Born in Kingston, Ont., in 1949, Elliott was introduced to baseball by his father, Bob, and grandfather, Chaucer, both of whom were superb athletes. A second baseman who discovered early in his teens that he couldn’t hit the curveball, Elliott turned his attention to baseball statistics. His career in journalism began when he started compiling box scores for Kingston’s senior team and submitting them to the Kingston Whig-Standard – a job that paid him $100 a season. When he was 17, he was offered a job as a sports reporter by the paper.
His mother burst into tears when he asked if he could accept the position. She wanted him to attend Queen’s University, but Elliott pleaded with his father who eventually brought his mother on side. His dad told him he could take the job on two conditions: one, that he finished Grade 12 and two, that he wouldn’t be like one of those Boston writers who didn’t vote for Ted Williams for the American League MVP in 1941 because they didn’t like him.
But it wasn’t until 12 years later, when he was writing for the Ottawa Citizen, that Elliott would receive his first major league assignment – the Montreal Expos’ 1978 home opener. The hard-working scribe quickly became a widely respected reporter and news breaker and a regular in the Expos press box until he joined the Toronto Sun as the Blue Jays beat writer in 1987.
Though he’s broken numerous stories about the Blue Jays and Expos, Elliott is best known in the Canadian baseball fraternity for shining the spotlight on homegrown talent. He is the founder of the Canadian Baseball Network website (www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com) which tracks the top Canadian draft candidates, college players and minor league players.
In his close to five decades in journalism, Elliott, now the Toronto Sun’s baseball columnist, has also penned three books, including the bestseller Hard Ball about George Bell in 1990, The Ultimate Blue Jays Trivia Book in 1993 and The Northern Game: Baseball The Canadian Way in 2005.
He has also served as a volunteer baseball coach and was on the staff of the Georgetown, Ont. squads that won Canadian championships at the Pee Wee and Bantam levels in 2007 and 2009 respectively.
In 2010, Elliott was honoured with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Jack Graney Award and he was the first Canadian recipient of the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award in 2012. He has also been inducted into the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians Hall of Fame (2009), the Kingston Sports Hall of Fame (2013) and the Okotoks Dawgs/Seaman Stadium Hall of Fame (2014).
“I’ve had some very wonderful honours the previous few years,” said Elliott, when informed of his induction. “As a writer, I don’t think my uniform from the Kingscourt Little League Pirates in Kingston or myself belong with these guys – these guys could play. I saw all four play. I’m humbled. I feel like that one thing on Sesame Street that doesn’t belong with the others.”