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Baseball Hall of Fame Gets It Right and Wrong 0

Posted on December 11, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Pat Gillick in the first pure general manager from the last 50 years of baseball to be selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The election earlier this week of Pat Gillick to the Baseball Hall of Fame was a deserving honor for a longtime baseball executive, but the Veterans Committee missed a chance to make the 2011 Hall of Fame class truly special.

Recognizing baseball front office personnel who were not owners or league officials is not one of the traditional strengths of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Gillick is the 32nd baseball executive honored by the Hall of Fame, but only the fourth whose primary responsibilities was as a general manager or team architect and the only one from the last 50 years of baseball.

While other general managers have received more publicity, few in the modern era of baseball have had more success than Gillick.

After beginning his career with the fledgling Houston Astros and then having a stint in the front office of the New York Yankees in the 1970s, it was after joining the expansion Toronto Blue Jays that Gillick began establishing his Hall of Fame credentials.

Originally hired in 1976 as the Vice President of Player Personnel, in 1977 he became Vice President of Baseball Operations and in 1984 named the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations.

Overseeing the development of the roster from expansion, Gillick crafted a roster that was built through the development of minor leaguers and then enhanced with savvy veteran acquisitions.

The Blue Jays posted their first winning record during their seventh season (1983) and two years later won 99 games and reached the AL Championship Series for the first time. They also won the AL East in 1989 and 1991 before claiming back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. He left the organization in 1994 and the franchise has not reached the post season since.

In 1995 Gillick became general manager of the Baltimore Orioles and in 1996 and 1997 the team reached the AL Championship Series. The Orioles have not had a winning season since his departure in 1998. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
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      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

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