By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
Despite his numbers in the Cactus League last spring, Joey Votto knew his swing needed work.
Looking back, the Cincinnati Reds first baseman knew that his swing was off, despite his numbers (25-for-55, .455).
“Think I hit about .460 but I was still not confident,” said Votto from Toronto this week. “I didn’t have a complete swing. I knew in April I would have to make adjustments ... then April 1 turns into April 30.”
A career .311 hitter entering the season, Votto looked up after a 5-1 loss in Pittsburgh to see that his average sat at .229. And it got worse: he was at .207 on May 29 and .213 when he woke up June 1.
“I didn’t feel like my swing was good or consistent until late June,” Votto said, “and it wasn’t where I really wanted it to be until mid-September ... to the point I could satisfy my employers and the guy in the mirror.”
The first baseman hit .319 in June, .413 in July, .394 in August and .389 the final month. After batting .252 in the first half, Votto hit .408 the second half.
A lot of guys would have said “not my year,” mailed it in and began thinking about off-season swing alterations. Especially someone on a 10-year $248 million US contract.
Not Votto, Through hard work, self-analysis of the slow starts of others and his coaches, Votto rebounded to lead the National League in on-base-average (.434, the fifth time in the last seven seasons) which is why Votto No. 1 in the Canadian Baseball Network’s choice as the 10th annual poll of the most influential Canadians in baseball. Votto also won in 2010.
* * *
Votto says he takes the same approach to hitting whether he was a teenager working out at Bob Smyth’s indoor facility, in the minors or in the majors during his MVP year.
“I’ve been successful because I’ve always done the same thing,” Votto said. “Be consistent, with a methodical, disciplined approach. It's been my saving grace. Thus far, that’s the only way I know.”
Hitting is the one baseball skill which can be practiced on a player’s own.
When not at the indoors facility, Votto was hitting indoors in his parents garage. Votto used to beat up balls in a garage hitting off a tee (either purchased for $12 or “borrowed” from Smyth). He brought a tiny heater -- which his family had bought for a power outage -- to keep himself warm.
He recalls how he would try to “glorify” his garage to a scene from Rocky III: Rocky, the champ, was going around kissing babies completely overwhelmed before he fights Mr. T (Clubber Lang). Meanwhile, Mr. T was training in a dimly lit gym and Mr. T wins. Said Votto; “it does not matter your environment.”
“I have been blessed in so many ways: having Bobby as my coach, getting to play at a beautiful ball park like Connorvale in the summer, hitting indoors at Bobby’s facility, playing at Richview and having people help me along the way,” Votto said. “It always ends up being the same: emphasizing the details, repetition and eventually you work out the kinks.”
* * *
Yes Votto has heard the stories: about being traded to Toronto. “How do those start?” he asks. He said Blue Jays players would text him asking “What’s going on, you coming over here?”
It’s still a common subject even since the season ended whether he was in Florida, Ohio or home in Toronto.
“It’s a compliment, everyone wants to feel wanted in life, it comes up so often it's like a running joke,” he says. “I don’t get recognized at all in Toronto, when I’m home my friends have brought it up the last couple of years.
“I’ve heard that there was serious discussions, then Edwin Encarnacion didn’t resign ... it’s a compliment I grew up eight kilometers from the SkyDome. I could bike it in 20 minutes. The fact is I’m playing in Cincinnati and I love playing there.”
After an opening two months in which he scuffled like never before, Votto has decided to sit out the World Baseball Classic after playing in the previous two.
* * *
People forget Votto didn’t follow the route of the best Canadians since 1998: he didn’t play for the Canadian Junior National Team, he wasn’t drafted out of grade 12 and he wasn’t a first-round pick.
“I was a late bloomer, an OAC (grade 13) draft,” Votto said. “I hope kids realize that we have a lot of common ground. All the years how some said I wouldn’t made it. In baseball you have a chance once you get outdoors in the spring and summer.
“I speak French so it helps if the average ball player from across Canada feels connected. We’re one in the same.”
Votto pointed out how players from southern California, Florida and Arizona are playing in the NHL, led by Auston Matthews of Scottsdale, Az.
“He’s a superstar, it can be the same in baseball,” Votto said. “Players like Russell Martin, Brett Lawrie, Justin Morneau and Michael Saunders continue to motivate.”
He also had one of the better lines of the year discussing his season and his defence with Cincy reporters:
“Personally, until Mike Trout came into the league, I thought every year that I would be in the conversation for best player in the game, and he messed that up for everybody -- Babe Ruth and Ted Williams included,” Votto said. “You can’t be in that conversation unless you do every aspect of the game, and I love competing against the best, and it’s something I take a lot of pride in and it’s something I think I fell a little bit short on this year.”
* * *
Previous most Influential Canadians in baseball:
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
* * *
And now on with the list ...
1. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds (3).
After striking 57 times in the first two months, Votto has trimmed his strikeouts -- 70 in the last four months -- and raised his average from .213 to .309. Since June 1, his on-base average is .482 (best in the majors), raising it from .330 to .434.
He hit .408 in the second half hitting .400 hadn’t been done in majors for 12 years. The last to bat .400 after the break was Ichiro Suzuki for the Seattlee Mariners in 2004.
2. Russell Martin, Blue Jays (6).
There is a bylaw amongst the myriad of WBC rules (pitch counts, playing time, what uniforms can be worn) that reads if a player has had surgery during the offseason, if he spent a certain number of days on the disabled list the club has a right to object based on chronic conditions clause. Martin had a scope done on his left knee after the season. It was an easy way out. Yet Martin will play in the WBC this March, some catching, some infield.
Martin has reached post-season play nine times in his 11 seasons -- with the Los Angeles Dodgers (three times), New York Yankees (two), Pittsburgh Pirates (two) and the Blue Jays (two) -- in the majors playing a Canadian record of 57 games. His single off Ryan Merritt in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series was the 36th in his career, moving past Tip O’Neill. Martin, 34, is entering his third year on his five-year contract.
3. Greg Hamilton, Baseball Canada (11).
The director of national teams put together Canada’s entry into March’s World Baseball Classic. Four years ago Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, Tex.) pitched so well against Team USA, which leaves Seattle Mariners LHP James Paxton (Ladner, BC) as the next best option. Hamilton will likely have rounded up a deep bullpen for manager Ernie Whitt when its roster is announced Jan. 14 at the annual Baseball Canada fund raiser.
Hamilton (Peterborough, Ont.) coaches the national junior program -- which the MLB Scouting Bureau tells other countries to emulate -- and in June 27 Canucks were selected, 18 are current or former members of the program. Canada did not compete in any international competitions and as a result dropped two spots in the ranking to No. 8 in the world. They have a chance to increase that ranking next fall when Thunder Bay hosts the Worlds.
4. Farhan Zaidi, Dodgers GM, (8).
Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten has plenty of former GMs on staff: Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations; Josh Byrnes, senior vice president; Alex Anthopoulos, assistant GM; Ned Colletti, senior advisor to the President; Gerry Hunsicker, special advisor to the GM, Tommy Lasorda, special advisor to the chairman; Ellen Harrigan, director, baseball administration and Zaidi.
Who does what? We asked someone in LA and were told it “would be easier to explain how to split an atom.”
Zaidi (Sudbury, Ont.) remains the only man with the actual title of GM, although he clearly is second in baseball operations behind Friedman. From the way they speak, Zaidi is the trained analyst, providing value in sizing up one player vs. another. Friedman sets the general strategy and has the final say.
All the Dodgers did at the winter meetings was sign Rich Hill to a three-year $48 million deal, while waiting to sign closer Kenley Jansen and third baseman Justin Turner.
5. Edward Rogers, deputy chairman, Rogers Communications (2).
Edward Rogers was spotted on the Rogers Centre turf this season: Rogers at Rogers Centre, the ball yard which bears a statue outside in memory of his father Ted. Edward provided stability for president Mark Shapiro during his first full season as Guy Laurence, president and CEO of Rogers Communications, stepped down in October, replaced by interim president and CEO Alan Horn.
One day Laurence was in his office and the next day he and his five-minute rule were gone. Eventually former Telus CEO Joe Natale will take over for Horn. Will the man with the Telus background keep Rogers in the media business? Who knows Telus has not before. The company showed increased revenue from the Jays but as one Rogers vice-president said in describing how the Jays fit into company’s corporate structure. “Well, if you see the company as full-grown six-foot man, including wireless, TV, radio, the ball club is the size of a finger nail.”
6. Buddy Black, manager, Colorado Rockies (-).
His father Harry was born in the Edmonton area and his mother in Melville, Sask. In 1938, the UCLA athletic director decided to have a hockey program and headed to Canada to recruit. Scouting the Olds Elks he found Black, who post-UCLA went on to skate for the Los Angeles Monarchs and the Hollywood Wolves in the Southern California Association and Southern California League until 1948.
Harry Ralston Black pitched in three games for the 1990 Blue Jays, where he registered two of his 121 career wins. He managed the San Diego Padres nine seasons, including one of his faves C Chris Robinson (Dorchester, Ont.) in 2013. The Washington Nationals were set to hire Black a year ago but announced the deal before a contract had been agreed upon. They hired Dusty Baker instead.
7. Joel Wolfe, agent, Wasserman Group (7).
Wolfe, who has a summer home in Ayer’s Cliff, Que., grew up drinking Bull’s Head ginger ale made by a company dating to 1896 and John Henry Bryant, an Eastern Townships brewer in Richmond, Que. Wolfe graduated from UCLA, attended Bishop’s University and is the only member of his family born south of the border. Wolfe represents long ball hitters: both home run champs Nolan Arenado in the NL, Mark Trumbo in the NL and the home run derby champ Giancarlo Stanton.
And Wolfe looks after pitchers: Japanese imports Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48) of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Hisashi Iwakuma (16-12, 4.12) with the Seattle Mariners were outstanding and now Yu Darvish back from Tommy John entering his free agent year, when there are not a lot of elite starting pitchers for 2017. Noted drone pilot/right-hander Trevor Bauer (12-8, 4.26) broke out with the Cleveland Indians.
His brother, Dr. Mitchell Wolfe, is with the Centers of Disease Control which carries a Naval rank and he was recently promoted to Admiral. Born in Montreal, the future doc moved to California at age five.
8. Larry Walker, Hall of Fame candidate (10).
The whole knock against Walker when it comes to the Hall of Fame voting is the fact he played “at Coors Field.” Walker only played 597 games at Coors, according to Adam Darowski. Walker played in 1,996 games in his career and only 30% of them actually were played in Denver. He was only a Rockie for 9 1/2 of his 17 seasons. He started his career in Montreal where he had a 128 OPS+ from ages 22 to 27. Then he finished his career with a season and a half in St. Louis where his OPS+ was 134. The guy hit everywhere he went, from the first day of his career until his last.
Many have played at Coors Field, but none dominated quite like Walker. Walker’s OPS in Coors was 1.172. Todd Helton’s, meanwhile, was 1.048. Barry Bonds even sits behind Walker at 1.162. Only Sammy Sosa can boast a higher OPS — but he played in 551 fewer games.
The Maple Ridge, BC native was named on 15.5% of the ballots in 2016, but had more than that in the first 111 public votes -- if they can indicate a trend. Walker made his debut with 20.3% of the vote in 2011, then 22.9%, 21.6% and in 2014 fell to 10.2% as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were elected and in 2015 had 11.8%. This is his sixth year of eligibility.
9. Dr. Dana Sinclair, sport psychologist (-).
Over the years Dr. Sinclair has tested and accessed 100s of Los Angeles Dodgers employees at Vero Beach or Camelback Ranch in Arizona or on the phone from her Toronto office. The Dodgers had a good year and so did the sport psychologist’s players she knows: Corey Seager, tested before the 2012 draft, won rookie of the year honors; Kenley Jansen, who she has known since Vero Beach days when he was a catcher, won the NL Hoffman/Rolaids award and Dave Roberts, interviewed during the managerial hiring process, won NL manager of the year honors.
Vancouver born, Sinclair met NHLer Bobby Clarke at the Nagono Olympics where the former captain of the Canadian Field hockey team was advising Canucks. That led to Brian Burke’s Anaheim Ducks, which led to Ned Colletti’s Dodgers. And Sinclair has also worked for the Detroit Lions, Calgary Flames and Portland Trail Blazers, as well as dealing with pro athletes including Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
10. Pat Gillick, senior advisor, Phillies (13).
He served on the 16-member Hall of Fame-appointed Today’s Game era ballot in December, which elected former Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz and former commissioner Bud Selig. Also on the committee were Hall of Famers Robbie Alomar, Bobby Cox, Andre Dawson, Dennis Eckersley, Ozzie Smith, Don Sutton and Frank Thomas; executives Paul Beeston (Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), David Glass (Royals), Andy MacPhail (Phillies) and Kevin Towers (Reds) plus veteran media members/historians Bill Center (San Diego), Steve Hirdt (New York) and Tim Kurkjian (Baltimore).
A Canadian citizen, the Hall of Famer now lives in Birmingham, Mich. near his daughter Kim, husband David and grandson Cooper. Gillick was presented with the Roland Hemond Award for achievement in scouting and player development at the Baseball America Awards Gala at National Harbor, MD. Before Gillick began his own acceptance remarks, he honored Schuerholz, who was in the audience. Gillick, architect of the Jays’ back-to-back World Series wins, the Phillies’ 2008 champions and Seattle’s 116-win team in 2001, thanked scouts and player-development people.
