Pat Gillick- Inducted in 2011 By Veterans Committee As A Pioneer/Executive
Inducted in 2011 with just over 81% of the vote, Pat Gillick rightly holds a place in Cooperstown after a prolific career with the Blue Jays.
Although still working in the game, Gillick is most well known for being the Jays first GM, rapidly taking an expansion team from nothing in 1977 to their first ALCS a relatively short time later in 1985. He went on to assemble teams that brought home 4 more division titles (1989, 1991, 1992, 1993) and back-to-back World Series championships in ‘92 and ‘93. This consistent level of achievement, alongside former team president Paul Beeston, easily establishes them as historically one of the most successful front offices in league history.
The players Gillick hand-picked had career years while playing with the club. Just as an example, Jesse Barfield led the major leagues in home runs ‘86 with 40 while driving in 108 runs. Barfield’s team record for home runs only lasted a year though, as his teammate George Bell slugged his way to 47 bombs the following year while taking home A.L. MVP honours.
In the early years in particular, shrewd scouting and drafting, especially in the D.R., allowed the team to bring on eventual franchise players like Tony Fernandez, our slick-fielding shortstop, who was also a key piece in the ‘80s.
Gillick didn’t stop there, though, building on his early successes to help bring the World Series north of the border for the first time ever, and win it in successive years, against the Braves in ‘92, and Phillies in’93.
One of the principal reasons Gillick was able to accomplish the monumental tasks of building those juggernaut teams was his willingness to make bold, big-name trades, the likes of which we hadn’t seen again until the Anthopolous years.
The biggest one of all, that really set the tone and eventually propelled the team to greatness was with the Padres in the off-season prior to the ‘91 season: Gillick had the stones to send accomplished stars Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff to San Diego in exchange for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter. That deal, coupled with another trade during that same off-season for Devon White made for arguably the most exciting off-season in franchise history.
Gillick left the club on a high note after the second World Series victory, but as a final note, how’s this for an achievement: WAMCO, the acronym for the first 5 batters in the ‘93 lineup he assembled (White, Alomar, Molitor, Carter, Olerud) was partially comprised of 3 players that would finish first, second and third in the batting race that year: Olerud won, hitting .363, Molitor finished second with .332 and Alomar came in 3rd at .326. I don’t know – has that ever even been done before?
Authored by Ashley Weisdorf