Official Canadian Baseball Network News Release
Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos has been named the Most Influential Canadian in baseball by the Canadian Baseball Network (CBN).
The Montreal native, who became the first Canadian-born general manager to be at the helm of a World Series-winning team, unseated newly minted National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) for the top position
Walker was No. 2 on CBN’s 2021 Top 100 Most Influential Canadians in baseball list. Rounding out the top five were Rogers Communications board chair Edward Rogers, Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Montreal, Que.) and San Francisco Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi (Sudbury, Ont.).
Anthopoulos, who began his career in professional baseball as an unpaid intern with the Montreal Expos in 2000 and later rose through the Blue Jays ranks to become their general manager in 2009, overcame numerous obstacles to transform the Braves into World Series champions in 2021.
On Opening Day, the Braves’ starting outfield consisted of Marcell Ozuna in left, Cristian Pache in centre and superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. in right. Ozuna was arrested after allegedly assaulting his wife 48 games into the season, Pache played 22 games and hit just .111 and Acuna Jr. tore his right anterior cruciate ligament after 82 games.
The day after the All-Star break the Braves’ outfield featured Orlando Arcia (left field), Guillermo Heredia (centre field) and Abraham Almonte (right field). The tireless Anthopoulos proceeded to reconstruct his outfield through a series of astute trades.
By Game 6 of the World Series, the Braves’ starting outfield was comprised of veterans Eddie Rosario in left, Adam Duvall in centre and Joc Pederson in right. Anthopoulos also added slugger Jorge Soler in a deal with the Kansas City Royals on July 30. Soler was the club’s DH in that contest.
Soler turned out to be the World Series MVP as the Braves downed the Houston Astros. Rosario was named the National League Championship Series MVP after he went 14-for-25 (.560 batting average) to help the Braves defeat the reigning champion Los Angeles Dodgers. And Pederson had two homers and a team-leading five RBIs in the National League Division Series to propel the Braves past the Milwaukee Brewers.
The 2021 campaign represented Anthopoulos’s seventh straight season as an executive (one with the Blue Jays as GM, two with Dodgers as assistant GM and four with the Braves, now president of baseball operations & GM) that his teams have advanced to the postseason.
Anthopoulos was also named CBN’s Most Influential Canadian in baseball in 2015.
Founded by Bob Elliott, the Canadian Baseball Network has been researching and compiling its annual list of the Top 100 Most Influential Canadians in baseball for 15 years. The list recognizes professional players, coaches, scouts, executives, agents, umpires, broadcasters and journalists, as well as leading amateur coaches and executives.
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So well deserved. #1 Alex! Great work Bob and Kevin on the top 100 once again.
A great highlight for the new year.