11. Bob McCown, host, Prime Time Sports (15).
There are reasons that calls on the first hour of McCown’s show remain mostly baseball despite we are in Maple Leafs and Raptors season. Besides the Jays their own selves, the reasons are guests (Beeston, Anthopoulos, etc.) and McCown his own self. No one can be rougher on the Rogers suits or more accurate giving insight than McCown.
“There may not be anyone in Canadian radio that has the impact and influence Bob has,” said Mike Gentile, McCown’s producer from 1998-2006, a competitor at TSN and now at The Weather Network. “Managers, executives, owners and commissioners have all at some point gone out of their way to be on the show or NOT to be on the show. That’s power.
“Most shows reach out for comment and lure guests to make appearances. With McCown, it’s a platform that big names seek out. It got to the point where people were calling us instead. Bob could be friendly but he was nobody’s friend. He had the ability to do things only the Howard Sterns of the world can do.”
12. Alex Anthopoulos, vice president baseball operations, Dodgers (1).
We not sure exactly his duties are in the crowded Dodgers front office, but we know he works side by side with Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi. We know a few things the Montreal native left behind when he moved to the coast: Josh Donaldson, acquired for in a trade with the Oakland A’s, was the Jays player of the year in 2016 and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., who he signed, is the No. 1 prospect in the organization heading into next season. After the Jays had scouted Guerrero, Anthopoulos was told New Year’s Eve 2014 he had to fly to the Dominican. So on New Year’s Day he flew Toronto-Miami-Santo Domingo where scout Ismael Cruz took him to meet Guerrero’s mother, a Dominican who moved to Montreal with her parents when she was young and returned to the Dominican. The two spoke French to each other.
It was the start of a beautiful relationship which allowed the Jays to sign Guerrero on July 2, 2015 and now he’s ranked the Jays No. 1 prospect by Baseball America. When Anthopoulos took over running the Jays after the Mutiny in Maryland they were a 75-win team with 1.9 million in attendance. The last two seasons they reached post-season play and were fourth at the gate last year (2.8 million) and first (3.4 million) this season.
13. Paul Beeston, former president, Jays (4).
There was great fanfare when the Jays announced that Beeston was returning in September as president emeritus. Fact is he has had his same office and same parking spot since Mark Shapiro took over at the end of the 2015 season, basically he never left gave up his office or his parking spot since they moved in during June of 1989.
We’re told that the Welland, Ont. native is a sounding board for the Cleveland Crew -- president Mark Shapiro, GM Ross Atkins and executive vice-president, business operations Andrew Miller -- and had a supporting role in the Sportsnet classic documentary: Shapiro. Miller moved his office across the hall into the old Founder’s Club, the new hangouut for the Cleveland Crew.
14. Fergie Jenkins, Hall of Famer (18).
This fall the names of the many Cubs Hall of Famers were mentioned: those who were not around to see the franchise win for the first time in 108 years -- Ernie Banks, Frank Chance, Ron Santo -- and those who played all those years without a title: Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams and Jenkins.
The Hall of Fame pitcher from Chatham, Ont., played the majority of his 19 major-league seasons with the Cubs. He was signing autographs at a store opening in Knoxville, Tenn., the day of Game 7 -- a man has to earn a living ... Jenkins earned roughly $1.4 million US in his career, according to baseball-reference, peaking at $300,000 in 1982. He flew home to Phoenix and made it inside his home in Anthem by the fifth inning, so he was there to see Joe Maddon manage -- well sort of -- the Cubs to an 8-7, 10-inning win over the Cleveland Indians.
Jenkins, who threw 267 complete games, unlike the post-season starters. He was first with 3,000 or more strikeouts while allowing fewer than 1,000 walks. He fanned 3,192, while walking 997. Hall of Famers Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and Greg Maddux (999 walks) reached the same plateaus.
15. Jerry Howarth, broadcaster, Jays (17).
If there was any doubt of Howarth’s popularity it was evident in November when news broke he was headed for cancer surgery to remove a small tumor in his prostate. The outpouring of well wishers on Facebook, Twitter and personal emails slugged “Please wish Mr. Howarth well ...” were through the roof. The voice of the Jays since 1982, Howarth went public with his surgery when asked his cancer specialist, Dr. Robert Nam of Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto, to determine the best method for prostate cancer screening, raise public awareness and help save lives.
Howarth heard from well over 500 people in one way or another including ex-Jays going back to the 1980’s like Jesse Barfield, players in the early ’90’s like Ed and Kristen Sprague to former basketball players he coached over the past 25 years -- five at Islington Middle School, 20 at Etobicoke Collegiate. He heard from the Melchiorre brothers who he coached in the 1990’s Jordan, Christian and Luke. He had not heard from Jordan since 1995. He heard from Gabi Roth in Frankfurt, Germany, who he met in the U.S. Army as an officer at V Corps Headquarters from 1968-1970 via Facebook.
The Etobicoke resident became a Canadian citizen in April of 1994 and by our count, has worked more than 5,187 regular-season games since he began filling in for Hall of Famer Early Wynn in 1981. The late Tom Cheek worked 4,306 consecutive games. Howarth was honoured by Sports Media Canada for his broadcasting work at the Royal York and he gave a great speech honoring his wife Mary, or as we call her St. Mary.
16. Kylie Bunbury, actor (-).
Bunbury plays the first woman, Ginny Baker, to make the majors in the FOX-TV series Pitch, which also airs on Global. Born in Hamilton, Bubury played soccer, track and basketball. Reading for this role she started watching MLB Network, reading baseball books and being taught mechanics by former reliever Gregg Olson. Her mound actions were so sound and the show so realistic a woman called 98.1 CHFI-FM -- after her Petro Park with the San Diego Padres. The question why had news of the first woman pitcher in the majors not been included in the sportscast.
Bunbury, 27, is the daughter of retired soccer player Alex Bunbury, who was born in Guyana and played for the Hamilton Steelers, Toronto Blizzard, Montreal Supra, West Ham United, Maritime and Kansas City Spurs from 1987-2000. He is a Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum inductee.
17. Dan Shulman, broadcaster, ESPN, Sportsnet, TSN (19).
“And the next pitch to Martinez, a swing and a slow chopper toward third ... Here comes Bryant on to first AND THE CUBS HAVE WON THE WORLD SERIES! ... A moment that many thought might never happen, has happened here in Cleveland. For the first time in 108 years the Chicago Cubs are World Series champions.” _ And that’s how Shulman told his ESPN audience the news.
The voice of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, Shulman shared the booth this season with Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza. The Toronto native and Sports Illustrated’s play-by-play man of the decade had almost as good news for Jays fans as he did for Cubs fans. He was back in the Jays broadcast booth for 30 games (although after winning the rights Rogers didn’t pick up post-season play for the second October due to costs). Smooth, articulate and insightful he added a lot. It was a double Schulmans night some games at Rogers Centre as son Matthew worked as an intern in the Jays crack P.R. office.
18. John Ircandia, managing director, Okotoks Dawgs (21).
The 2017 season will be the Dawgs 10th anniversary season and it will be full of many celebrations starting with the annual Jan. 28th Hall of Fame banquet. As the Western Major League expanded by two teams, the Dawgs drew 76,571, an average of 2,918 per game (compared to 70,027 in 2015) the fourth best amongst 169 summer league teams in attendance ranked by Baseball Digest. The Madison Mallards of the Northwest League led the way averaging 6,039), followed by the Savannah Bananas (3,659), Elmira Pioneers 3,384) and Okotoks (3,329).
Jim Henderson pitched out of the New York Mets bullpen this summer and is the most illustrious grad of Ircandia’s program which began as his sons were young (Matt and Vince Ircandia) and has just kept getting larger. When his son Matt, made the Canadian Junior National team pop searched for pitching instruction and had to go Vancouver to find Brent Crowther. Now, the Dawgs young arms learn from Lou Pote, who spent 129 games in the majors, plus 14 seasons in the minors; Joe Sergent, who attended Lamar University, plus 11 years in the minors and Jeff Duda (Surrey, BC) who was at Lewis-Clark State and four seasons in the minors.
Coach Allen Cox’s Dawgs lost in the finals of Perfect Game academy World Series in March to Faith Baptist, won the Best of West beating the Langley Blaze in finals and the Big League Experience tourneys, while the bantam and midgets lost in the provincial finals.
19. Jonah Keri, writer, ESPN.com (41).
Maybe he should be a lot higher. Or maybe he should be a little bit lower. This list since the start has been based on Canadians and how much influence they have in the current calendar year. We won’t know how influential he has been until Jan. 18 when the 2017 Hall of Fame voting results are finalized. But Keri is all in with his Rock the Hall campaign to get Raines elected. After Grantland, he moved on and it matter whether he was on CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, MLB Network or Nerdist, where you can find his podcast, he campaigns fiercely for Raines as any of those TV types did the last year a half leading up to the US election.
The Montrealer, who wrote the wonderful book “Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos” is trying to add a chapter. My third year covering the Expos was Raines’ rookie year. I voted for him a 10th time this month. Hopefully Keri is backing a winning horse in this the outfielder’s 10th and final time on the ballot. Raines had 69.8% of the vote last year yet on Ryan Thibodaux’s voting tracker he has 90.4% through the first 129 ballots made public.
20. Kyle Boddy, Driveline Baseball (-)
In the baseball world it’s velocity, velocity, VELOCITY! And few teach it better that Boady. He was born in Cleveland, to his Toronto-born father. Boady runs an indoor facility at Kent, Wash. is very active on Twitter (@drivelinebases).
Self-taught, he did tons of his research, read medical journals, searched to the end of the internet and purchased almost everything on the market. Driveline is respected from sandlot coaches to college level (endorsed by College World Series champion Coastal Carolina) to the pros for its use of weighted balls as well as data-driven analysis using Trackman/Rapsodo to find the truth about how pitchers really spin the ball.
Cleveland Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer is a Driveline believer and so is Casey Weathers, 31, who a free agent who has battled back from multiple elbow surgeries to throw upper 90s again in the minors. He’ll be speaking at the Best Ever clinic Jan. 20-22 at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel.
21. Arlene Anderson, CEO Sam Bat (22).
In the spring, founder Sam Holman and Anderson went to Miami to connect with Miami Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds who is now actively representing the brand. Marcel Ozuna was introduced to the Sam Bat brand by Bonds and Ozuna used a replica of a Bonds bat. Giancarlo Stanton ordered but borrowed an Ozuna bat to win the home run derby at the all-star game.
The Sam Bat client roster includes the likes of NL MVP Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Jason Kipnis, Nelson Cruz, Adam Lind, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun, Gary Sanchez, Ryan Howard, Elvis Andrus and Stanton. For the first time the company expanded to minor league players for a grand total of 289 Major and Minor League Players. The lone Blue Jays slugger who uses Sam Bat? Marco Estrada.
The 2016 year was Sam Bat’s best sales year to date -- labeling and photos created minor media stars of the staff with social media posts -- as online sales worldwide increased with a doubling of Canadian sales. The bat was chosen to be in MLB The SHOW again and is the official bat of the Australian League. Sam Bat is working on a licensing deal with Sheng-chih Lin of Kaulin Sports of Taiwan.
22. Ron Tostenson, national cross checker, Cubs (44).
He earned his third World Series ring -- two with the 1992-93 Blue Jays -- as the Cubs won Game 7. OF George (Twinketoes) Selkirk (Huntsville, Ont.) won six (1936-1939, 1941-42) with the New York Yankees. Along with ex-Jays and Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken, they drafted amateurs like Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Matt Szczur and Albert Almora, plus Addison Russell as a minor leaguer, were all spraying champagne in Cleveland as the Cubs won for the first time in 108 years.
Totenson (Kelowna, BC) played a role in drafting Schwarber -- $3.125 million bonus. He and was involved in grabbing DJ LeMahieu in 2009, dealt to the Colorado Rockies, the NL batting champ in 2016. And he had a voice in the room when it came time to select LHP Rob Zastryzny (Edmonton, Alta.), who was 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA with the Cubs and combined to go 10-5 with a 4.31 ERA at Triple A Iowa and Double A, Tennessee.
They also drafted LHP Ryan Kellogg (Whitby, Ont.) who was 9-7, 3.03 at South Bend. The Cubs also have 3B Jesse Hodges (Victoria, BC) and OF Michael Foster, (Pickering, Ont.) in their system.
23. Andrew Tinnish, assistant GM, Jays (23).
Unlike some holdovers in the Toronto regime who were asked to leave, Tinnish is held in high regard and had a heck of a year. The former scouting director had two of his draft choices appear at the all-star game in San Diego: Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard. He also selected the likes of Justin Nicolino, Marcus Stroman, Kevin Pillar, Daniel Norris, Dalton Pompey, Anthony DeSclafani, Sam Dyson, Joe Musgrove, Andy Burns, Daniel Barnes, Sean Nolin, David Rollins and Asher Wojciekowski, He also drafted school-bound Kris Bryant.
Rather than being involved in day-to-day operations Tinnish covered Latin America signing a number of players for $300,000 since the Jays were maxed out after the Vlad Guerrero signing. He signed 3B Joseph Reyes from the Dominican Republic and RHP Elixon Caballero of Venezuela.
24. Stubby Clapp, manager, triple-A Memphis (26).
A lot of people -- on and off the field -- left the Jays this season. This was a no doubter: Clapp, the new hitting coach at triple-A Buffalo was all set to replace Richie Hebner, former Bisons’ hitting coach. Then he departed for the St. Louis Cardinals organization to manage triple-A Memphis. It’s a promotion and Auto Zone Stadium already has Clapp’s name hanging on its outfield wall.
