How Gibby ranks on the list of Jays skip­pers

In­ci­dent with MVP Josh Don­ald­son and sub­se­quent ex­pla­na­tion show close­ness of team

North Toronto Post - - Classifieds -

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

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