How Gibby ranks on the list of Jays skippers
Incident with MVP Josh Donaldson and subsequent explanation show closeness of team
Last month, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons and reigning MVP Josh Donaldson got into what appeared to be a heated discussion in the dugout. Even better: the explanation from Donaldson, who remarked that the man they call “Gibby” was just wondering what cologne he was using. “I guess he got a good whiff of it, and I was, like, ‘Hey man back up,’” said Donaldson, remarkably straight-faced to the press following the game.
The incident, if anything, demonstrated why Gibbons is such a good manager and why the continued cries for his ouster are unwarranted. Rarely have the Jays enjoyed such clubhouse harmony, and the guy has the team ready to seize the moment this fall and has momentum heading into the playoffs yet again.
For that alone, Gibbons should be considered one of the top Jays managers in team history. He had a very short 18game playing career, but he was hired on by the Blue Jays to be a bullpen catcher back in 2002 and hasn’t looked back.
The team’s first manager didn’t set a very high bar. Roy Hartsfield lost more than 100 games in each of the Blue Jays’ first three seasons; the team finished last in every one.
But a guy who did set the bar high was the one and only Cito Gaston, who should reign at the top of the list of great Jays managers thanks to his steering a talented squad to back-to-back World Series championships in the early ’90s.
He wasn’t a bad player either, and was also the roommate of a fella named Hank Aaron.
Prior to Gaston, the team had the most success under Bobby Cox, now in the Hall of Fame. He guided the team through steady improvement, culminating in the team’s first place finish in the American League East in 1985. Then, of course, came the dreaded Kansas City Royals series that saw the team blow a 3-1 series lead, and Cox left town to return to the Atlanta Braves.
So Gibby doesn’t have a Series ring, yet. But with this team, he’s got a great shot at one this season, cologne or not.
Clockwise from top: John Gibbons watching over Josh Donaldson; Cito Gaston; and the team’s first manager, Roy Hartsfield