In 2007, Clapp’s jersey was the first number retired by the Memphis Redbirds, who commemorated the event by painting Clapp’s No. 10 on the wall above the Redbirds’ bullpen at AutoZone Park. He is second alltime for the Redbirds for games played (425) and hits (418) playing four seasons 1999-2002 aside from a 23-game stint with St. Louis. He managed two seasons with the class-A Tri City ValleyCats in 2011-12 in the Houston system compiling 84-67 (.556) record.
25. Jeffrey Royer, general partner, Arizona Diamondbacks (21).
His Diamondbacks won the off season (Zach Greinke) and then went out and won 69 games. Yet the Diamondbacks also won June -- north of the border. Thanks to scouts Tim Wilken and Doug Mathieson (Langley, BC) Arizona drafted five players, including the top high schooler C Andrew Yerzy (Toronto, Ont.) of the Toronto Mets. The Diamondbacks came to town after second-round pick Yerzy. Yerzy took batting practice with the Diamondbacks before the Arizona-Jays game.
And then Yerzy, along with his parents Patricia Wong and David Yerzy, were entertained in Royer’s suite at the Rogers Centre as Yasmany Tomas and Peter O’Brien homered for Arizona. A good time was had by all including Royer, a long-time Shaw exec and Dbacks co-owner, plus the new Arizona employee and his parents, as the DBacks scored a 4-2 win over the Rogers Communications-owned Blue Jays. The $1,214,100 US signing bonus was the 11th highest ever given a Canadian.
26. Wayne Norton, scout, Mariners (27).
Norton went were only no scout has gone before. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys. Only the late Jim Ridley (Burlington, Ont.) who scouted for the Blue Jays and the Twins had been inducted before Norton to join players, executives and builders. Like any scout Norton is used to fighting rain delays, flight delays, construction detours and starting pitchers being scratched. Yet he was also fighting ALS and gave his speech from a wheel chair, with his trusted assistant scout and wife Trudith by his side holding his speech.
It was Norton’s idea to create the Junior National Team program, an idea he picked up from a Vancouver woman on the national junior badminton team. Norton (Port Moody, BC) signed the likes of OF Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC), LHP James Paxton (Ladner, BC) and OF Michael Saunders (Victoria, BC), who homered three times, knocking in eight runs against the Baltimore Orioles the night before induction ceremonies.
27. Don Cherry, Hockey Night in Canada (9).
Cherry (Kingston, Ont. -- Canada’s first capital and some say it still should be) didn’t get anyone elected to the All-Star team as he did in 2015 with 3B Josh Donaldson. Yet no one signifies Canadiana more than Cherry, so there he and Gregg Zaun were in dueling understated Maple Leaf sports jackets on Canada Day.
When the playoffs end Cherry returns to one of his childhood loves. He was headed to a Brooklyn Dodgers tryout camp when he slid into second and broke his ankle ending his baseball aspirations. And his father Del Cherry of the famed Kingston Ponies was considered one of the two best athletes in Kingston (1900-1950). The man knows the game, or rather it should be -- this game too. He has big fans on this list led by the twin No. 33s Larry Walker and Justin Morneau.
28. Jim Stevenson, area scout, Astros (24).
The former Leaside coach finally allowed some of the other Astros scouts to have a turn this June. In the 40-round draft, nine players were his selections -- eight of whom signed -- including a pair of Canucks from Seminole State: Abraham Toro-Hernandez (Greenfield Park, Que.) and Louis Pelletier (Montreal, Que.). Toro-Hernandez, a fifth rounder who signed for $250,000 competed and held his own, showing great defense. He hit from both sides of the plate batting .249, with 19 RBIs at rookie-class Greenville and showed a cannon of an arm, while Pelletier, a 20th rounder signed for $60,000. He also signed Carson Larue, Cowley County, and four college seniors.
While his draft, Dallas Keuchel only made 26 starts due to injury, Stevenson has three more at double-A Corpus Christi coming: CF Ramon Laureano a 16th round choice in 2004, hit .319 combined between class-A Lancaster and Double A, with 28 doubles, seven triples, 15 homers, and 73 RBIs, leading all of the minors with a .428 on base percentage, and stole 43 bases; SS Antonio Nunez, an 18th rounder, who hit .259 with 32 RBIs and 21 steals; RHP Dean Deetz, an 11th rounder, with a power arm sitting at 94-96 MPH with 103 strikeouts in 105 1/3 innings.
29. Jeff Mallett, part owner, San Francisco Giants (25).
Mallett joined the Giants eight-person executive committee in 2002 and has World Series rings from 2010, 2012 and 2014. Besides owning Comcast Sports Net, the group owns land around AT&T which is slated to become a $1.6-billion entertainment district. He Joined Yahoo Inc. in 1995, as its No. 2 executive and 11th employee leaving in 2002.
The Victoria, BC native also owns the the Vancouver Whitecaps. After a year at University of Victoria, attending Santa Rosa Junior College and San Francisco State University he now lives south of San Francisco.
30. Allan Simpson, Perfect Game Scouting Service (52).
The man who founded Baseball America has written a book on what else -- the draft. Simpson has released a paperback entitled Baseball America’s Ultimate Draft Book: The Most Comprehensive Book Ever Published on the Baseball Draft: 1965-2016. With the draft 50 years old he chronicled the history of the draft in this 766-page reference book.
Elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (Kelowna, BC) he took over for the late Randy Echlin heading the Hall of Fame selection committee. The BA draft book covers draft stories, the biggest hits and misses in draft history. The book includes a complete team by team draft list, with who signed, who didn’t, who reached the big leagues and who washed out and the signing bonuses from the early days of the draft.
31. Doug Mathieson, GM Langley Blaze/Diamondbacks scout (62).
Somewhere during the draft of 2016 more than one Canadian scout said the same thing: “fill yer hat!” Mathieson was Mr. Active. The Diamondbacks scouting staff led by super scout Tim Wilken, area scout Mathieson and associate scout George Halim drafted four players. Mathieson scooped the top high schooler in C Andrew Yerzy (Toronto Ont.) of the Toronto Mets in the second round; RHP Curtis Taylor (Port Coquitlam, BC) of the University of British Columbia in the fourth; RHP Jake Polancic (Langley, BC) in the 11th and C Luke Van Rycheghem (Kent Bridge, Ont.) in the 23rd.
Arizona gave Yerzy a $1,214,100 signing bonus while Taylor received $496,000, Polanic $100,000 and Van Rycheghem $100,000. And the next Canuck on the horizon is Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC) who played for Mathieson and Jamie Bodolay with the Blaze. He has 56 homers the last two seasons with class-A Bakersfield and double-A Jackson in the Seattle Mariners organization and he will play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic.
32. Rob Thomson, bench coach, Yankees (31).
Thomson displayed plenty of influence when the Yankees came to the Rogers Centre. The 1984 Olympic team -- Canada’s first which beat eventual winner Japan -- had a reunion, gathering at a downtown restaurant on Sunday and had hoped to throw out the first pitch Monday. That didn’t work but Thomson had Yankees P.R. boss arrange for 18 field passes. And during batting practice out came 15 players wearing red and white Canada jerseys -- led by Rob Heisler (Moose Jaw, Sask.) and Steve Wilson (Victoria, BC) as well as manager Eric MacKenzie (Courtright, Ont.) and coaches Brian McRobie (Brockville, Ont.) and Dick Groch (Mount Pleasant, Mich.) along with OF Doug McPhail (Brandon, Man.), C Jim Eliopoulos (Toronto, Ont.), SS Tom Nelson (Windsor, Ont.), OF Hank Andrulis (Etobicoke, Ont.), RHP Michael Carnegie (York, Ont.) and C Larry Downes (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.) to name a few on the Rogers Centre carpet.
The off-season resident of Stratford, Thomson is in his 28th season with the Yankees. He’s been in Pin Stripes longer than Derek Jeter and he now has won five World Series rings, one more than George (Twinketoes) Selkirk (Huntsville, Ont.), who won in 1936-39 and 1941. Thomson won his first four as minor-league field co-ordinator when he ran spring training for Joe Torre and again as a coach for Joe Girardi in 2009.
33. Maury Gostfrand, agent (28).
You could say he has an impressive stable. He has enough talent to start his own network. Let’s see: the league leader in information Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and the MLB Network; Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated and MLB Network, the best feature read in the business and now out-STAND-ing on TV as well; America’s guest Kevin Millar, the former Blue Jay, who carries the MLB Network’s Intentional Talk on his back and TSN analyst Steve Phillips who did the wonderful piece on Pat Gillick and Willie Aikens (crank up the Google machine kids) to start with.
An Expo fan, he grew up in thhe Chomedey area of Montreal before moving to North Miami Beach, runs Vision Sports Group and has 59 announcers from all sports. He also represents Hall of Famer Don Sutton, John Kruk, Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, BC), Dave Campbell, Mark Mulder and Jim Bowden.
34. Chris Mears pitching cross checker, Red Sox (33).
Mears scouted Boston’s No. 1 pick OF Andrew Benintendi, seventh overall in 2015 from the Arkansas Razorbacks, who received a $3.59 million bonus and appeared in 34 games with Boston this year. And also OF Jeremy Hazelbaker, who made his debut with Ball State, who played in 114 games with the St. Louis Cardinals.
After being an scout from 2008-15, the Ottawa native was promoted by new boss Dave Dombrowksi as a pitching cross checker ... seeing over 100 pitchers this year for the draft. This year Boston drafted Jason Groome, who went first over-all, Shaun Anderson, third round, Mike Shawaryn, fifth, Stephen Nogosek, sixth, Brady Bramlett, 13th, Jeff Belge, 32nd and Carter Henry 40th.
35. Terry McKaig, director of baseball, UBC (66).
McKaig moved into the new position after stepping aside as head coach of the Thunderbirds in 2015 with a 548-353-1 in 18 seasons with seven league playoff championships, an NAIA Super Regional title and four coach of the year honors. In all 20 players led by UBC Hall of Famer Jeff Francis (North Delta, BC), selected ninth overall by Colorado in 2002 were drafted during his time.
Former Vancouver Canadians 1B Chris Pritchett ran the TBirds for a second season and while McKaig was raising money, making plans to alter the diamond and getting the new indoor facility operational ... it was a very good June. UBC had three players drafted: RHP Curtis Taylor (Port Coquitlam, BC), fourth round, Arizona Diamondbacks; RHP Alex Webb (Surrey, BC), ninth, Cincinnati Reds and 1B Bruce Yari (Waterloo, Ont.) 24th, Reds; while RHP Jeremy Newton (Toronto, Ont.) signed with the Brewers as a free agent.
36. Doug Melvin, senior advisor, Brewers (12).
The former GM -- 13 seasons as the Brewers boss, eight running the Texas Rangers -- spent the season advising on any matter of decision made by new GM David Stearns, but he was not involved in the main decision making loop.
A Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, the man who used to throw him winter bullpens in the same Chatham, Ont. gym as Fergie Jenkins, has been spotted scouting minor leaguers. This summer he dropped in to see the talent assembled at class-A Dunedin.
37. Fred Wray, agent (29).
The former Canadian National Team right-hander represents C Jason Castro, the free agent who signed a three-year $24.5 million contract with the Minnesota Twins, RHP Matt Shoemaker, who won the Nick Adenhart award as the Los Angeles Angels most valuable pitcher and RHP Garrett Richards, the Angels opening day starter. He made six starts and pitched to a 2.34 ERA before going down to injury.
Wray (Calgary, Alta.) works for Independent Sports & Entertainment agency which represents 1B Logan Morrison (.238, 14, 43) of the Tampa Bay Rays, C Mitch Garver, a double-A Southern League all-star, added to Minnesota’s 40-man roster this fall, LHP AJ Puk, drafted sixth in June by the Oakland A’s and LHP Charlie Furbush of the Seattle Mariners, who missed 2016 due to injury.
38. Walt Burrows, scout, Twins (15).
After years of evaluating Canucks from coast to coast and filing reports to all 30 teams, the respected Burrows now works for the Twins. The Phillies also were interested in hiring him.
Burrows is the strong silent type but each year at the end of the draft we’d call and ask “how many you got?” And the answer would be 29 or 31 or whatever the total number of Canadians drafted. Some years we’d be off by one and the total was corrected (and five days later we’d find out about a Canadian who moved south at a young age). This year out of habit we called Burrows (Brentwood Bay, BC) and he answered “two.” Burrows landed the top high school right-hander RHP Jordan Balazovic (Mississauga, Ont.) in the fifth round for $515,000 and LHP Matt Jones (Whitby, Ont.) in the 28th for $70,000. .
39. Dave McKay, coach, Diamondbacks (37).
McKay coaches first and looks after Arizona’s outfield and base running instruction. In his fourth season with the Diamondbacks and 33rd on a big-league staff. This year, Arizona was third in the majors with 137 stolen bases, two behind Cincinnati (139). He coached first on three World Series championship clubs: 1989 A’s and 2006 and 2011 Cardinals.
McKay served on Tony La Russa’s staff for 27 straight seasons (1984-2011), including 16 straight with the A’s (1989-95) and Cardinals (1996-2011) after he began his coaching career as a player-coach in Oakland system in 1983. And for 2015-16, La Russa ran the Diamondbacks.
