Gillick rewarded with call to Hall

Part of the INSIDE PITCH series
Written by: Craig Muder

Pat Gillick’s lifetime of work in the front office translated into immortality in Cooperstown.

Few non-players have been directly responsible for more on-field success than the former Orioles farmhand.

On Dec. 6, 2010, Gillick became just the fifth pure team builder among non-owners elected to the Hall of Fame. He was chosen by the Expansion Era Committee, which considered players, managers, umpires and executives whose greatest contribution to the game came after 1972.

“I was honored just to be on the ballot,” Gillick said.

The longtime general manager and front office guru, who worked his way through every level of baseball’s player development chain, was joining the biggest names in the game’s history at the Hall of Fame.

A left-handed pitcher who helped the University of Southern California win the 1958 College World Series, Gillick pitched in the Orioles system through the 1963 season before arm problems ended his on-field career. The next year, he joined the Houston Colt .45s as an assistant farm director. From there, he progressed to Houston’s scouting department before becoming the team’s farm director.

Gillick then joined the Yankees for the 1975 and ’76 seasons as coordinator of player development before becoming the general manager of the expansion Toronto Blue Jays. From the ground up, Gillick methodically assembled a team that would grow into a perennial contender in the late 1980s and early ’90s, culminating with back-to-back World Series crowns in 1992 and ’93.

Gillick became known through baseball during this time as a patient builder, but pulled the trigger on a blockbuster trade following the 1990 season that brought Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter to Toronto. Both would become key players in the Blue Jays’ dynasty.

As for Gillick, the man known as “Wolley Segap” – “Yellow Pages” spelled backwards, a tribute to his legendary memory – moved on to the Orioles in 1995, leading Baltimore to two playoff appearances, then led the Mariners from 2000-03, building the Seattle team that tied the all-time single season wins record with 116 victories in 2001. Gillick next landed in Philadelphia, leading the Phillies to the 2008 World Series title.

In 27 seasons as a general manager, Gillick’s teams advanced to the postseason 11 times and finished with 20 winning records.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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Part of the INSIDE PITCH series