Blue Jays: Top-five greatest managers in franchise history
The Toronto Blue Jays have had many managers throughout their storied franchise history. We've seen a cast of characters with engaging personalities. What makes a manager great is how he brings a team together and works with different personalities. A great manager will also come to the aid of their players and instead get kicked off the game rather than their best player. In the history of the Blue Jays franchise, five managers each brought something to the table whether they had a short or long stint with the ballclub.
No. 5: Charlie Montoyo
You may be shocked to see Montoyo in the top-five, but his four seasons with the Blue Jays it's ups and downs. He's one of those managers that were around to mold and guide a young core team with stars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. Montoyo led the Blue Jays to two winning seasons.
In 2020, the Blue Jays finished a 32-28 record and went to the playoffs, losing to the Tampa Bay Rays. One would argue that they wouldn't make the playoffs had it been a full season, but the reality is that they made the playoffs with this young group.
The 2021 season was the most exciting season for Montoyo as the club finished with a 91-71 record. They failed to make the playoffs, but what they did in the second half of the season was unforgettable. The team chemistry grew stronger, Vladdy and Marcus Semien put up MVP-like numbers, Robbie Ray won the AL Cy Young and the addition of George Springer was an asset from a leadoff and leadership standpoint.
No. 4: Jimy Williams
Williams is one of the most underrated managers of his era. He holds the second-best winning percentage among Blue Jays managers with .538. Williams managed the team from 1986 through 1989 before being fired in 1989 and replaced by Cito Gaston. He experienced his best season in 1987 when the team finished with a 96-66 record.
No. 3: Bobby Cox
One of the most respected managers of all time, Bobby Cox - will always be remembered for his tenure with the Atlanta Braves and the amount of success he had there. However, we must not forget that before he was in Atlanta, he was a manager for the Toronto Blue Jays. He achieved some winning seasons in Toronto as well. 1985 was the best season of Bobby Cox's managerial career with the Jays. The ballclub came very close that season but lost in Game 7 of the ALCS against the eventual champions, Kansas City Royals.
No. 2: John Gibbons
Blue Jays nation will always admire John Gibbons for the kind of manager he was to Toronto. He was no BS. Gibbons is the most tenacious and fiery manager in Blue Jays history. He leads the Blue Jays managers in ejections with 52 during his 11-year span with the team. In 2015, Gibbons helped the Blue Jays to make their first playoff appearance since 1993.
Through the playoffs of 2015 and '16, Gibbons led a team with talented guys like José Bautista, who will always be remembered for that substantial three-run home run in the 7th inning against the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the ALDS. He also had the 2015 AL MVP in his clubhouse Josh Donaldson, Marcus Stroman, Troy Tulowitzki (who took the team to more significant heights in the second half of the 2015 season), R.A. Dickey, David Price, and others. Gibbons helped manage those personalities, which worked for two glorious and exciting seasons.
No. 1: Cito Gaston
Cito Gaston is the undisputed king of Blue Jays managers. It's going to be a while before someone else takes him down from the No. 1 spot. Gaston won two titles with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993 with a loaded offense and solid pitching staff. He's the first black manager to win a championship and the first and only manager to receive the club's highest honor, the Blue Jays Level of Excellence, in 1999. Gaston managed the club from 1989 to 1997 and then from 2008 to 2010. Although he wasn't successful in the second stint with the team, he got to witness José Bautista become a star in Toronto.