40. Mike McRae, coach, Canisius (32).
McRae took over a team that won four games in 2004 and now in his 12th-year with the Griffs. He has a 291-175 (.624) record the last eight seasons including three MAAC regular-season titles. The three-time MAAC coach of the year has a record of 338-287 in his 11 seasons at Canisius, while graduates Connor Panas (Toronto, Ont.) is in the Toronto Blue Jays system; Devon Stewart (Maple Ridge, BC) is with the Cleveland Indians and Brett Siddall (Windsor, Ont.) is with the Oakland A’s organization.
In his lineup next spring McRae (Niagara Falls, Ont.) will have INF Jake Lumley (Windsor, Ont.), OF Cyrus Senior (Kirkland, Que.), LHP Zachary Sloan (Brampton, Ont.), RHP Josh Shepley (Tecumseh, Ont.), LHP J.P. Stevenson (Hunter River, PEI), 3B Liam Wilson (Ayr, Ont.), LHP Jared Kennedy (Calgary, Alta.) and C Nick Capitano (Bolton, Ont.) and RHP Mitchell Clark (LaSalle, Ont.). And incoming next fall include INF Jacob Martins (Richmond Hill, Ont.), RHP Carson Perkins, (Bienfait, Sask.), OF Michael Ssemanda (Hamilton, Ont.) and OF Connor Sparks (Saskatoon, Sask.)
41. Shiraz Rehman, assistant GM, Cubs (47).
A starting infielder for four years and captain of the McGill Redbirds for two, Rehman will get a World Series ring come opening day when the 2017 season opens April 10 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Like a McGill game against the hated Concordia Stingers.
Born on West Island and raised in New York, Rehman provides statistical information to support trade and player evaluation, as well as overseeing salary arbitration and managing research. After graduating McGill with a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting, he earned an MBA from Columbia Business School. He was an intern with the Boston Red Sox, joined the Arizona Diamondbacks and moved to the Cubs after the 2011 season.
42. Dr. Jason Smith, Blue Jays physician (38).
A fourth-round pick of the Calgary Flames in 1993, Smith (Calgary, Alta.) was selected from Princeton where he played 103 games in four years with 10 goals and 20 assists for 30 points being charged with 296 minutes in penalties. He played 1996-97 for Saint John 25 games in the AHL before concussions shortened his career.
Besides millionaires at the Rogers Centre, Dr. Smith has time for anyone from grade 11 students or college players with an injury heading into his draft year. 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 and Mike Prebeg.
43. Gord Ash, VP baseball project, Brewers (35).
Ash works out of home in Toronto and is often at the Rogers Centre scouting for the Brewers. The key duties for Ash are to find a new spring training home and future triple-A affiliate if they leave Colorado Springs
He will assist with spring training facilities, touring minor league affiliates in the organization and helping with minor league player development contracts.
He will organize the annual medical symposium.
44. Denis Coderre, mayor, Montreal (46).
The good mayor of Montreal met with commissioner Rob Manfred about holding three or four regular-season games next season. Mayor Coderre, and Richard Epstein, partner with business law firm BCF, are working with investors to create a business plan. This year the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Jays will play two games at Olympic Stadium.
He wants a stadium, he’s been to spring training and works hard at not being an annoying pain in the butt. He has been successful unlike some NHL counterparts. Manfred said expansion will be discussed after the new Basic Agreement was signed. When Manfred was in Cuba this spring for a pre-season match between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, he said he hopes to “establish a second team in Canada” without specifying Montreal.
45. Matt Stairs, hitting coach, Phillies (-).
Every year we miss someone. Ah, we missed Stairs last year -- as his former coach Bill Saunders pointed out. This despite the fact Stairs was inducted into the Hall of Fame in St. Marys in an excellent class -- except for one. How bad was that? Saunders let us know. More than once.
Stairs (Fredericton, NB) worked as a Phillies broadcaster the last three years and come February he’ll be the hitting coach when the Phillies arrive in Clearwater. Stairs homered for the Phillies in the 2008 NLCS facing Jonathan Broxton to put Philly within a game of the World Series. Stairs hit 265 homers in 19 years, second only to Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, BC), who hit 383.
46. David Beeston, senior vice president, Red Sox (-).
Yes that is the son portion of the father-and-son portion of the baseball Beestons. Like his father he attended the University of Western Ontario, while his grandfather went to Queen’s University. Now, David is the VP of strategic planning and senior counsel.
He works closely with president Sam Kennedy in running the Red Sox business operations. The fourth annual Beeston Cup went to his father as the Jays won the season series 10-9, despite being outscored 97-85. Boston won in 2015 (10-9), the Jays in 2014 (12-7) and Boston in 2013 (11-8) giving Toronto a 39-37 lead on aggregate.
47. Rick Brace, president, Rogers Media (36).
Brace finished his first full year heading up Rogers’ entire media arm, a $1.8-billion business which owns Canada’s largest publishing company, Third-quarter results in October showed the biggest increase in revenues came in media division: up $60 million, or 13%, over a year earlier. Rogers has 52 radio stations, TV broadcasting with Omni Television, City, Sportsnet, Sportsnet One, Sportsnet World, Sportsnet 360, OLN, Nextissue, G4 Canada, The Biography Channel Canada, FX, FXX and The Shopping Channel.
Brace was involved in hiring Mark Shapiro, along with Guy Laurence and Edward Rogers as Roger Rai was the point man also making calls to Dave Dombrowski, Ned Colletti, Kenny Williams, Baltimore (Dan Duquette) and at least one agent. Shapiro reports to Brace, who formerly worked for CBC and TSN. He’s the No. 1 reason all 162 games are on TV.
48. Justin Morneau, free agent (42).
Morneau made his debut with the Chicago White Sox July 15 due to late elbow surgery. His first month on the South Side he hit .301 with an .862 OPS despite not having a spring training. His second month he batted .213 with .695 OPS.
The former MVP and four-time all-star, 35, does not have a contract for next season, but his left-handed bat could be in demand as a DH and playing first base twice a week. It’s still uncertain if Morneau will play in the WBC, but the proud Canadian has always said he wanted to play until the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
49. Chris Reitsma, senior advisor amateur pitching, Orioles (61).
Reitsma was a first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox, drafted by scout Gary Rajsich, who drafted him 34th over-all in North America. Now, Rajsich is the scouting director and regarded as one of the best in the business. He has Reitsma working in his scouting department looking at pitchers.
Of their 11 first selections in the top 301 choices, the Orioles chose eight pitchers with Reitsma involved selecting the first three arms from the Midwest: Cody Sedlock (27th over-all) of Illinois, Western Michigan’s Keegan Akin and Matthias Dietz of John Logan College. Reitsma turned down an offer from another club to sign a two-year deal. Rajsich signed 41 drafts in all and 27 pitchers. Reitsma is the pitching coach with the Canadian Junior National Team.
50. Tyler O’Neill, Mariners prospect (51).
O’Neill is a rarity among Canadian hitters: a right-handed hitter. The barrel-chested outfielder -- chest the size of the red mailbox on the corner -- earned the Randal Echlin Memorial award, emblematic of the Canadian Baseball Network’s top offensive Canadian in the minors. O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC) hit 24 homers this season for the double-A Jackson Generals giving him 56 in the previous two seasons. That gives him 70 long balls in his pro seasons covering 325 games.
O’Neill’s prowess in the Seattle Mariners system earned him the top minor leaguer in the Mariners system. He also earned Baseball America’s double-A player of the year.
51. Adnan Virk, Baseball Tonight, ESPN (56).
One of the most talented people in the business, according to ESPN’s legendary ball scribe Jayson Stark. Virk is the so well-rounded from his Kingston-area roots at Ernestown Secondary School (outside Kingston), he handles lead studio anchor duties in baseball, college football and college hoops.
Virk is the one Mike & Mike turn to when a guest host is needed, staffers love working with him and he totally amazes staffers doing the whole show as an ad lib (Teleprompter? We don’t need no stinkin’ teleprompters.) Well rounded, he writes a movie blog. After attending Ryerson, he worked for 12 years in Toronto before heading to Bristol, Conn. He lets viewers know he’s a proud Canadian.
52. Jake Kerr, co-owner Vancouver Canadians (43).
The Canadians drew a record-setting 222,363 fans in 36 home dates at Nat Bailey Stadium for an average of 6,117 in 2016 to lead the class-A Northwest loop. Unlike other years the Canadians didn’t win, but some fans flocked to hear P.A. man Rob Fai. Vancouver averaged 4,870 in 2014 finishing behind Spokane and 4,843 in 2013 sitting behind Spokane. The Vancouver born Kerr co-owns the team with Jeff Mooney (Regina, Sask.) of A&W fame.
The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and the Tri-City Dust Devils drew less than 87,000. Seven former Vancouver Canadians -- Roberto Osuna, Kevin Pillar, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Matt Dermody, Bo Schultz and Dalton Pompey -- helped the Jays to the post-season in 2016. The Canadians missed post-season for the second time since 2009 after five straight appearances, four trips to the championship and three titles (2011-2013).
Vancouver had the highest draw of short-season clubs ranking 21st in all of minor league ball behind: Charlotte, Indianapolis, Columbus, Lehigh Valley, Round Rock, Sacramento, Dayton, Buffalo, El Paso, Toledo, Albuquerque, Durham, Iowa, Salt Lake, Louisville, Nashville, Fresno, Oklahoma City, Rochester and Fresno.
53. Joe Siddall, broadcaster, Jays (39).
Siddall was in the broadcast booth with Jerry Howarth and Mike Wilner for a second season and it was even better than the first. Siddall even picked up an endorsement for a long-term stay at Premiere Suites.
The only couple of series Siddall missed was to see his son Brett Siddall with the class-A Beloit Snappers. Brett, a Canisius grad, batted .241, with nine homer and 60 RBIs in 135 games. He was drafted from in the 13th round by Oakland A’s scout Matt Higginson. The Kevin Siddall Invitational bantam tourney June 9-11 has added a mosquito division.
54. Tom Tango, MLB Advanced Media, MLB (65)
If Sabermetrics is your game, you know this name. In June, MLB Advanced Media hired Tango as a senior database architect of stats. after he had worked for the Chicago Cubs, the Seattle Mariners and done consulting work with the Blue Jays among other teams.
Tango (Montreal, Que.) will decide the best way to understand and compare the numbers provided by Statcast, which provided metrics like exit velocity and launch angle. He uses a nom de plume rather than his real name and is known as TangoTiger on-line. He co-authored The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball.
55. Jamie Lehman, scout, Jays (48).
Lehman draftee INF Tim Locastro was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for international cap space so the Jays would have extra dough to sign Vlad Guerrero. Locastro hit .277 at double-A Tulsa and was inivited to the Arizona Fall League. Another draft, RHP Sean Ratcliffe (Ajax, Ont.) was traded to Atlanta for RP Jason Grilli. Lehman (Brampton, Ont.) who scouts Canada and New York state also drafted and signed 30th rounder LHP Jake Fishhman from Union College in Schenectady, NY.
He chose three Canadians in the draft: OF Clayton Keyes (Calgary, Alta.) in the 17th round from the Okotoks Dawgs, RHP Brayden Bouchey (White Rock, BC) University of Louisiana at Monroe, 33rd and RHP Carter Loewen (Abbotsford BC) Abbotsford Cardinals, 40th. Of the three, the Jays signed Bouchey.
56. Bill Byckowski, scout, Cincinnati Reds (58).
Byckowski capped his successful 2015 June -- five Canadians led by Miles Gordon (Oakville, Ont.) in the fourth -- by signing two more this June. He drafted and signed RHP Alex Webb (Surrey, BC) in the ninth round from the University of British Columbia and 1B Bruce Yari (Waterloo, Ont.) 24th, UBC. Webb was 5-2 with a 2.59 ERA at class-A Dayton Dragons and rookie-class, Billings, while Yari hit .270, with 17 RBIs with the Rookie Class Arizona League Reds.
The Blue Jays had 14 Canucks in the minors this season, while the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Reds had seven each. INF J.D. Salmon-Williams (Brampton, Ont.) batted .272, with two homers and 10 RBIs, RHP Darren Shred (Brampton, Ont.) was 2-2, with a save and a 5.09 ERA, C Morgan Lofstrom (Kelowna, BC) hit .220, LHP Isaac Anesty (Guelph, Ont.) was 3-1, 6.20 in the Arizona League, while Gordon hit .262 with 11 RBIs at Billings.
57. Jacques Doucet, broadcaster (49).
Hopefully some day the Ford C. Frick announcers who do the voting will get it right. Nothing against the late Bill King, the Oakland A’s broadcaster, who will be honored this July in Cooperstown, but this man who was on the ballot is deserving. Voters had elected Spanish language broadcasters Jaime Jarrín of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998 and Felo Ramírez of the Florida Marlins in 2001.
Why not a French-speaking broadcaster? Doucet (Montreal, Que.) called Montreal Expos games on French-language telecasts from 1972-2004. Inducted into the Quebec Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002, he won the Jack Graney award the next year and does Jays games on TVA games.
58. Phil Lind, Toronto, vice-chairman, Rogers Communications (-).
Lind attends governors meetings when Shapiro does not. He might be the most respected man in the organization or at the Bloor Street campus. He obtained a broadcasting license from the CRTC for the MLB Network. He convinced the late Ted Rogers to purchase the Jays and still has power.
Bonus movement in the top 100: Every time I look at him I think of my father because of their strong resemblance.
