Bob Elliott knew he was destined to cover baseball…even while watching hockey. For the Canadian-born son of a super-athlete and the grandson of a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, the script could not have featured a more natural plot line.
And, like every good story, it now has a happy ending, culminating with the highest honor in the craft bestowed upon the former Toronto Sun writer.
Since the late 1970s, Elliott covered baseball in Canada, with a tenacious knack for fact-finding while providing a colorful look into the sport’s biggest personalities.
The road to Cooperstown began with his first beat assignment in 1979 covering the Expos. But that dream began as an 8-year-old watching the Montreal Canadiens’ Yvan Cournoyer, sensing the inherent beauty of hockey, relating baseball to how the individual effort in the construct of baseball personified the team sport.
“Baseball is a fair game,” said Elliott. “It is a beautiful, beautiful game that has so many amazing moments. It is an equal opportunity employer, and has endless stories.”
His love for the game was instilled by his father, Bob, a great semi-pro baseball player who lost his left eye in his youth in an accident, yet would become one of the greatest athletes Kingston, Ontario, has ever known.
Writers that Elliott counts as inspirations include Terry Johnson, Vern Plagenhoff and Neil Hohlfeld, all who provided guidance at the onset of his career.
In his career, Elliott followed two championship clubs – the Blue Jays of 1992 and 1993 – and developed relationships that have enabled him to share the most insightful angles on baseball with readers.
2012 BBWAA Career Excellence Award Winner Bob Elliott. (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)