Baseball Canada is excited to announce the addition of the Bob Elliott Media Recognition Award to our group of national awards recognizing individuals who have made a positive impact to Baseball Canada and its member provinces at a national, provincial or local level.
Our newest award is named after Bob Elliott, a former winner (2012) of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the highest award given by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA), presented annually by the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Elliott covered both the Montréal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays during a distinguished career that spanned four decades, but it’s Bob’s long lasting contributions to Canadian baseball and raising the profile of Canadians in the gameand telling their stories which has resulted in this award being named after him. The Kingston, Ontario native’s Canadian Baseball Network website has been a go-to source for information for years from Canadian baseball sandlots all the way to the big leagues. When a Canadian reaches the majors, chances are the Canadian baseball community read about them years earlier via Elliott and the Canadian Baseball Network. His coverage of Canadian prospects eligible for the annual MLB Draft has been must read material for years while his annual Top 100 Most Influential Canadians in Baseball list has provided deserved recognition for many year-over-year. It’s through Bob’s work that he’s forged relationships across Canada allowing him to tell great Canadian baseball stories to this very day.
Baseball Canada is proud to announce Mike Wilner as the first winner of the Bob Elliott Media Recognition Award for his efforts in providing coverage to Baseball Canada’s national teams and its athletes. Familiar to baseball fans from coast-to-coast-to-coast through his work on Toronto Blue Jays’ radio broadcasts, Wilner has consistently gone out of his way to wave the Baseball Canada flag in keeping listeners up-to-date on Team Canada events while also introducing his audience to national team athletes on his radio shows.
Wilner has graciously hosted the Baseball Canada National Teams Awards Banquet and Fundraiser each year since 2014, a key fundraising event that brings together current and former players of our Junior and Senior National Teams.
For the past ten springs, when the Junior National Team travelled to Dunedin to take on the Blue Jays, Mike made it a point to bring some of the young Canadian players up to the broadcast booth for an in-game interview adding to their experience of feeling like a big leaguer for the day. It’s through these interviews that he’s introduced his audience to the likes of Josh and Bo Naylor, Cal Quantrill and Mike Soroka from their time with the Junior National Team. His work in using his platform to tell the stories of the Junior National Team program and its athletes on this important day for Baseball Canada has provided special memories for families of players who could not be there in person.
The Toronto native has also used his social platform to keep his numerous followers aware of Canada’s results on the international stage while he’s always welcomed members of Baseball Canada’s Women’s, Junior and Senior National Teams to his radio programming whenever the opportunity arose.
Mike was also on the call for Team Canada’s games when the World Baseball Classic took place at Rogers Centre back in 2009 and has been part of broadcast teams when Canada’s World Baseball Classic squad visited Dunedin for exhibition contests.