59. Cal and Paul Quantrill, Padres, Blue Jays (-).
Cal didn’t throw a pitch in a game this spring due since he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. Yet, he threw bullpens and the San Diego Padres liked what they saw selecting Cal eighth overall and giving him an above slot signing bonus of $3,963,045 million, second highest to a Canadian.
Paul, meanwhile, a Canadian Hall of Famer, is a special assistant to the organization, just as Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, his Hall of Fame father, Sandy Alomar, Carlos Delgado, George Bell and Pat Hentgen were. Bell is no longer employed by the Jays but under the Alex Anthopoulos regime only Hentgen and Quantrill were part of the inner circle. On Jan. 14 Paul’s named will be placed on the Baseball Canada Wall of Excellence.
60. Murray Cook, scout, Tigers (50).
Cook doesn’t get back to Canada a lot except for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer induction ceremonies in St. Marys. Cook (Sackville, N.B.) always follows Greg Hamilton’s Canadian Junior National Team on their trips to Florida.
The Tigers had a pair of Canuck drafts in June: OF Jacob Robson (Windsor, Ont.) from Mississippi State in the eighth round and SS Daniel Pinero (Toronto, Ont.) from Virginia a round later. The Tigers gave area scout Justin Henry credit for Robson and Oneri Fleita for Pinero, yet Cook had input on both.
61. Tony Staffieri, chief financial officer, Rogers Communications.
When the Jays went all in at the non-waiver trade deadline in 2015 Staffieri is the man who approved the added payroll of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price. And he did the same this year -- Francisco Liriano, Joaquin Benoit and Jason Grilli -- OK ... maybe not a good comparison.
Staffieri started with PricewaterhouseCoopers and was a senior partner when he joined Celestica International in 1998, moved to Bell Canada Enterprises (thanks for boosting my stocks) in 2006 and is on the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment board. He attended York’s Schulich School of Business.
62. Blake Corosky, True Gravity, agent (77).
Crosky (Toronto, Ont.) represents RHP Chad Green who made eight starts for the New York Yankees this year. Green is one of the favorites battling Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Anthony Swarzak, Adam Warren and Bryan Mitchell for two vacancies in the rotation. Green pitched six scoreless fanning 11 in a 1-0 win over the Blue Jays in August at Yankee Stadium.
Some others he looks after include RP Chris Smith with the Jays at the end of the year, after a 1.93 ERA at double-A New Hampshire and triple-A Buffalo, Marlins RP Drew Steckenrider added to their 40 man this fall and headed for New Orleans, plus LHP Kyle McGrath who was a Fall League invite and next spring will go to camp with the Padres.
Crosky also looks after Canucks LHP Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.), who will pitch for Canada in WBC before returning to Atlanta Braves camp, LHP Evan Grills (Whitby, Ont.) of the Colorado Rockies, RP Jon Fitzsimmons (London, Ont.) selected by thhe Arizona Diamondbacks in the minor league phase of the Rule V draft and C Maxx Tissenbaum (Toronto, Ont.) who signed with the Rockies after being with the indy league Quebec Capitales.
63. Charlie Wilson director, minor league operations, Blue Jays (54).
There was movement in minors what with the regime change. Wilson is still there doing an excellent job. When time came to present the second Howard Starkman award (the first went to Starkman) to the employee who “best exemplifies the values of integrity, innovation, accountability, team work and a passion for winning” everyone in the minors gathered inside the cafeteria one morning.
When Wilson was named the winner he received a standing ovation from the 160 players plus 50 coaches and instructors. Wilson is basically the GM of movements in the minors whether the outpost be Buffalo, Manchester, N.H., Dunedin, Lansing, Bluefield, Vancouver or the Gulf Coast League.
64. Scott Moore, president, Sportsnet, (60).
You had the opportunity to watch almost the whole Blue Jays Sportsnet team at National Harbor, Md. You can thank Moore for approving the travelling squad _ Shi Davidi, Hazel Mae, Jamie Campbell, Mike Wilner and Jeff Blair _ which provided wall-to-wall or commercial-to-commercial coverage.
Moore has been president of Sportsnet for Rogers Media Inc. since January 2014 and is in Year III of Rogers Communications’ 12-year deal with the NHL. Sportsnet wasn't strictly Jays: witness Mae's excellent interview with retiring DH David Ortiz.
65. Ryan Dempster, special assistant to president/GM, Cubs, MLB Network (75).
The third man on our list headed for a date with a World Series ring presentation is Dempster (Gibsons, BC). He’s often the funniest man in the clubhouse, the Cubs annual Fan Fest or the Baseball Canada fundraiser where he auctions off tours of Wrigley Field (clubhouse, on the field pre-game, your son gets to shag fly balls during batting practice). No one does a better Harry Carry impression -- including Will Farrell.
Also an analyst with the MLB Network he’s works best with the star of the Network, Mark DeRosa, famous for his D Train or DeRo Demolition ... “end of sentence, period.”
66. Geoff Molson, owner, Montreal Canadiens (53).
Molson gets credit for bringing baseball to town if only for a weekend as the Habs entertainment arm, evenko, bring the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Jays to Montreal come March 31-April 1. Now, the question is can or will be bring a major-league team to town to stay.
As the Montreal group searches for the white knight and someone to build a ball park is Molson the answer? Evenko’s Simon Arsenault and Jacques Aubé along with Howard Starkman have made the Jays trip to Olympic Stadium a success, but Expos fans want about 79 more home games.
67. Josh Naylor, first base, Padres (66).
If Tyler O’Neill is the “Next” Canadian on the horizon, Naylor would be next after O’Neill, along with RHP Nick Pivetta (Victoria, BC) of the Philadelphia Phillies. Naylor went 12th over-all from the Ontario Blue Jays in the 2015 draft to the Marlins. When Miami needed pitching help it sent Carter Capps, Jarred Cosart, minor league Luis Castillo and Naylor to the San Diego Padres for Andrew Cashner, Colin Rea, a minor leaguer and cash.
When both Cashner and Rea had injuries -- a post-season investigation saw Padres GM A.J. Preller suspended for 30 days without pay -- the whole deal almost fell apart. The Phillies were ready to pounce on Naylor, but the deal was re-structured. Promoted from class-A Greensboro with the Marlins to class-A Lake Elsinore, Naylor hit 29 doubles, two triples, 12 homers, knocked in 75 runs while batting .264 in 122 games with a .710 OPS.
68. Alex Agostino, scout, Phillies (64).
His Jesen Dygestile-Therrien (Montreal, Que.) had an outstanding year going 3-3 with a 2.59 ERA in 39 games combined at rookie-class Gulf Coast Phillies, class-A Clearwater and double-A Reading, striking out 76 in 55 2/3 innings. LHP Kyle Young, a 22nd rounder he signed for $225,000 was the second best late pick, according to Baseball America. The 6-foot-10 high schooler from Oyster Bay, N.Y. should have “an upper-90s fastball in his future to go along with extremely promising command and a curveball that works well from his angle.”
RHP Nick Pivetta (Victoria, BC) and RHP Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, Tex.) shared Canadian Baseball Network pitcher of the year honors. Pivetta, who won the honor in 2015, was 12-8 with a 3.27 ERA in 27 starts at double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley walking 51 and fanning 138 in 148 2/3 innings. Plus, the former boss of Baseball Quebec was smiling as six Quebec players LHP Guillaume Blanchette (St-Constant) Lubbock Christian, Iannick Rémillard (Valleyfield) Canisius, David Glaude (Quebec City) Missouri Western State, Abraham Toro-Hernandez (Greenfield Park) Seminole State, Charles LeBlanc (Laval) Pittsburgh and Louis-Philippe Pelletier (Montreal) Seminole State -- all earned Canadian Baseball Network First Team all-Canadian college honors.
69. Scott Thorman, Cambridge, manager, Burlington (80).
SS Nicky Lopez (.281, six, 29), OF Kort Peterson (.347, five, 35) and LHP Cristian Castillo (6-3, 3.12) made the class-A Appalachiana League all-star team, along with their manager. C Nathan Esposito (.317, two, 17) is considered the best prospect on the roster by Baseball America.
Thorman (Cambridge, Ont.) has a contract with the Kansas City Royals organization for 2017 but the former Atlanta Braves No. 1 draft is not sure yet what his assignment will be. He had two former No. 1 picks in 2015 who slumped this season away from him RHP Ashe Russell (0-3, 4.21 in 11 starts at Burlington in 2015; 0-1, 9.00 in two starts at rookie-class Arizona League Royals) and RHP Nolan Watson (0-3, 4.91, class-A Burlington in 11 starts 2015; 3-11, 7.57 in 24 starts at class-A Lexington).
70. Dr. Marc Philippon, hip specialist (63).
Having performed surgeries in 15 countries, Dr. Philippon is internationally known for his joint preservation techniques. Using various instruments he designed, he has improved arthroscopic hip surgery for treating painful joint injuries. A partner at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Col. he has operated on the likes of Carlos Delgado, Alex Rodriguez and Luis Castillo.
The McMaster grad, Dr. Philippon (Hamilton, Ont.) has treated the likes of Milos Raonic. Mario Lemieux, Greg Norman, Kurt Warner, Ed Reed, Sue Bird, Brandt Snedeker and Peter Jacobsen, as well as a consultant for a number of pro teams.
71. Jason Dickson, president, Baseball Canada (-).
Dickson (Miramichi, NB) took over for Ray Carter in June. Dickson, 43, pitched four seasons in the majors, broke in during the 1996 season and earned all-star honors. He representing Canada at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Carter served eight consecutive two-year terms, before Dickson becoming the 11th president in Baseball Canada’s 52-year history. Carter’s tenure as was the longest in Baseball Canada’s history.
72. LHP Rob Zastryzny, Chicago Cubs (-).
He made his major-league debut April 7 pitching six innings for double-A Tennessee Smokies in a 7-3 win over the Mobile BayBears before 3,896 fans Smokies Park. After a stop with the triple-A Iowa Cubs, Zastryzny (Edmonton, Alta.) gained his first major-league in an 8-7 13-inning win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field in front of 38,951.
Combined Zastryzny was 10-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 24 games -- 23 starts -- walking 51 and striking out 119 in 135 2/3 innings. He appeared in eight games with the Cubs, all but one in relief and was not on the post-season roster. Odds are very slim for him to stick out of the bullpen. The Cubs want to stretch him out as a starter at Triple-A. Plus this winter the Cubs added lefty relievers Brian Duensing, Caleb Smith (rule 5 from Yankees), Jack Leathersich, coming off Tommy John surgerry and David Rollins, who was claimed on waivers.
73. Jim Baba, director general, Baseball Canada (67).
The Moose Jaw, Sask. native is a member of the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame. Formerly the parks and recreation director in Kindersley, Sask. for nine years, ran Baseball Saskatchewan for 10 years and moved to Ottawa in 2000 where this summer he oversaw a peaceful exchange of power from President Ray Carter to Jason Dickson.
He is the liaison between Ottawa and Canada’s provincial associations, as well as being the Sport Canada and Canadian Olympic Committee rep for Baseball Canada. He was on board pushing for baseball to return to the Olympics. He failed to repeat as Tournament 12 champs at the Rogers Centre.
74. Vladimir Guerrero, No. 1 prospect, Jays (-).
Remember when the Jays -- mostly Casey Janssen and Jose Bautista -- complained Aug. 1, 2014 that the Jays did not add anyone at the deadline? This despite that both Edward Rogers and Paul Beeston had promised help would if on the way if the Jays were in the hunt -- at the annual spring farewell diner in Dunedin. Jays were busy in late July entertaining Guerrero at Dunedin.
Latin America scout Ismael Cruz, plus brain trust Dana Brown, Perry Minasian, Andrew Tinnish and GM Alex Anthopoulos were all involved in scouting and signing Guerrero, including Anthopoulos flying to the Dominican on New Year’s Day to talk to the teenager’s mother. And on July 2, 2015 he was given a $3.9 million deal. In his first pro year at rookie-class Bluefield he hit .271 with eight homers, 46 RBIs and an .808 OPS in 62 games. He was third in the Appalacian League in RBIs and seventh in homers.
75. Mike Wilner, broadcaster, The Fan (81).
Wilner handles the highs and lows on the post-game show after working the game with Jerry Howarth and Joe Siddall. Am a long-time listener who has never been a first-time caller, but outside of Angel Hernandez or Laz Diaz no one puts up with more complaining that Wilner. Why is Jose Bautista hurt? Why is Justin Smoak in the lineup? Why is Josh Donaldson not going to win the MVP? What happened to Michael Saunders in the second half? Why does Kevin Pillar not swing at strikes? Why did they trade for Melvin Upton? How come Russell Martin doesn’t hit better? Wilner is supposed to have the answer for each and every query, no matter how snarly.
Wilner knows the game and his annual post-season poll is a must (MVP in the players opinion Edwin Encarnacion, not Donaldson). He also hosts the Baseball Canada Fund Raiser Jan. 18 taking over from Howarth.
76. Jim Swanson, managing partner, Victoria HarbourCats (-).
After serving as GM he took on a new role and now sits on the board of governors for the West Coast League. Former sports editor of the Prince George Citizen, Swanson (Prince George, BC) ran two Baseball Canada Senior nationals and three World Baseball Challenge events.
The HarbourCats were ranked ninth among summer college leagues drawing 60,466 to Royal Athletic Park, an average of 2,239 fans per game. A win in the final game of the season allowed the HarbourCats to finish 40-14 and surpasses the previous win total of 39 set by the 2011 Wenatchee AppleSox. The city had its first playoff game since the 1952 class-B Victoria Tyees.
