PAT GILLICK- A HALL OF FAME CHARACTER
I haven't spoken to Pat Gillick since last Christmas, and it had been a while, maybe 2 years since I had spoken with him before that. In speaking with him last year, it was as though I had spoken with the former Blue Jays general manger the day before. He hadn’t changed at all. The Phillies consultant and former G.M., spoke with me in the same friendly tone of voice and easy going manner, as he did when I last saw him with the Phillies, when they last visited the Rogers Centre for an interleague game, a few years ago.
Aside from his incredible ability to assemble championship caliber teams, the other quality that sets him apart from many executives in sports and in business, is the exceptional intelligence in knowing how to interact with people, and make everyone feel as though they matter to him, no matter what there station in life might be. Very few people, especially with his numerous accomplishments, have the smarts to conduct themselves like he does. Gillick's intuition in dealing with others, are also of Hall Of Fame quality. His baseball knowledge, which is encyclopedic in nature, has been made obvious not only by his World Series championships in Toronto (1992,1993) and Philadelphia,( 2008) but also in the fact that when he left Toronto, Baltimore, and Seattle, they all failed to qualify for the playoffs after his departure.
A few scenarios come to mind when illustrating the qualities that set him apart from most of his peers in professional sports. I recall phoning Pat to tape an interview a few years ago, when I was hosting my nightly show on the Fan 590 in Toronto. After recording our conversation, about an hour later, he called me back offering to re- record the interview, because his wife was concerned that perhaps he didn't sound quite as good as he should have, and asked me to check our discussion, and to let him know if he sounded good enough for my liking. In my 17 years at the Fan, I had never known a sports executive who cared that much about an interview, to even make a request like that. As it turns out, the former pitching prospect of the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates sounded fine, and I assured him of that. The only other sports executives who were concerned about a recorded interview in that way were my friends, Jim Devellano, Detroit Red Wings executive vice-president, who was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame, and current Atlanta Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley. The former Senators, Panthers, Lightning, and Blackhawks executive, was responsible for many of the personnel moves that were vital for the Stanley Cup championships of Tampa Bay, and Chicago.
I consider myself fortunate to have had an opportunity to get to know Pat Gillick. The world could use many more people who have his class and character. The Chico, California native's combination of all these qualities, makes the USC alumnus a hall of fame person, as much as a baseball Hall Of Fame member.
By Norman Rumack