Each year, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, legendary Canadian sports journalist and founder of the Canadian Baseball Network, Bob Elliott, compiles a list of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Baseball. The Top 100 is a prestigious list of the “Who’s Who” in advancing the game of baseball in Canada.
The 2019 Top 100 was just released, and once again it contains the royalty of Canadian baseball executives, players, coaches, broadcasters and others that have a positive impact on the sport. At the top of the list is former Montreal Expo and Colorado Rockies star, Larry Walker, hopefully named to the MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown later today. Others on the prestigious list are Atlanta Braves GM- Alex Anthopoulos, Edward Rogers of the Blue Jays ownership group, various current MLB players such as Calgary’s Mike Soroka of the Atlanta Braves, James Paxton of the New York Yankees, Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds, to name just a few. Other notables identified were Dawgs Hall of Famers, Greg Hamilton (#6)- Team Canada GM & Head Coach, and Terry McKaig (#37)- UBC Director of Baseball Operations.
It is with great honor that the Dawgs Organization is privileged to have several Dawgs named alongside these outstanding people involved in professional and amateur baseball across the country and into the United States.
Singled out at the very top of the list, listed as #1A following Larry Walker, was a group that Elliott describes as his “Okotoks Angels”. This Dawgs team is made up of
Lou Pote (Dawgs Pitching Coach and former Anaheim Angels pitcher), Savannah Blakely (Dawgs Phyiscal Therapist) and Angela Berger (Dawgs Photographer). The 3 were among those that played a major role in resuscitating Elliott after a medical issue at last year’s Dawgs Banquet and Fundraiser.
Moving up on the list to # 12 (from #15) is Dawgs founding and managing director, John Ircandia, who was honored with his highest ever ranking. Ircandia was recognized for his outstanding contribution to amateur and youth development which includes:
- the creation of the Dawgs Baseball Academy;
- the construction of the state of the art, Seaman Stadium Complex;
- the phenomenal success of the Dawgs summer collegiate club which in 2019 averaged 4,000 fans per game, good enough for 3rd among summer collegiate clubs in all of North America;
- overseeing another $1M addition to accommodate the growing fan base at Seaman Stadium, already the premier amateur baseball stadium complex in the country;
- the success of Dawgs Baseball Academy, with its 18U team ranked 3rd elite youth program in the country by Perfect Game;
- the success of the Dawgs 15U club which in 2019 added another provincial championship, their 3rd in 5 years, to a long list of provincial and national awards;
- 170+ College placements for Dawgs athletes throughout all levels of college baseball from NJCAA to NCAA D1 programs across North America; including Cesar Valero, Micah McDowell and Richard Mascarenas at NCAA D1 perennial powerhouse Oregon State University
- the hosting of the hosting of the 2019 Women’s National Invitational Championships; and
- Upcoming in 2020, the hosting of the prestigious Ray Carter 15U National Championship.
The Top 100 also paid homage “In Memoriam” to a list of baseball luminaries lost this past year including former Dawgs director and donor, Bill Tanguay.
Several Dawgs were also among those identified by Elliott in his Top 100 as “Honorable Mentions”. These included:
-Dawgs Academy General Manager and Coach, Tyler Hollick;
-Dawgs Pitching Coordinator and Coach, Jeff Duda;
-Dawgs 13U Head Coach, Tyler Milton;
-Dawgs 15U Red Head Coach, Doug McPhail;
-Dawgs 18U Red Pitching Coach, Kurtis Taylor;
-Dawgs Director and Official Merchandiser, Pablo Forno and
-Dawgs baseball consultant and Hall of Famer, Blair Kubicek, true Alberta Baseball royalty having served as the first head coach and builder of the Prairie Baseball Academy.
Looking ahead to 2020, the Dawgs will continue to raise the bar in amateur and youth baseball