OTTAWA – Hall of Fame baseball writer Bob Elliott has unveiled his Top 100 Most Influential Canadians in baseball list via his Canadian Baseball Network website and has been the case over the years, there are Baseball Canada ties throughout the list,
We’ll start at the top where longtime Baseball Canada supporter and General Manager of the reigning World Series champion Atlanta Braves, Alex Anthopoulos (Montréal, QC) took the title of Most Influential Canadian in Baseball for 2021 as he accomplished something that no other Canadian has ever done – being General Manager of a world championship team.
Speaking of rare feats by Canadians, Maple Ridge, BC’s Larry Walker, a year later than scheduled, took his rightful place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in September and Elliott ranked him as #2 following three consecutive years at the #1 spot.
A fixture near the top of the list since its inception in 2007 (and a two-time #1 spot holder – 2007 and 2011), Baseball Canada’s Director of Men’s National Teams and overseer of the Junior National Team program Greg Hamilton came in at #15. 2021 saw a return to action for both the Junior and Senior National Teams after over a year in limbo due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Former Baseball Canada Executive Director Jim Baba (Moose Jaw, SK) came in at #49 for 2021, the last of his 21 years as the head of Baseball Canada’s office in Ottawa with new head of the federation office, CEO Jason Dickson (Miramichi, NB), at #58.
Sherwood Park, Alberta’s Shari Reiniger had a year to remember in 2021 and she landed in the Top 100 at #68. The veteran World Baseball Softball Confederation Technical Official represented Baseball Canada at the Tokyo Olympics in August and prior to that was part of the off-field officials’ group at the Baseball Americas Olympic Qualifier in June. Reiniger is also instrumental in Baseball Canada’s efforts to grow baseball among women.
The only Canadian umpire among Major League Baseball’s roster of umpire’s, Regina’s Stu Scheurwater came in at #88. A graduate of the Baseball Canada National Umpires Program, Scheurwater worked 114 games, including 28 games behind the plate in 2021 in his fourth year of being a big-league ump.
London, Ontario’s Alexis Brudnicki was the 2021 recipient of Baseball Canada’s Bob Elliott Media Recognition Award and took spot #89 on Elliott’s list. Brudnicki has spent over a decade covering all of Baseball Canada’s National Teams and served two stints as press officer with the Women’s National Team.
A slew of Baseball Canada National Team alums took spots in the Top 100 including: Joey Votto (6), Freddie Freeman (10), Tyler O’Neill (12), Jordan Romano (14), Cal Quantrill (17), Nick Pivetta (21), Justin Morneau (24), Joe Siddall (27), Adam Stern and Chris Robinson (29), Ryan Dempster (35), Chris Kemlo (31), Chris Reitsma (36), Stubby Clapp (42), Mike Soroka (43), Josh and Bo Naylor (55), Bill Byckowski (59), Taylor Green and Pete Orr (63), Rick Johnston (74), Corey Eckstein (76), Phil Devey (77) and Scott Thorman (78).