77. Adam Stern, Centrefield Sports, Great Lake Canadians (87).
Sometimes the jewel can be found during the winter months at the Toronto Mets facility. Other winters it is inside the Ontario Blue Jays clubhouse or the Langley Blaze. This year the best high school player in the land works out at Centrefield Sports in London under Stern.
In June, three alumni or current players were selected OF Tristan Clarke (Brampton, Ont.) from Eastern Oklahoma State College in the 30th round by the Washington Nationals, plus current Canadians RHP Austin Shields (Dundas, Ont.), 33rd, Pirates and OF Jake Wilson (New Lowell, Ont.) 40th, Red Sox. Shields signed for $205,000.
78. William Humber, historian (72).
Humber was instrumental in getting the father of Canadian baseball, William Shuttleworth, elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this summer and someday he’ll be there too. Each spring the director of Eco Seneca Initiatives at Seneca College holds a spring training for fans class, this his 39th annual. He says this will be his final year, but no doubt the chant will be “four More Years, Four More Years!”
A captivating speaker, he has held audiences in the palm of his hand both at Cooperstown and St. Marys. He’s written 11 books from winter sports, to bicycling, his hometown of Bowmanville and baseball.
79. Shawn Travers, coach, Ontario Blue Jays (-).
The director of player development and 16U coach had arguably the Ontario Blue Jays best year on the field as the 16U team won the South Carolina State championship, the CABA World Series in Georgia, and the CPBL, while the 18U won the B.E.S.T. National in Pensacola, Fla.
Two of the top five signing bonuses ever to Canadians went to former Travers pupils: 1B Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) $2.5 million from the Florida Marlins in 2015 and OF Gareth Morgan (North York, Ont.) $2 million to the Mariners in 2014. Besides Travers, other coaches in the 10-team organization include Mike Steed, Mike Siena, Joe Ellison, Kyle DeGrace and Dino Roumel.
80. Raimondo Callari, scout, San Francisco Giants.
Shut out north of the border, Callari (Côté St-Luc, Que.) did well in the northeast signing RHP Stephen Woods from the Albany Great Danes in the eighth for $200,000, C Jeffrey Parra, a Spring Valley, N.Y. high schooler in the 24th for $100,000.
Baseball America rated Woods as hhaving the best fastball from this summer’s Giants draft class, as he sat at 93-96 MPH, while Parra was rated the best late-round pick as a “a well-rounded catcher with hitting potential, who handled velocity well for a young New Jersey high school draftee.
81. Rob and Rich Butler, coaches, Ontario Prospects (71)
Ryan Kellogg is the most famous alumnus of the Butler Brothers program. The lefty, who went to the Chicago Cubs in the fifth round in 2015, was 9-7 with a 3.03 ERA in 24 games, making 23 starts. The Arizona State grad -- 28-6 in three seasons -- walked only 26 and fanned 107 in 130 2/3 innings.
The Butlers converted him from catcher to the mound. Of the 88 Canadians in the minors he had the third lowest WHIP, was four in strikeouts, owned the sixth best ERA, tied for sixth in wins, pitched the eighth most innings.
82. Les McTavish, coach, Vauxhall Academy (76).
Four former Jets made the 17th annual Canadian Baseball Network all-Canadiaan college team: 1B Alex Bishop (Calgary, Alta.) Texas at Tyler was on the Second Team while LHP Ben Onyshko (Winnipeg, Man.) Stetson, 2B Nolan Rattai (Medicine Hat, Alta.) Midland and OF Chris Thibideau (Dartmouth, N.S.) North Florida were on the Third Team.
McTavish celebrated the program’s 10th anniversary with all graduates heading off to school. RHP Josh Burgmann (Nanaimo, BC) was selected in the 30th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. Burgmann headed to the Washington Huskies.
83. Nicole and Mike Tevlin, Toronto, co-owners of The Baseball Zone (78).
Their Ontario Terriers had a summer to remember besides alumnus Cal Quantrill going eighth over-all: RHP Sam Turcotte (Toronto, Ont.) and RHP Ben Abram (Georgetown, Ont.) pitched for the Canadian Junior National Team; INF Elliott Curtis (Waterloo, Ont.) hit 18 home runs on the season; Bruce Yari (Waterloo, Ont.) was drafted by Cincinnati Reds from UBC and Toby Handley (Whitby, Ont.) from Stony Brook was selected by Astros.
Turcotte is at Stony Brook and Curtis Middle Tennessee State, while Abram has committed to Oklahoma. Abram pitched the championship game at Tournament 12. Scott Vandevalk (Georgetown, Ont.) coached his final year at the 18U level, replaced by Dean Dicenzo (Albion Falls, Ont.) takes over the helm. LHP Jack Anderson (Waterloo, Ont.) will take classes at Hofstra and Jack Omstead (Toronto, Ont.) to DePauw University among the graduates headed to school. The 16U Terriers won the Nokona Fall Classic and the 18U Terriers took the Seniors Send Off and NTN Showcase tourneys.
84. Matt Higginson, scout, A’s (74).
Not many people knew that RHP Christian Lindsay-Young of the Niagara County Community College Thunder Wolves was Canadian: born in Oakville, Ont. he moved to Hamburg, NY at an early age. Not many knew that the 6-foot-5 Lindsay-Young was 9-0 with a 1.20 ERA fanning 79 in 52 2/3 innings. He saw him indoors during the winter, again in Florida and then in the spring.
Higginson knew and drafted him in the 23rd round. His draft -- OF Brett Siddall (Windsor, Ont.) a 13th round pick from Canisius in 2015 -- hit .241, with nine homer and 60 RBIs for class-A Beloit this summer, while RHP Tucker Healy, a 23rd rounder from Ithaca in 2012 fared well as triple-A Nashville (4-3, 3.61, 76 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings); RHP Lou Trivino, an 11th rounder from Slippery Rock spent time at class-A Stockton and double-A Midland (2-4, 2.85, 61 whiffs in 60 innings).
85. Joe Shuchat, director, business development, Blast Motion, Inc. (-).
His Toronto-based startup, Winning Identity, was one of the first participants in a sports-business accelerator launched by Stadia Ventures, a St. Louis firm. Shuchat was set to move to St. Louis, but at a golf trade show in January, he met a co-founder of Blast Motion, which makes a sensor for analyzing baseball swings. Shuchat was invited to Pebble Beach, Calif., home of Blast’s chief executive, Michael Fitzpatrick, who soon bought the company.
Shuchat works from Toronto, while Blast is based in Carlsbad, Calif. After wearing many hats at a five-person startup, Shuchat, 28, is part of a 70-person team. Blast’s sensor is used by more than 150 pro golfers, and was recently endorsed by MLB. The sensor sells for $150, and a software subscription is $60 a month, which Astros SS Carlos Correa endorses on the MLB Network. The software application is dedicated to helping athletes track their game in a centralized location featuring video sharing and analysis, scheduling and statistics tracking.
86. Claude Pelletier, scout, Mets. (89)
Pelletier saw Eric Gagne in 1995 pitching for Team Canada as they headed to Edmonton for the qualifier for the Atlanta Olympics. The Dodgers scout signed him and he won the 2003 NL Cy Young award with 55 saves. And Pelletier was there again this fall as Gagne, 40, started for the Ottawa Champion of the independent Can Am League at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park.
With franchise record crowd of 7,886 watching he pitched five scoreless, retiring the first 12 batters Quebec Capitales, five on strikeouts. He allowed a homer to Yurisbel Gracial and a single to Marcus Knecht (North York, Ont.) before leaving after five innings with the score even at 1-1. Some fastballs hit 94, while he sat 89-91.
87. Marnie Starkman, vice-president, marketing, Jays (-).
All those pre-game productions during the 40th anniversary season? Honoring the best pitchers, the top hitters and the greatest moments since that snowy day in 1977? Starkman was responsible for all of that this season since she was in charge of the scoreboard and in-game entertainment.
From the first to everything you see on the big board -- from the roof report, to highlights, to zooming in on celebs to I, Blue Swede’s “I’m hooked on a feeling ... I’m high on believing ... That you’re in love with me.” Now she becomes the new VP of marketing. We’re not sure yet if that means she gets to boss around her father, but research is on it.
88. Ryan McBride, director of baseball, Toronto Mets (85).
Besides C Andrew Yerzy (Toronto, Ont.) going as the top high schooler in the second round to the Arizona Diamondbacks for $1,214,100, LHP Matt Jones (Whitby, Ont.) went in the 28th to the Twins and RHP Jeremy Newton (Toronto, Ont.) signed with the Milwaukee Brewers as a free agent. The Mets also had a good year entering a partnership with Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar, signed a deal with Under Armour (which includes an invite to the Under Armour Classic in Fort Myers in June), saw all graduating players gain scholarships including RHP Landon Leach (Pickering, Ont.) commit to Texas and saw a 7,000-squre foot expansion at Out of the Park Sports in Scarbrough.
The Mets also brought on board Andy Stewart (Brockville claims him -- so does Oshawa), former Blue Jays bullpen coach and Kansas City Royal. Aaron Caputo is the president, while Chris Kemlo coaches the 18U team, Rich Leitch is the college placement co-ordinator and John Caputo a director of baseball.
89. Richard Griffin, columnist, Toronto Star.
After 21 years and 10 months as part of the Expos crack P.R. department, Griffin has now been in Toronto writing baseball for longer than 21 years and 10 months writing for Canada’s largest newspaper.
Along with Scott (One hundred and Sixty Two) MacArthur he leads TSN’s deep roster of coverage which includes former Blue Jays GM Gord Ash, Gregor Chisholm (Saint John, N.B) of bluejays.com, Paul Hollingsworth (Halifax, NS), Steve Simmons (Toronto, Ont.) and Rick Westhead, along with former New York Mets GM Steve Phillips and ex-Jay Dirk Hayhurst. Griffin is also the second best coach in the Oakville A’s system (behind Jeff Lamont).
90. Jon Lalonde, pro scout, Toronto Blue Jays.
RP Brett Cecil, taken 38th over all in 2007, was rewarded with a four-year $30.5 million deal by the St. Louis Cardinals. Tom Burns and Lalonde chose Cecil as their third pick, after they chose INF Kevin Ahrens (16th, he peaked at double-A New Hampshire) and C JP Arencibia (467 games in six seasons). The Jays were set to take C Travis d’Arnaud but the Phillies took him 37th, so the Jays grabbed Cecil.
INF Ryan Schimpf, a fifth rounder from 2009, made his debut with the San Diego Padres hitting 17 doubles, five triples, 20 homers and 51 RBIs in 89 games. Lalonde (Midland, Ont.) also has C AJ Jimenez, a ninth round pick in 2008, on the horizon unless the Jays sign another back-up catcher.
91. Stu Scheurwater, umpire (82).
Scheurwater (Regina, Sask.) worked as in the triple-A Pacific Coast League for the majority of the season. Still, he had 53 assignments in the majors either due to vacation or holidays. He had 12 games behind home plate and one day he was assigned to the crew working the replay booth in Manhattan.
He made his debut April 24, 2014 and worked first base as the Jays clinched the AL East in the first game of a doubleheader at Camden Yards in 2015. He worked 23 games in 2015.
92. Scott Crawford, Georgetown, Canadian Hall of Fame (89)
He had a busy July as former Jays ace Pat Hentgen, Montreal Expos Perfect Game whiz Dennis Martinez, Seattle Mariners super scout Wayne Norton and Howard Starkman, the Jays hardest working employee were on stage for the induction ceremonies. Former Jays broadcaster Tony Kubek was unable to make it, but Fergie Olver ably filled in. The late William Shuttleworth was the other inductee. Crawford was in charge of the program.
The Georgetown native took over early in 2012 from Tom Valcke. St. Marys council voted 6-1 to reject a request for a two-tiered funding scenario aimed at constructing a new facility to replace its current product. This was a setback, but the museum will move forward.
93. Shi Davidi columnist, Sportsnet (-).
More people read Davidi than any other scribe when he worked at Canadian Press, his stories on the Jays appearing coast to coast. Now, at the Mother Ship he is on more platforms than Johh Travolta: pre-game show, radio, writing for the web site and Tweeting.
And even more see him or read at the new job. It’s not easy covering the team your bosses own but he walks the line as he showed in his Edwin Encarnacion story suggesting maybe the Jays could have taken the same wait-and-see approach to free agency that the Los Angeles Dodgers did with free agents closer Kenley Jansen, 3B Justin Turner and LHP Rich Hill.
94. Jay Lapp, scouting supervisor, Brewers (84)
Lapp drafted and signed OF Demi Orimoloye (Orleans, Ont.) ranked the 19th best prospect in the Brewers organization by the highly-respected Baseball America this summer. Orimoloye had five doubles, three triples, and five homers while knocking in 17. He was 18-for-23 with a .617 OPS in 61 games.
There are three other Canucks in the Milwaukee organization: C Dustin Houle, (Langley, BC) split the season between class-A Brevard County and double-A Biloxi with 10 doubles, a triple a home run, 19 RBIs and a .201 averages: INF Malik Collymore (Mississauga, Ont.) who batted .167 with four RBIs at Brevard and RHP Jeremy Newton (Toronto, Ont.) 0-2, 10.80, two saves at Rookie Class, Arizona League Brewers.
