By Sweeny Murti
The man who built World Championship teams in Toronto and Philadelphia is the newest member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Pat Gillick was announced today as the lone person elected by the Expansion Era Veteran’s Committee.
Gillick was the only one on the 12-person ballot to receive at least 12 of 16 votes (75%). Players union founder Marvin Miller fell one vote short. George Steinbrenner received fewer than 8 votes in his first time on the ballot. The full press release from the Hall of Fame can be found here.
Listen to Pat Gillick’s remarks following the announcement of his election to the Hall of Fame:
Gillick earned his reputation as an architect of winning teams when he took over the expansion Toronto Blue Jays in 1977 and turned them into the model franchise, eventually winning back-to-back World Series championships in 1992 and 1993. Gillick spoke about the initial philosophy of building the Blue Jays into a winner, specifically by mining the talent in Latin America.
Marvin Miller’s snub will stand out, and its pretty clear that even though the individuals on the committee didn’t reveal who they did or did not vote for, the fact that 25% of the committee is represented by club owners/executives did not make it easy for Miller to get the required votes.
Miller is lauded by players and cursed by owners. But his impact on the game is undeniable. Here is committee member and Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench discussing Miller’s candidacy and the results of this election:
Owners should realize free agency has been good not just for players but for the teams too. Twenty different franchises have won the World Series since 1977. That is a product of free player movement creating diversity rather than dynasties. There will always be big-market behemoths like the Yankees. But without free agency the Marlins and Diamondbacks would not have moved into the winner’s circle as quickly as they did.