, Ont., MLB Trade Rumors; Rye Pothakos, Saskatoon Sask., assistant director of recruiting, Regina Red Sox; Al Price and Scott Price, Calgary, Alta., Big Al Baseball; Elliott (no relation) Price, Montreal, Que., The Fan.
1B Kate Psota Burlington, Ont., Team Canada women’s team; Terry Puhl, Melville, Sask. coach, University of Houston-Victoria; Dr. Keith Pyne, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., chairman, medical services advisory board, Washington Nationals; Shawn Pynn, Brampton, Ont., head recruiting coach NCSA; Mark Randall, director Vimy Ridge; Claude Raymond, Ste-Jean, Que., former Expo; Jackie Redmond, Sportsnet, NHL Network, MLBNetwork; Morgan Reiter, Regina, Sask., Inside Pitch Baseball Academy; Frederick Rioux, Aurora, Ont., minor league operations assistant, Seattle Mariners; Ben Rosen, Thornhill, Ont., umpire, class-A New York Pen League; Jean-Philippe Roy, Quebec City, Que., scout Milwaukee Brewers.
Al Ready, London, Ont., assistant coach, University of Indianapolis; Morgan Reiter, Regina, Sask. Inside Pitch Academy; Jeremy Reesor, Stouffville, Ont., analytics, Blue Jays; Dave Robb, coach Lac La Biche, Alta. coach, Mesa Community College, Okotoks Dawgs Hall of Famer; Chris Robinson, Dorchester, Ont., director of operations, Great Lake Canadians; Randy Robles, Toronto, Elias Sports Bureau; Doug Rogers, co-owner, coach, instructor, Mid-Island Pirates; Melinda Rogers, Jays Care Foundation, Rogers Communications; Jamie Romak, London, Ont., SK Wyverns, Canadian Baseball Network offensive player of the year, foreign or indy ball; Mal Romanin, Burlington, Ont., former Blue Jays P.R.; Ben Rosen, Thornhill, Ont., rookie-class Gulf Coast League.
Jamie Ross, Sussex, NB, Globe and Mail; Jeff Ross, equipment manager, Blue Jays; Jasmin Roy, Quebec City, Que., Que., Jays scout; Linda Russell, CEO, OES Inc. scoreboards, London; Dennis Ryan, Hamilton, Ont. umpire, Baseball Ontario Hall of Famer; Nick Salahub, Nanaimo, BC., Vancouver Island Baseball Institute; Ron Sandelli, director of security & special forces, Blue Jays; Dustin Saracini, head of podcasts, Canadian Baseball Network, The Score; Michael Saunders, Victoria, BC, free agent; Jesse Sawyer, Lethbridge, Alta., coach, Lethbridge Bulls.
Pat Scalabrini, Sherbrooke, Que., manager, Quebec Capitales; Matthew Shuber, general counsel, Blue Jays; Trevor Schumm, Edmonton, Alta., international scout Pacific Rim, Europe, Latin American cross checker, Padres; Gladwyn Scott, Manitoba Hall of Fame, Carberry, Man.; Claudette Scrafford, Hawkesbury, Ont., manuscript archivist, Hall of Fame, Cooperstown; Larry Scully, East York, Ont., pitching coach, Bradley University; Bill Shaikin, Montreal, Que., ball scribe, Los Angeles Times, Mike Shaw, Oakville, travelling secretary, Blue Jays; Meyer Shemtov, Barrie, Ont. scout, Colorado Rockies; Tony Siemens, Rosenort, Man., Baseball Manitoba.
John Silverman, Montreal, equipment manager, Marlins; Marie-Pierre Simard, La Beauce, Que., co-owner Les Capitales de Québec; Steve Simmons, Toronto, Ont, Toronto Sun; Jeff Simpson, Nashville, Tenn., scout, Milwaukee Brewers; Annakin Slayd, hip-hop, rap, pinch hit MC, passionate Expos fan; Paul Solarski, Toronto, Ont., head coach, Polish National Team; Ryan Snair, Margaret’s Bay, N.S., head coach, Sullivan County Community College; Bernie Soulliere, Windsor, Ont., chef de mission Team Canada, Baseball Ontario Hall of Famer; Chris Soulliere, Windsor, Ont., Windsor Selects; Matt Spatafora, Scarborough, Ont., assistant coach/recruiting coordinator, Niagara University.
