The top 100 most influential Canadians in baseball for 2021 has been released by Bob Elliott and the Canadian Baseball Network.
The list includes three Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum board members as well as CBHFM Director of Operations Scott Crawford.
No. 37 - Board Member Elizabeth Benn
Elizabeth Benn works for Major League Baseball in New York City.
As coordinator of baseball operations, Benn provides support for the administration of player transactions, waivers and roster management. During the year, the Toronto native disseminates the daily waiver bulletin and serves as a point-of-contact for team operations staff with regards to the interpretation of MLB rules and the Basic Agreement.
In addition, she manages programs related to the development and education of players and staff, with an emphasis on providing playing and career development opportunities for women in the game, playing an integral role in helping advance programs like Take the Field and other women's development at the amateur level through RBI, the Breakthrough Series, the Elite Development Invitational, MLB Grit and USA Baseball National Team organizations.
Benn also coordinates programs such as MLB's social media screening for Minor League and draft eligible players, MLB's women's locker room accommodations policy, and works with the Players Alumni Association to develop player programs.
No. 80 - Board Chair Jeremy Diamond and CBHFM Director of Operations Scott Crawford
The January 2022 elections will be the second with Jeremy Diamond as the new chair of the Hall in St. Marys. The COVID-19 pandemic has him pitching an induction shutout. An experienced expert with 25 years in fundraising, Diamond (North York, Ont.) took over in June, 2020 from St. Marys native Adam Stephens.
In 2020, Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.), John Olerud, Duane Ward and broadcaster Jacques Doucet (Montreal, Que.) were elected, but they have not been inducted. Regular elections were not held in 2020 or 2021.
However, the Hall's Board of Directors elected: Bob Addy (Port Hope, Ont.), James F. Cairns (Saskatoon, Sask.), Helen (Callaghan) Candaele St. Aubin (Vancouver, B.C.), Jimmy Claxton (Wellington, B.C.), Charlie Culver (Montreal, Que.), William 'Hipple' Galloway (Dunnville, Ont.), Roland Gladu (Montreal, Que.), Vern Handrahan (Charlottetown, P.E.I.), Manny McIntyre (Devon, N.B.), Joe Page (Montreal, Que.), Ernie Quigley (Newcastle, N.B.), Hector Racine (La Prairie, Que.), Jimmy Rattlesnake (Hobbema, Alta.), Jean-Pierre Roy (Montreal, Que.), Fred Thomas (Windsor, Ont.), Roy Yamamura (Vancouver, B.C.) and the 1877 London Tecumsehs. They were inducted virtually on Nov. 16, 2021.
Scott Crawford (Georgetown, Ont.) is hoping to be as busy as he always is on induction weekend -- doing the work of four people -- on June 18, 2022. The new building includes the R. Howard Webster Foundation visitors' lounge, curator Christi Hudson's exhibits, and the Harry Simmons Memorial Library and Centre for Canadian Research which houses one-of-a-kind historic documents and artifacts.
No. 81 Board Member Mike Wilner
CBHFM board member Mike Wilner writes for the Toronto Star. He was a Blue Jays' broadcaster for 20 years before that.
Maybe his best piece in 2021 was Wilner's story on A's Tony Kemp watching former Oakland teammate Marcus Semien celebrate a game-winning, three-run, ninth-inning homer at Rogers Centre.
"It gives me chills talking about it now," Kemp told Wilner. "The place was electric and it wasn't full." Then, Kemp showed Wilner his goose bumps. Semien took former teammates to dinner before the opener: Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Mark Canha, James Kaprielian and Kemp, who explained Sieman paid, adding "that's what happens when you pay it forward. You pay for dinner, you hit walk-off home runs."
Best podcasts included: talking Jack Graney winner John Lott into a guest spot, former Jay Josh Donaldson, the Canada Day show with Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.), John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) Dan Shulman (Toronto, Ont.) and Joe Siddall (Windsor, Ont.) and a Tom Cheek tribute with former president Paul Beeston and ex-Star columnist Dave Perkins.
Former sports columnist
Bob Elliott, meanwhile, does the baseball rankings each year. He is a former sports columnist, who covered professional baseball in Canada. He began his newspaper career in 1978 as a reporter for the Ottawa Citizen, covering the Montreal Expos, before leaving in 1986 to cover the Toronto Blue Jays for the Toronto Sun.
In 2016, Elliott stepped back from the newspaper business to concentrate on his website, the Canadian Baseball Network. In 2015, the Mississauga resident was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.