9:52 AM Central

It’s very difficult to put into words just how meaningful and significant it is that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America has chosen to honour Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing”, earning him a spot in the writers’ wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.  In fact, the task is probably better suited for the man himself.

There’s no question that Mr. Elliott is supremely deserving of the award.  The dean of Canadian baseball writers, the Kingston, Ontario native started covering big-league baseball on the Expos’ beat for a couple of papers in Ottawa and made his debut with the Toronto Sun in 1987.  He’s been more than a mainstay covering the Blue Jays ever since.

Not only does he do great work covering the Blue Jays, with an incredible network of sources and contacts – you can almost always find Mr. E. talking to a scout – he is also without peer as far as coverage of Canadian baseball is concerned.  There has been a tremendous growth in baseball in Canada over the last couple of decades, coinciding with the Blue Jays’ rise to prominence in the mid-80s through the early-90s, and Bob Elliott has at least spoken to pretty much every Canadian who has played pro ball or gotten a college scholarship in the U.S. over that time.  There’s no question who the true guru is.

It’s especially meaningful that the BBWAA – a group of baseball writers, the overwhelming majority of whom are American – has given this award to a Canadian for covering their game.  While the NFL may have roared past big-league baseball as far as popularity goes, baseball is still the national pastime, still firmly ingrained in the hearts and minds of Americans (and definitely in the generations that have produced the current BBWAA members).  You never hear people talking about “Mom, apple pie and football”.  For the BBWAA to honour a Canadian for his work in a quintessentially American game is beyond massive, and shows just how good and how well-respected Mr. Elliott is.  Never before has a Canadian won this award, and it’s likely to be a awfully long time before it ever happens again.

On a personal note, I have a ton of respect for Mr. E., which is what I call him because I can’t bring myself to call him by his first name.  He loves the game, and he has a fantastic passion for Canadian baseball, which I admire greatly.  I hope that my Sportsnet colleague Shi Davidi and I are making him proud by trying to carry the torch for Baseball Canada as high as he does.  Mr. E. may have a bit of a gruff exterior, but if you’ve heard any of his frequent appearances on Prime Time Sports you know he has a quick wit and a mischievous sense of humour and, of course, he knows the game inside and out.

Every time he passes Jerry Howarth in the press box at Rogers Centre, Mr. Elliott will let out a little “Hello, friends!” and it never fails to put a huge smile on his face.  The first time he greeted me with a “Hello, Michael”, I knew I had arrived.

The heartiest of congratulations go out to Bob Elliott for this incredible honour, it’ll be great to see him on the podium in Cooperstown in July, proudly waving the Canadian flag.  Tomorrow, we find out whether Tom Cheek will join him.

Please follow me on the Twitter, there’s a ton of stuff going on down here at the Winter Meetings in Dallas.  You can find me @wilnerness590.  You can find Mr. E. @elliottbaseball.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!

4 Responses to “Mr. E Gets The Call”
  1. 1.

    Congrats to E. Let’s hope that TC is successful, too. On a different note, Mike, you will recall that the Jays failed to sign their 1st round pick last year. The kid wanted more money. My question is, “Under the new agreement, when this kid becomes eligible 3 or 4 years from now to reenter the draft is he going to have the potential to earn the same $$ the jays were offering, or is he likely to be a big financial loser?”

    MW: The answer is yes to both questions.

    - William
  2. 2.

    Mike, I just hope that the award to “Mr. E” does not preclude the election of Tom Cheek to the hall. Can they put two “Canadians” in the HOF in the same year?

    MW: It’s two different sets of voters, neither of which knows what the other is doing.

    - norm
  3. 3.

    Actually I have heard Mr E on PTS. In September he was expressing his bewilderment of why everyone was so down on Lind because if you extrapolate his RBI total over the month he was injured, he had a good season. I have also heard his “sources” that AA really wanted Bell. He just printed that the notion of trading Escobar for 1 year of Phillips at 12 million was actaully being passed around, subtibly implying that its far out there but its something to think about. Do you not find it hypocritical that you, rightfully so, dismiss any Jays talk caller for assessing the quality of a pitcher by wins, and yet praise Mr. E for doing the same. I am actually not trying to besmirch Elliot because he has done a lot in baseball and especially for it in this country. He deserves to be inducted on that merit. However, he has completely fallen out of touch with the modern game to the point where any serious baseball fan (at least under 45) completely ignores his analysis, unless to make fun of it. Does his accomplishments really warrant a free pass from any mainstream media outlet over his nonsensical and antiquated views? Obviously, it would not be polite for you to do so today. However, your blog is representative of most main media praising Elliot while brushing over his current work. Is it really such an egregious offense to respond to one of his opinions the same way you would if a caller said the same thing? You know, as opposed to just pretending he didn’t say it.

    MW: It’s sad to be so angry, really. Bob Elliott has done more for baseball in Canada than almost anyone, he’s worked his tail off for nearly half a century gathering a network of contacts and he has been a relentless promoter of the game and the Canadians in it, but you have to come here and rip him. Honestly, do you have nothing better to do?

    - adam
  4. 4.

    To me Bob Elliott is the best baseball writer in North America. Well deserving.

    - Gary
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