Video: Bob Elliott’s Going to Cooperstown

Last week, my world’s collided. Let me explain: I work by day as a producer on a nightly current affairs television program up here in God’s city, Toronto, called The Agenda with Steve Paikin, producing one-on-one interviews on a myriad of topics, and moonlight as a very mediocre sports writer by night. The inimitable host of our program, veteran journalist, great Canadian, and the hardest working man in show business, Steve Paikin, is a huge baseball fan. He’s got a framed painting of Ted Williams in his office. I’m quite certain that if Steve weren’t a Boston Red Sox fan, he’d be perfect. And, so, when veteran Toronto Sun baseball scribe Bob Elliott got the call to Cooperstown, winning the 2012 J.G. Taylor Spink Award, Steve invited him into our studio for an interview. Now, Bob Elliott’s usually on the other end of this equation; he’s the one asking the questions. But when Steve Paikin invites you on The Agenda, you don’t turn him down. So Elliott sat down with Paikin, magic happened, and television was made.

Some highlights from the feature interview:

- At the end of the day, Elliott, like the rest of us, simply loves baseball, and was lucky enough to make a living off of the game. His favorite player growing up was Eddie Mathews. He named his son after him. And when Elliott met Mathews, he admits: “it was a little disappointing.”

- The best team Bob Elliott ever saw: the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays. Me too. Back-to-back World Series champions, baby.

- When asked to name “the nicest ballplayer” he ever encountered, Elliott struggled to find an answer, finally settling on Paul Molitor.

- When asked to name “the most miserable SOB” he ever dealt with, Elliott didn’t hesitate, not for a second: Dave Stieb. Say it ain’t so!

- About the steroid era, Elliott says he will vote for both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens to be elected into Cooperstown, but that he doesn’t know what he’s going to do about A-Rod. Neither do the Yankees.

- And, finally, this next nugget isn’t from the interview itself, but from a conversation Elliott, Paikin, and I had after the interview, in the green room: Elliott said he only votes players to Cooperstown based on what they did on the field, yet he agrees with Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rose, according to Elliott, committed the ultimate baseball sin. Quite the contradiction, if you ask me, and I respectfully disagree with Elliott. Free Charlie Hustle.

Congratulations, Bob Elliott. A life spent writing about baseball, culminating in enshrinement in Cooperstown, sounds like a life bloody well-lived to me.

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Navin Vaswani is a replacement-level writer. Follow him on Twitter.

8 Responses to “Video: Bob Elliott’s Going to Cooperstown”

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  1. Fullmer_Fan says:

    I don’t see it as contradictory at all, really. I, in fact, agree with him (though I’d probably let Rose in, anyway, for his incredible accomplishments as a player).

    PED use has basically been accepted in baseball’s culture since its inception as a sport. It’s simply professional athletes trying to better themselves in their careers and do as best as they can for their team. I’ve never understood what’s wrong with that, and if it was up to me, PEDs wouldn’t be against the rules of MLB (though I understand why they are).

    Betting on baseball, on the other hand, is a cardinal sin in my mind and completely undermines the sport’s credibility. You don’t want to have a situation where you aren’t sure whether the players/managers are playing to win. There is also the history there of a team throwing World Series games for money, which baseball never wants to repeat.

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    • I’ve never viewed the fact Rose bet on baseball as a “cardinal sin.” He gambled. I”m cool with that. For some reason, I believe him when he says he never bet against his own team. I have no reason to believe him. Even if it is true, it doesn’t make it right. But I still think he belongs in the Hall. On the field, he proved it.

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  2. Big Jgke says:

    Wow, Navin, you just keep getting cooler. First the moderately successful bloggery and now I find out you work for Paikin?!??! How do i steal your life?

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  3. A friend says:

    I think we should start discussing Palmeiro’s HoF snub.

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  4. A friend says:

    We’ll discuss Palmerio over steak.

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