Marnie Starkman, Mississauga, Ont., vice-president, marketing, Blue Jays; Sammie Starr, Toronto, Ont., assistant coach, University of British Columbia; Mike Steed, Burlington, Ont., pitching coach, manager 17U, Ontario Blue Jays; Brandon Steele, London, Ont., assistant coach, Tusculum College; Jay Stenhouse, Blue Jays, public relations; Ashley Stephenson, Mississauga, Ont., Team Canada women’s team; Dale Stevens, Dundas, Ont. MLB.com; Andy Stewart, Oshawa, Ont., Toronto Mets; John Stewart, Brighton, Ont., Co-ordinator ballpark and clubhouse operations, Vancouver Canadians; Andrew Stoeten, Torornto, Ont.; Blue Jays Nation; Charlie Strandlund, Victoria, BC, manager, Victoria Eagles; Andrew Swagers, director Father Mercredi Trappers Baseball Academy, Fort McMurray minor baseball; Jameson Taillon, The Woodlands, Tex., Pittsburgh Pirates.
Patrick Tardif, Dieppe, NB, coach, Team New Brunswick; Wes Taylor, Port Coquitlam BC, Coquitlam Reds; Nichole and Mike Tevlin, Toronto, Ont., co-owners The Baseball Zone, Ontario Terriers; Jesen Therrien, Montreal, Que., Dodgers system; Jason Thomasen, Brooks, Alta., president, Brooks Bombers; DJ Lauren (LO) Thompson, Toronto, Ont., Bellosound, blew doors off at Audi Mansion Dinner; Jordan Tiegs, Woodstock, Ont,, assistant coach Indiana State; Tom Tippett, Toronto, Ont., statistical analyst for three teams; Pete Toms, Ottawa, Ont., Baseball Digest Daily.
Rene Tosoni, Port Coquitlam, BC, hitting coach, class-A Florida Fire Flys (Braves); David Tredgett, executive producer live events, Rogers Communications; Jean Tremblay, Quebec City, Que. co-owner Les Capitales de Québec; Pierre Tremblay, Quebec City, Que., co-owner Les Capitales de Québec; Randy Town, Calgary, Alta., associate director for athletic operations and director of physical education Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges; Tom Valcke, St. Marys, coach, George Brown; Jimmy Van Ostrand, Richmond, BC, director of player minor league character/leadership development coach, Mariners; Ben Van Iderstine, Regina, Sask., hitting instructor, Inside Pitch Academy; Raul Verde Rios, Richmond, BC, Richmond City Chuckers; Melissa Verge, Titusville, NB, Canadian Baseball Network; Dan Vertlieb, Vancouver, BC, agent.
Allison Vickers, Trillium Health Centre, Queensway Health Centre; Carson Vitale, Victoria, BC, minor league field coordinator, Mariners; Scott VandeValk, coach, Ontario Terriers; Cam Walker, Winnipeg, Man., head coach, Indian Hills Community College; Doug Walton, producer, Sportsnet; Sean Wandler, Kamloops, BC, Kamloops River Dogs; David Watling, Miramichi, NB, president, Baseball New Brunswick; Tanner Watson, Arnprior, Ont. Watson Elite Academy, Rob Watt, Chemainus, BC, assistant coach, Mount Olive College; Gerry White, GM, North Delta Blue Jays, Cavanagh Whitely, Prince George BC, Douglas College; Mack Whitford, Maple Ridge, BC, Ridge Meadows Royals; Matt Whipple, Fredericton, NB, umpire, rookie-class Gulf Coast League.
Rowan Wick, North Vancouver, BC, Cardinals system, on 40-man roster; Justin Willard, Brampton, Ont., pitching coach class-A Cedar Rapids Kernels; Mark Wilson, Delta, BC, Nettex netting; Nigel Wilson, Ajax, Ont., Competitive Edge, Ontario Yankees; Steve Wilson, Victoria, BC, Pacific Rim supervisor, Yankees; Robert Witchel, Toronto, Ont., executive director, Jays Care Foundation; Joe Wiwchar, Morden, Man., museum administrative manager, Manitoba Hall of Fame; Eric Wood, Pickering, Ont., Pirates roster; Andrew Wright, Woodstock, N.B., head coach, University of Charleston; Bill Young, Hudson, Que., co-author Ecstasy to Agony: The 1994 Montreal Expos.
Bill Yuill, Medicine Hat, owner, Medford Rogues, West Coast summer league; LHP Rob Zastryzny, Edmonton, Alta., Cubs; Murray Zuk, Souris, Man. scout, Padres.
* * *
Previous most Influential Canadians in baseball:
2017: Joey Votto
2016: Joey Votto
2015: Alex Anthopoulos.
2014: Edward Rogers
2013: Blue Jays fans
2012: Paul Beeston
2011: Greg Hamilton
2010: Joey Votto
2009: Paul Beeston
2008: Paul Beeston
2007: Paul Godfrey, Greg Hamilton