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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

PAT GILLICK

Inducted in 2008

Member Details

Date of Birth: August 22, 1937
Place of Birth: Chico, California
Sport: Baseball
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1976

Recruited by Toronto Blue Jays to be their first Vice President of Player Development

1985, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993

Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Toronto Blue Jays for five division titles

1992, 1993

Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Toronto Blue Jays for two World Series victories

2008

Inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Honoured Member PAT GILLICK
Inspire

Story

Enjoying the 2008 All-Star break in his Prince Edward Island retreat with his wife Doris, Pat Gillick can reflect on a charmed baseball life from being a member of the University of California's NCAA champion in 1958, to his days as an aspiring talent in the Baltimore Orioles system, and then his first administrative lessons with the Houston Colt 45's and New York Yankees, and more recently his General Manager duties in Baltimore, Seattle and Philadelphia. It's his Canadian story however that stands out. Born in California in 1937 he could hardly have imagined one day entering the premier sports Hall of Fame of the country north of the border. "I was to be honest very surprised, humbled a bit," he says, when informed of the honour this spring. The roots of that recognition go back to the fifties when he pitched a no-hitter as a young southpaw at a Medicine Hat, Alberta tournament, and then played minor league ball in Edmonton and Vancouver. So he wasn't unaware of Canada when the Toronto Blue Jays recruited him in 1976 to join their expansion American League team as VP of Player Development. For 18 years he, and an extraordinary team of baseball executives including 2005 Canada's Sports Hall inductee Paul Beeston, gave Toronto a golden age of baseball culminating in World Series victories in 1992 and 1993. Along the way he became a dual citizen and a proud homeowner in Toronto. Gillick acknowledges that his Canadian experience changed him. "I'd say Canadians are a little more laid back than Americans. There's a greater tendency here for people to work to live as opposed to the States where it's living to work. For me PEI's a place I can relax, really kick back. I've learned to like those Canadian values. They're solid." Perhaps his greatest legacy aside from the championship years are the countless hours he has given, and continues to give, to the game in Canada. "I think beginning with Bobby Prentice and then the National Baseball Institute, we inspired a lot of Canadian kids to take up the game rather than hockey." Three Canadians on the 2008 All-star team, Justin Morneau, Ryan Dempster, and Russ Martin are some of those dividends. So what does the future hold for this honoured Canadian? "I'd like to work at the minor league level, probably in baseball but hockey might hold some interest." Then he laughs and cheekily asks about the Leafs job. Regardless Pat Gillick won't stay disengaged for long. He hasn't even seen 'Anne of Green Gables' as yet! (Written by William Humber. William is a sports historian and is Executive Director of the Revitalization Institute at Seneca College in Toronto.)


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