95. Tom Valcke, iCASE GM (96).
In 2015 the iCASE Huskies travelled to BC to get in games and this year they flew to Alberta to play against Confederation Cubs, Red Deer and Parkland Twins at Henry Springer Park in Spruce Grove and Edmonton to play at Telus Field, Triple-A Park that was home to the Edmonton Trappers.
Ten iCASE players are at school or have committed: 1B Jaxon Valcke (St. Marys, Ont.) UBC, RHP Hunter James (Stratford, Ont.) Northwestern Ohio, LHP DJ Depiero (Thunder Bay, Ont.) Indian Hills, RHP Jordan Pepper (Stratford, Ont,) Seward, RHP Joey Hagen (Dartmouth, NS) Dawson, 1B Chris Iltshishin (Waterloo, Ont.) and RHP Brady Schnarr (Waterloo, Ont.) Frontier, C Sam Cawker (Courtice, Ont.) Lawrence Tech, INF Cam McDougall (Thunder Bay, Ont.) Wisconsin-Superior, RHP Ben Popovich (Belleville, Ont) Erie, Evan Lindsay (St. Marys, Ont.) Wilfrid Laurier and Jack Rankin (Stratford, Ont.) to Durham.
96. Jamie Campbell, broadcaster, Sportsnet (90).
Kept it light after some silly times at the yard and kept things serious when he needed to (Chris Colabello interview after the first baseman had a positive test for PEDs). Campbell and Zaun get along like they there Thursday night college drinking buddies who ran into each other at a reunion.
Like Jerry Howarth, Campbell (Oakville, Ont.) loves and promotes Canada and Canadians in baseball. Entering year seven doing Jays games with Zaun and prior to that did TV play-by-play from 2005-09.
97. Mike Chewpoy, coach and GM, Victoria Mariners (92).
Jason Willow (Victoria, BC) is ranked 49 on Baseball America’s top 100 high schoolers. A Mariner since 2014 and his brother C Evan Willow is a senior at McPherson College. Jared Anderson pitched five scoreless against the North Shore Twins in the BC Premier League Final Four, while Willow doubled, singled and knocked in a run.
Willow is headed to Santa Barbara, while other Victoria players are OF Zeke Holt to San Mateo; RHP Liam Kruse and RHP Fynn Chester, Salt Lake; OF Ethan Brunton, INF Caleb Piechnik and RHP Trey Crust, Southeastern Illinos; INF Dylan Price and RHP Jesse Simpson Colby; RHP Taylor Nygaard, RHP Jacob Moss, C Dawson Neal and INF Nick Lee to Big Bend.
98. Denny Berni, coach, Pro Teach (97).
Etobicoke Rangers grad Connor Lillis-White (Toronto, Ont.) spend time at three levels in the California Angels system: rookie-class Arizona League Angels, rookie-class Orem and class-A Burlington. Combined he was 1-0 with a 2.23 ERA in 17 relief appearances. He only walked 11 and whiffed 55 in 36 1/3 innings.
Berni runs a thriving indoor hitting facility in Etobicoke, which has students from Hollycrest Middle School training there week days. It’s the same facility Joey Votto spent hours and hours and hours hitting. When not instructing Berni coaches the Rangers 18U and helps out with other Rangers teams. In his spare time he ran the Humber College Hawks which finished third with all-stars Brandon Costa and Blake Kauer.
99. Mitzi Griffiths, director sports relations The Ritz-Carlton (99).
Griffiths is the princess of booking visiting pro sports teams when they come to play the Blue Jays or the Maple Leafs. The Ritz has 80% of major-league teams and NHL clubs. This fall the Ritz was home to the Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians. Only one team left pleased with the result but all three were happy with their stay as hotelier has the ability to solve major league problems.
How good is Griffiths? Well, it has been suggested by more than one visiting traveller that than the name of the hotel should be changed from The Ritz-Carlton to The Mitz-Carlton.
100. Howard Starkman, special projects, Jays (-).
Some people are happy to be on this list. Some get angry of their placement. Howard will be angry that he’s here at all. Yet, when someone is inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, as he was in July, and someone gives such a heartfelt speech as he did that Saturday afternoon ... well, there is no escaping the list.
Despite retiring he saw more home games in 2016 than some employees.
101. R.I.P. ... Stan “Gabby” Anderson (London, Ont.) London Majors; Vern Handrahan (Charlottetown, PEI) former Kansas City Athletics; W.P. Kinsella (Edmonton, Alta.), author, Shoeless Joe; Harry McAloney (East York, Ont.) sandlot coach; Troy Pennock (Langley, BC), coach, Langley Blaze; John Rutherford (Belleville, Ont.) Dodgers; John Saunders (Toronto, Ont.) ESPN; Bill Sobkow (Yorkton, Sask.) Yorkton Cardinals; Jimmy Williams (Toronto, Ont.) former Orioles coach, Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer,
Anderson, 87, played five years in the minors at Class-D Olean and Class-B Peoria, he returned to play for the London Majors, winning the IBL’s MVP in 1959 and had his No. 5 retired in 2001. He was a founder of the Eager Beaver Baseball Association and was inducted into the London Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Handrahan, 79, was the greatest modern player from the Island province. Henry Oxley and George (Dandy) Wood primarily in the 1880s made it, but after than Vern was the only man, posting of an ERA of 3.81 over 12 years of pro ball like Handrahan, appearing in 34 games with Kansas City in 1964 and 1966 seasons. In his debut at Tiger Stadium he retired Don Demeter, Dick McAuliffe, Don Wert, Bill Freehan and Phil Regan in order before Billy Burton hit a homer.
Kinsella, 81, wrote the novel Shoeless Joe which was made into the movie Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner. The movie grossed nearly $65 million in the theatres and helped establish Costner as a star. Kinsella was presented with an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from the University of Victoria in 1991, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993 and was named to the Order of British Columbia in 2005. He earned the Jack Graney Award in 2011 from Canadian baseball Hall of Fame.
McAloney, 81, coached teams for 50 years or more at West Toronto and Western City leagues, then Leaside and finally East York. Among his pupils were major leaguer Rob Butler and national team coach Greg Hamilton, plus the double play combo of Brian Cowan and our George Farelli.
Saunders, 61, replaced the legendary Dick Schaap on the popular show The Reporters. He co-hosted NFL Primetime, NHL broadcasts, college football, the Baseball Night in America, anchored ABC’s coverage of the 1995 World Series. He returned north as the TV play-by-play announcer for the Raptors from 1995-2001. One of his cars had a Blue Jays logo, the other a Raptors logo while the ring tone on his cell phone ring was “Oh Canada.”
Sobkow, 70, brought the WMBL to Yorkton in 2002 and was a long time manager and head coach. He attended Fresno State University, returning to play for the Yorkton Cardinals, 1967 SMBL champs. His son Philip signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003 and continued until 2009.
Pennock, 53, coached in Richmond, North Langley and most recently with the Langley Jr. Blaze. Pennock growing up in New Westminster, and always had a love of baseball which led him to coaching. A father of three sons, he coached their teams in Whalley, North Langley, and then in Richmond in 2007. After stepping away he got in touch with Richmond coach Ryan Klenman, and then came out on a regular basis in 2012 – driving close to an hour from Langley to Richmond.
Rutherford, 91, passed Christmas Day in Bloomfield Hills Mich. His family moved from eastern Ontario to Detroit, served in the US Navy, pitched for the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers, and like his father became an osteopathic physician in the Detroit area. He pitched in 22 games alongside Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Joe Black, Duke Snider, Preacher Roe, Roy Campanella and Gil Hodges.
Williams, 90, played 18 seasons in the minors reaching triple-A Montreal (1955-57) hitting .288 after being signed by Branch Rickey’s Brooklyn Dodgers at age 21. Outside of 1975 with Preston Gomez’s Houston Astros when he was a coach, he managed in the minors from 1963-1980 winning four titles. Earl Weaver named to his coaching Baltimore staff in 1981 and he was there seven years.
Jim Adduci, Burnaby, BC Lotte Giants/Detroit Tigers; Andrew Albers, North Battleford, Sask. Triple A Buffalo/Atlanta Braves; Jeff Amos, Oyen, Alta., Badlands Academy; Alex Andreopoulos, Etobicoke, Ont., bullpen catcher, Blue Jays; Don Archer, White Rock, BC, scout, Angels.
Cole Armstrong, Surrey, BC, hitting coach, double-A Birmingham (White Sox); Adam Arnold, pitching coach, Great Lake Canadians; Ryan Armstrong, instructor, The Baseball Zone; RHP Amanda Asay Prince George, BC, Team Canada women’s team; Nick Ashbourne, Toronto, Canadian Baseball Network; Pierre Arsenault, Pierrefonds, Que., pro scout, Miami Marlinss; David Attridge, Grimsby, Ont. umpire, class-A Florida State League.
John Axford, Port Dover, Ont., Oakland A’s; Evan Bailey, coach and GM, Okanagan Athletics; Drew Balen, Edmonton, Inside Edge; Scott Ballantyne, coach, Laurier; Joseph (Elevator Joe) Bednarz, Rogers Centre.
Al Bernacchi, Windsor, Ont., coach, Windsor Selects; Rob Boik, Spruce Grove, Alta., director, St. Francis Xavier Academy; Dean Bender, vice president, graphics, commercials, Rogers Communications; Matt Betts, Paris, Ont., Canadian Baseball Network; Howie Birnie, Leaside, Ont., Baseball Ontario.
Jordan Blundell, Edmonton, Alta., Vancouver Island Baseball Institute; Jamie Bodaly, coach, Langley Blaze; Mike Bonanno, agent, Brantford, Ont.; Jason Booth, Richmond Hill, Ont., director of baseball operations/coach, Team Ontario 18U; Denis Boucher, Laval, Que., pitching coachh Team Canada/scout New York Yankees; Jean Boulais, Gatineau, Que., president of Baseball Quebec; Michael Boulianne, Quebec City, Que., umpire, class-A New York Penn League.
Kevin Briand, scout, Blue Jays, Shawn Bowman, Port Moody BC,assistant coach, University of British Columbia/program co-ordinator, Coquitlam Reds; Greg Brons, Saskatoon, Sask., Baseball Saskatchewan; Alexis Brudnicki, London, Ont., Canadian Baseball Network; Eric Brown, Thunder Bay, Ont., assistant pitching coach, University of British Columbia; Scott Bullett, Welland, Ont., Bullett Proof Academy.
T.J. Burton, Ottawa, coordinator amateur baseball Toronto Blue Jays; Greg Byron, North York, Ont., assistant coach, Austin Peay State University, Dick Callahan, Kitchener, Ont. Oakland A’s P.A. announcer; Don Campbell, Ottawa, Ont., Ottawa-Nepean Canadians, grand poo-bah; Al Cantwell, Saint John, N.B., assistant coach, Airline High School, Bossier City, La.
Anthony Caputo, Toronto Mets; Remo Cardinale, Thornhill, Ont., pitching guru lifetime scholarship; Ken Carson, Barrie, commissioner Florida State League, Ray Carter, Tsawwassen, BC, former president Baseball Canada; Julien Casaubon, Joliette, Que., assistant coach, Post University; Pat Cassidy, St. Albert, Alta., managing partner, Edmonton Prospects.
Jim Chapman, Langley, coach Coquitlam Reds; David Chavarria, Burnaby, BC, pitching coach, Brevard County; Jason Chee-Aloy, coach, North York Blues; Dr. Michael Chivers, kinesiologist, Vaughan, Ont.; Voon Chong, Vancouver BC, trainer, triple-A Buffalo.
Gary Cohen, Monteal, The Baseball Cube; Jeremy Cohen, New York, vice-president, corporate sales and marketing, MLB; Andrew Collier, GM, Winnipeg Goldeyes; Heather Connolly, manager, major league administration, Jays; Dave Cooper, coach, St. Clair College Saints.
George Cope, CEO, Bell Canada, Wayne Corness, Surrey, BC, assistant pitching coach, University of British Columbia; Joanna Cornish, Hum and Chuck blog; Scott Costello, Barrie, Ont., umpire, double-A Texas League; Melissa Couto, writer, Canadian Press; Don Cowan, Delta, BC, scout, Toronto Blue Jays; Greg Cranker, coach, Erindale Cardinals.
Phil Curtis, Sherwood Park, Alta. Weyburn Beavers; Lars Davis, Grand Prairie, Alta., volunteer assistant coach, University of Florida; Morgan de Pena, Winnipeg, Man., coach, University of Winnipeg; Claude Delorme, Sturgeon Falls, Ont., executive VP operations and events Miami Marlins, Sam Dempster, Kingston, coach, Durham Lords, Team Great Britain; Kyle Dhanani, White Rock, BC, White Rock Tritons.
Scott Diamond, Guelph, Ont. Triple A Buffalo/SK Wyverns, Korea; Jack Dominico, Toronto, owner, Toronto Maple Leafs; Jason Dowse, Cannington, Ont., strength and conditioning coach, triple-A Buffalo; Desi Doyle, Mount Stewart, PEI., technical director Baseball PEI; Rob Ducey, Cambridge, Ont., hitting coach, class-A Clearwater.
Cory Eckstein, Abbotsford, BC, coach, Abbotsford Cardinals; Bernie Eiswirth, GM, Regina, Sask., Regina Red Sox; Dave Empey, North Vancouver, BC, coach, Vancouver Cannons, Rob Fai, Vancouver, Vancouver Canadians, broadcaster, all-star MC, former Blue Jays (North Delta) hurler; Drew Fairservice, writer, Fangraphs.
