August 22, 2023
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Legendary Toronto Blue Jays general manager Pat Gillick turns 86 today.
Happy Birthday to him!
Here’s a short bio of him I wrote for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame several years ago:
A left-handed pitcher on the 1958 NCAA champion, University of Southern California squad, Pat Gillick spent five years in the Baltimore Orioles system. Arm troubles forced the California native into a front office position with the Houston Colt .45’s when he was just 26.
After a decade in scouting with Houston, Gillick accepted a position as coordinator of player development with the New York Yankees in 1974 before becoming the Toronto Blue Jays’ vice-president of player personnel on August 16, 1976.
In his 18 years in Toronto, Gillick transformed an expansion club into World Series champions. Dave Stieb, Jimmy Key, George Bell, Fred McGriff, Tom Henke, Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar are among the cornerstone players he drafted or traded for during his reign as general manager.
With Gillick as GM, the Blue Jays recorded 11 consecutive winning seasons (1983 to 1993), captured five division titles (1985, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993) and won two World Championships (1992, 1993). For his efforts, he was voted Canada’s Baseball Man of the Year twice (1983, 1991), UPI’s American League Executive of the Year three times (1985, 1992, 1993) and The Sporting News’ Co-Sportsman of the Year (along with Cito Gaston) in 1993.
In 1997, he was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and five years later, he became the sixth member of the Blue Jays’ Level of Excellence.
After his departure from the Blue Jays, Gillick led three more franchises to post-season appearances: Baltimore (1996, 1997), Seattle (2000, 2001) and Philadelphia (2007, 2008). He is the only GM in major league history to guide four different clubs to the playoffs.
When the Phillies won the Fall Classic in 2008, Gillick added a third championship to his resume.
In 2011, he was Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Five years later, Gillick won Baseball America’s Roland Hemond Award for achievement in scouting and player development, and in 2018 he was added to the Phillies’ Wall of Excellence.
Gillick is now a senior advisor and part owner of the Phillies.