Wednesday, August 8, 2012

1978 TOPPS CITO GASTON

SHADOW BALL.
ALTHOUGH NOT MENTIONED, CITO WON TWO BATTING TITLES
IN WINTER BALL IN VENEZUELA.

THE FRONT PAGE

  • O how I disliked ole Clarence and his merry band of Jays back in the day. Being a rabid Orioles fan, the Blue Jays were public enemy No. 1, an ultra-talented team that became known as chokers in the late '80s only to emerge in the '90s behind Cito Gaston and win two consecutive World Series in '92-'93. Gaston was a pretty decent player in his own right, and his All-Star caliber Jays teams certainly respected and played hard for him.

THE BACK PAGE

  • Those '70 stats stand out, don't they? Gaston made the All-Star team that year.

PHOTO PLAY

  • The shadow makes this card a favorite. Looks like a great day to be at the ballpark.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • Gaston was an original Padre, selected in the '68 expansion draft with the 30th and last pick.
  • His average in '70 was the highest by a Padre until a scrub named Tony Gwynn came along in the '80s.
  • Never hit more than 17 HRs or drove in more than 61 runs in a season the rest of his career.
  • Gaston and Hank Aaron were roommates in Atlanta, and after Gaston retired after the '78 season, Aaron helped him get a job as a minor-league hitting instructor with the Braves in '81. 
  • After being fired by the Braves as manager and hired by the Blue Jays, Bobby Cox brought Cito along in '82 as batting coach. Gaston had to be talked into taking the Jays managerial job in '89 by his players after Jimy Williams was fired during the season with the team 12-24.
  • Cito steadied the ship and the Jays went 77-49 to edge the Why Not Birds on the last weekend of the season. Took me a long time to get over that. 
  • Gaston became the first black manager to win a World Series in '92 and the first to win back-to-back the next season. 
  • Fired in '97 after going 683-636 and claiming he was the victim of racism from the Toronto media.
  • Never got another managerial job until the Jays rehired him in June 2008, replacing John Gibbons. The team went 51-37 the rest of the way. 
  • Retired after the '10 season and finished his managerial career with a 894-837 record.
  • In a published story in the Toronto Star in '09, Cito had some harsh words for all-star turd Roger Clemens, whom he managed in '97.
  • In the book The Rocket Fell to Earth, the author, Jeff Pearlman, wrote Clemens greased the skids for Gaston to be fired and Tim Johnson to succeed him.
  • "He's an asshole himself,'' Gaston said. "A complete asshole. And I'll say that loud, right in his face. It was all about him. Ain't about nobody else but him. When he's pitching, everyone's in the dugout pulling for him, but when he's not pitching, he's not in the dugout. I didn't feel like he supported his teammates as much as he wanted support.''
  • Gaston said Clemens challenged his authority in the clubhouse and regretted not confronting him. "He wouldn't (confront me). One of us would have had an ass whuppin' that day. It might have been me, but he still would have known I was there.''

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