John Gibbons

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For other people named John Gibbons, see John Gibbons (disambiguation).
John Gibbons
John Gibbons crop.jpg
Toronto Blue Jays – No. 5
Catcher / Manager
Born: (1962-06-08) June 8, 1962 (age 52)
Great Falls, Montana
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 11, 1984 for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
October 4, 1986 for the New York Mets
Career statistics
(through July 2, 2014)
Batting average .220
Home runs 1
Runs batted in 2
Games managed 858
Win–loss record 426–432
Winning % .497
Teams

As player

As manager

As coach

John Michael Gibbons (born June 8, 1962) is the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball. Gibbons briefly played in the Major Leagues as a catcher with the New York Mets, in the mid-1980s.

Early life[edit]

Gibbons was born in Great Falls, Montana and raised in San Antonio, Texas, where he attended Douglas MacArthur High School.[1][2]

Playing career[edit]

After being selected by the New York Mets with the 24th pick of the 1980 amateur draft, Gibbons had a very brief 18-game major league playing career as a catcher with the Mets in 1984 and 1986. He was projected to be the Mets' catcher of the future[by whom?] but he batted only .220, with one home run and 2 RBIs (but 16 strikeouts) in 50 at-bats. Injuries also took a toll on him so he retired as a player in 1990. Gibbons served as the Mets' bullpen catcher during the 1986 postseason, in which the Mets won the World Series.[3][2]

Bullpen catcher and coach[edit]

Hired by the Blue Jays' General Manager J. P. Ricciardi in 2002, as a bullpen catcher, Gibbons worked his way up to first base coach in June 2002. Ricciardi was his former roommate in the minor leagues.[citation needed]

Managerial career[edit]

Toronto Blue Jays (2004–2008)[edit]

After Ricciardi fired manager Carlos Tosca in 2004, John Gibbons was hired. The Blue Jays went 20–30 with Gibbons as manager. At the end of the 2004 regular season, Gibbons was given a 1-year contract as the manager for the 2005 season. This contract was extended for three seasons just a week into the 2005 season.[citation needed] Gibbons went on to lead the Jays to an 80–82 record in his first full season as a big league manager.

Expectations were higher in 2006, after the Blue Jays acquired A.J. Burnett, Troy Glaus, Lyle Overbay, B. J. Ryan, and Bengie Molina. Toronto ended the season in second place in the American League East division with an 87–75 record, one game ahead of the Boston Red Sox. Although they finished 10 games out of first, it was the first time the Jays had finished higher than third since 1993, when they won their second of two consecutive World Series titles.

With the Blue Jays mired in a slump that put them five games below .500, Gibbons was fired on June 20, 2008. He was replaced by former Jays manager Cito Gaston.[2]

Kansas City Royals (2008–2011)[edit]

On October 10, 2008, Gibbons was hired as the bench coach by the Kansas City Royals, replacing Dave Owen[4] who became the third base coach.

San Antonio Missions (2012)[edit]

Gibbons was hired at the end of the 2011 season to manage the San Diego Padres' Double-A affiliate, the San Antonio Missions.[5]

Second stint with Toronto (2013–present)[edit]

On November 20, 2012, it was announced that Gibbons was re-hired as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.[6] Gibbons was named to the 2013 American League All-Star coaching staff by Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland.[7] The Blue Jays finished the 2013 season with a 74–88 record, putting them last in the AL East.

In 2014, the Blue Jays were six games up in the AL East title race on June 6, 2014, but posted a 45–54 record from that point on, including a 9–17 record in August. They would finish the season with a record of 83–79, good enough for third place in the AL East, and 5 games back of a wild card spot.[8]

Controversy with players[edit]

On May 28, 2005, Gibbons chastised former Toronto starter Dave Bush in the dugout after the right-hander showed his displeasure on the mound about being removed from a game. The next day Bush was sent to the minor leagues.[9] After the season, Bush was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Gibbons was again involved in controversy in July 2006, after his feud with Shea Hillenbrand came to a head. After the former Blue Jays infielder and designated hitter wrote negative comments about the team on a display board in the Blue Jays clubhouse, Gibbons confronted him in a closed team meeting and allegedly challenged him to a fight.[10] Hillenbrand was upset about his lack of playing time and that no one in the Blue Jays front office had made an attempt to congratulate him on recently adopting a child. Three days later the Blue Jays traded Hillenbrand, who was hitting .301 at the time, to the San Francisco Giants.[10] In 2012, after Gibbons was re-hired as the Blue Jays manager, Hillenbrand endorsed the hiring and acknowledged that he, not Gibbons, was at fault for the controversy, saying "I think he handled the situation that we had very professionally and I didn’t handle it professionally at all. I think John’s going to be a great addition to that ball club and he’s a great guy."[10]

Gibbons was involved in more controversy on August 21, 2006, when he got into a confrontation with another of his players. Gibbons walked to the mound to remove Ted Lilly in the third inning of Toronto's game against the Oakland Athletics. Visibly frustrated at his own performance (having given up 7 runs in that inning to erase an 8–0 lead), Lilly initially refused to surrender the ball to Gibbons. He ultimately left the mound and headed for the clubhouse.[11] When Gibbons returned to the dugout, he followed Lilly into the clubhouse tunnel where, according to eyewitnesses, Gibbons confronted the pitcher about his insubordination. The two exchanged shoves, and a number of players and Blue Jays staff rushed in from the dugout to break it up.[12]

The final controversy occurred with Frank Thomas. At the beginning of the 2008 season, Gibbons benched Thomas, who had a batting average of .167 after the first 20 games of the season. Thomas, typically a slow starter, was livid over his lack of playing time. He claimed that the Blue Jays were giving him less playing time to prevent him from getting 364 at-bats in the season, which was the required amount for his $10 million 2009 option to become guaranteed. The Blue Jays responded the next day on April 20, 2008, by releasing Thomas. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi met with Thomas and they agreed that the best thing for the team and for Thomas would be to let him go.[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ John Gibbons safe — but sound — choice to manage Blue Jays: Griffin Toronto Star. Accessed on November 25, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "John Gibbons". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved July 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Former Blue Jays manager Gibbons interviews with Pirates". Inside Pittsburgh Sports. Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  4. ^ MLB News, Videos, Scores, Standings, Stats, Teams, Players – FOX Sports on MSN
  5. ^ Brock, Corey (November 10, 2011). "John Gibbons hilights Padres' Minor League hires". MLB.com. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  6. ^ Chisholm, Gregor (November 20, 2012). "John Gibbons returns to be Blue Jays manager". MLB.com. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  7. ^ Chisholm, Gregor (June 13, 2013). "Gibbons named to AL All-Star coaching staff". MLB.com. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  8. ^ Griffin, Richard (September 29, 2014). "Jays need to make changes but John Gibbons not one of them: Griffin". thestar.com. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  9. ^ 403 Forbidden[dead link]
  10. ^ a b c "New Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons endorsed by former antagonist Shea Hillenbrand". Toronto Star. November 21, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  11. ^ ESPN – Lilly-Gibbons confrontation leads to 'mayhem' in tunnel – MLB
  12. ^ ABC News: ABC News[dead link] (Archive.org cache)
  13. ^ MLB: Jays release Frank Thomas – Posted Sports

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dave Owen
Kansas City Royals Bench Coach
2009–2011
Succeeded by
Chino Cadahia