Robbie Fatal, coach, ABC; Scott Ferguson, broadcaster, TSN; Pierre Francoeur, Montreal, president, TVA; Mike Frostad, Calgary, Alta., assistant trainer Blue Jays; Orv Franchuk, Edmonton, Alta., special advisor/assistant coach, Edmonton Prospects.
A. J. Fystro, Calgary, Alta., coach, Grand Slam Sports, Okotoks, Alta., Danny Gallagher, Toronto, co-author Ecstasy to Agony: The 1994 Montreal Expos, Canadian Baseball Network; Brendan Gaunt, Surrey, BC, assistant coach, University of Winnipeg; Gord Gerlach, facilities manager, Edmonton Prospects; Ted Giannoulas, London, Ont., The Chicken; Shawn Gillespie, president, Ontario Nationals.
Kevin Glew, London, Ont., Cooperstowners in Canada, chair Jack Graney selection committee; Bill Green, Coquitlam Reds; Chris Graham, Brampton; Ont., umpire, double-A Eastern League; Taylor Green, Comox, BC, pro scouting supervisor, Brewers; Trevor Grieve, Oshawa, Ont., umpire, World Baseball Classic; Marc Griffin, Quebec City, Que., vice-chair, Baseball Quebec; Matt Griffin, Oakville, Guelph University.
Tim Hallgren, Victoria, BC, pro scout, Tigers; John Haar, director of baseball operations, North Shore Twins; Ellen Harrigan, director administration, Los Angeles Dodgers; Jason Hart, Thunder Bay, Ont., head coach, Lakehead University; John Hashimoto, Blue Jays Baseball Academy Instructor, T12, Baseball Canada master coach developer & evaluator; Ernie Hawkins, coach, Whalley Chiefs.
Jim Henderson, Calgary, Alta., New York Mets; Andrew Hendricks, Canadian Baseball Network; Mitch Hodge, Vancouver, BC, University of British Columbia: Jonathan Hodgson, Canadian Baseball Network; Paul Hollingsworth, Dartmouth, N.S., broadcaster, TSN; Vince Horsman, Dartmouth, N.S., pitching coach, double-A New Hempshire.
Ted Hotzak, president, BC Premier League; Cam Houston, St. Albert, Alta. Prospects Academy; Peter Hoy, Cardinal, Ont., coach, St. Lawrence College; 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; Todd Ireland, Burlington, Ont., associate head coach, Tusculum College; Aaron Izaryk, Markham, Ont., head coach, Bridgton Academy, North Bridgton, Maine.
Rob Jack, Toronto, executive assistant, Alomar Sports; Sean Jamieson, Simcoe, Ont., Triple A, Reno; John Jepson, Toronto, Ont., VP communications and business, Ontario Terriers/Grand Czar Premier League of Ontario; Mike Johnson, Sherwood Park, Alta., coach, St. Francis Xavier Academy/Canadian Junior National Team; Rick Johnston, Peterborough, Ont., The Baseball Zone/Ontario Terriers.
Doug Jones, Oyen, Alta., GM Brooks Bombers/Badlands Academy; Sam Katz, Winnipeg, Man., owner, Winnipeg Goldeyes; Mike Kelly, Vancouver, BC, coach and development Baseball BC; Chris Kemlo, Oshawa, Ont., coach, Toronto Mets 18U; Kevin Kennedy, Toronto, Ont., Pitch Talks.
Dave Kington, coach, Coquitlam Reds; George Kottaras, Markham, Ont., Triple A, Gwinnett Braves/Triple A, Sacramento River Cats; Mike Kozak, Kirkland, Que., assistant trainer, Marlins; Blair Kubicek, Digby, NS, part owner Fort McMurray Giants; Kevin Kvame, Lethbridge, Alta., President/GM, Lethbridge Bulls.
Andre Lachance, Ottawa, Ont., Canada’s women’s coach, Baseball Canada, Jessica Lack, Calgary, Alta., digital media coordination, community relations, class-A Tampa Yankees, Pierre-Luc Laforest, Gatineau, Que., manager, Trois-Rivieres Aigles; Maxime Lamarche, executive director, Baseball Quebec; Jacques Lanciault, Laval, Que., ball scribe, jacqueslanciault.com.
Eric Langill bullpen catcher, Kirkland, Que., New York Mets; Michel Laplante, Val D’Or, Que., president, Les Capitales de Québec; Jean-Gilles Larocque, Sudbury, The Baseball Academy; Brent Lavallee, North Delta, BC, head coach, LSU-Shreveport; INF Brett Lawrie, Langley, BC, White Sox.
Jim Lawson, Calgary, Alta., coach, PBF Redbirds; Randy LeBleau, Winnipeg, Man., assistant coach, Campbellsville College; Rob LeBleu, Winnipeg, Man., assistant coach, University of Winnipeg; Ken Lenihan, Halifax, N.S., Team Nova Scotia; Marty Lehn, White Rock, BC, GM White Rock Tritons/Big League Experience; Marc LePage, Welland, Ont., coach Brock University; Chris Leroux, Mississauga, Ont., Triple-A Buffalo/Free agent.
Honsing Leung, Toronto, Ont., coach, Toronto Mets; Linda Lewis, Port Lambton, Ont., Baseball Ontario, treasurer, Chatham HOF inductee; RP Adam Loewen, Surrey, BC Diamondbacks, John Lott, ball scribe, photographer, The Athletic (should be in the top 100); Jeff Lounsberry, coach, Burlington Bandits.
P.J. Loyello, vice-president, Marlins; Nicole Luchanski Edmonton, Alta. Team Canada women’s team; Mike Lumley, coach, London, Ont. London Badgers; Shawn Lynn, coach, Ontario Royals; Scott MacArthur, Toronto, TSN.
Drew MacDonald, Bradford, Ont., trainer class-A Lansing, Mitch MacDonald, coach, Regina, Sask., Regina Red Sox; Ryan MacDonald, Kennetcook N.S, Prairie Baseball Academy/Lethbridge Bulls; Todd MacFarlane, Edmonton, Alta., collector; Hazel Mae, broadcaster, Sportsnet; Jay-Dell Mah, author/Western Canada Baseball/Scoresheet Baseball, Nakusp, BC.
Kevin Malloy, assistant clubhouse manager, Jays; Chris Marco, Waterdown, Ont., umpire, class-A Carolina League; Murray Marshall, Stoney Creek, Ont., president, Team Ontario; Arash Madani, Toronto, Sportsnet; Dave Martin, Ottawa, newspaper collector; John Matthew IV, Ormond, Ont., producer extraordinare, bluejays.com; Manny McIntyre, Gagetown, NB, first black Canadian pro, class-C Sherbrooke Saints, May 30. 1946, 70 years ago.
Brooks McNiven, North Vancouver, BC, North Shore Twins; Cory Melvin, Tampa, scout, Brewers; Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro, Tim and Sid Sportsnet, Matt Mills, Hamilton, coach Ontario Royals; Larry Millson, Toronto, Ont., winner of the Jack Graney award; John Milton, Caledon, Ont., Ontario Terriers/Program Coordinator, St. Petersburg Baseball Commission/Arizona’s International Baseball Consortium, LLC.
Ryan Mittleman, video review, Jays; Dustin Molleken, Regina, Sask., Triple A Toledo/Detroit Tigers; Colin Moro, Calgary, coach, University of Calgary;
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; Bill Neale, Collingwood, Ont., head coach Kansas Wesleyan University; Shawn Neale, Collingwood, Ont., assistant coach, Kansas Wesleyan 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, volunteer assistant coach Georgia Tech University; Marc Noel, Miramichi, N.B. Team New Brunswick; Greg O’Halloran, coach, Ontario Terriers; Chris (Cleve) Okrainetz, Mississauga, Ont., Tip of the Tower;
Peter Orr, pro scout, Brewers; Bill Park, Chatham, Ont., commissioner Great South League summer college loop, Athens, Ga., James Parker, Ottawa, Ont., area scout, Padres; John Parker, coach, Whalley Chiefs; James Paxton, Ladner, BC, Seattle Mariners.
Rob Pegg, Flesherton, Ont., coach, Vanguard University; Dave Perkins, Toronto, Ont., author: Fun and Games: My 40 Years Writing Sports/The Fan; Marc Picard, Pickering, Ont., coach, Windsor Selects; John Picco, Windsor, Ont., coach, Windsor Selects, Gary Picone, Trail, BC, athletic director, Lewis-Clark State College.
Nick Pivetta, Victoria, BC, Triple-A Lehigh Valley; Warren Philp, Thunder Bay, Ont., convenor of 2017 World Juniors; Jamie Pogue, bullpen catcher, St. Louis Cardinals; Dalton Pompey, Mississauga, Ont., triple-A Buffalo/Blue Jays; 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; 1B Kate Psota Burlington, Ont., Team Canada women’s team; Roger Rai, Rogers Sportsnet consultant; Doug Rogers, coach, Mid-Island Pirates.
Melinda Rogers, Jays Care Foundation, Rogers Communications; Terry Puhl, Melville, Sask. coach, University of Houston-Victoria; Shawn Pynn, Brampton, Ont., head recruiting coach NCSA; 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; Chris Robinson, Dorchester, Ont., coach, Great Lake Candians; Doug Rogers, coach, Nanaimo, BC, Nanaimo Pirates; Jamie Romak, London, Ont., San Diego Padres.
Mal Romanin, Burlington, Ont., Blue Jays P.R. dept; Ben Rosen, Thornhill, Ont., rookie-class Gulf Coast League.Jeff Ross, equipment manager, Blue Jays, Jean Philippe Roy, Quebec City, Que., coach, Lions of Cégep St-Lawrence/Quebec Diamonds; Linda Russell, CEO, OES Inc. scoreboards, London; Ron Sandelli, director of security & special forces, Blue Jays.
Michael Saunders, Victoria, BC, Blue Jays; Pat Scalabrini, Sherbrooke, Que., manager, Quebec Capitales; Shawn Schaefer, Ridge Meadows, BC, assistant coach, Douglas College; Trevor Schumm, Edmonton, 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; Scott Secord and Paul Pettipiece, Pointstreak; Bill Shaikin, Montreal, Que., ball scribe, Los Angeles Times, Mike Shaw, Oakville, travelling secretary, Blue Jays,
Meyer Shemtov, Barrie, Ont. scout, Colorado Rockies; Jim Sheppard, coach, University of Toronto; Matthew Shuber, general counsel, Blue Jays; John Silverman, Montreal, equipment manager, Marlins; Jeff Simpson, Nashville, Tenn., scout, Milwaukee Brewers; Russ Smithson, coach, Port Coquitlam, BC, White Rock Tritons; Sammie Starr, Toronto, Ont., assistant coach, University of British Columbia
Jeff Steele, Powell River, BC, assistant coach, Campbell University; Ashley Stephenson, Mississauga, Ont., Team Canada women’s team/Pitch Talks star; Dale Stevens, Dundas, Ont. MLB.com; John Stewart, Brighton, Ont., Co-ordinator ballpark and clubhouse operations, Vancouver Canadians; Ryan Snair, Margaret’s Bay, N.S., head coach, Sullivan County Community College; Paul Solarski, Toronto, head coach, Polish Senior National Team.
Bernie Soulliere, Windsor, Ont., chef de mission Team Canada; Chris Soulliere, Windsor, Ont., Windsor Selects, Matt Spatafora, Scarborough, Ont., assistant coach/recruiting coordinator, Niagara University; Mike Steed, Burlington, Ont., pitching coach, Ontario Blue Jays; Brandon Steele, London, Ont., assistant coach, Tusculum College; Jay Stenhouse, Blue Jays, Rogers Centre public relations.
John Stephens, Stratford, Ont., chairman of the board, Canadian Hall of Fame; Andrew Stoeten, ball scribe, andrewstoeten.com; Jameson Taillon, The Woodlands, Tex., Pittsburgh Pirates; Patrick Tardif, Dieppe, NB, coach, Matadors de Mathieu-Martin/New Brunswick 17U selects/Team New Brunswick/bantam triple-A Dieppe Cardinals; Wes Taylor, Port Coquitlam BC, Coquitlam Reds.
Jordan Tiegs, Woodstock, Ont,, pitching coach Indiana State; Tom Tippett, Toronto, Ont., statistical analyst for two teams; Pete Toms, Ottawa, Ont., Baseball Digest Daily; Randy Town, Calgary, Alta., associate director for athletic operations and director of physical education Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, Colin Tyler, Thornhill, coach, Ontario Blue Jays,
Scott VandeValk, coach, Ontario Terriers; 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; Gary Van Tol, Pincher Creek, Alta., bench coach, class-A Emerald (Cubs); Dan Vertlieb, Vancouver, BC, agent; Carson Vitale, Victoria, B.C, Latin American field coordinator, Dodgers.
Cam Walker, Winnipeg, Man., head coach, Indian Hills Community College; Dave Wallace, coach, Parksville Royals; Doug Walton, producer, Sportsnet; Tanner Watson, Pakenham, Ont., coach, Ottawa-Nepean Canadians; Rob Watt, Chemainus, BC, assistant coach, Mount Olive College.
Gerry White, coach, North Delta Blue Jays; Cavanagh Whitely, Prince George BC, Douglas College; April Whitzman, manager digital & social media, Blue Jays; Jordan Will, general manager, Victoria Eagles; Justin Willard, Brampton, Ont., volunteer assistant coach, Radford University; 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. 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; Murray Zuk, Souris, Man. scout, Padres.