Pat Gillick already had built two World Series-winning teams in Toronto and a 116-win club in Seattle. Still, he felt like his legacy was not nearly complete.
“I probably wouldn’t have been elected to the Hall of Fame if I hadn’t come to Philadelphia,” Gillick said Friday.
More specifically, if he hadn’t won in Philadelphia.
Gillick, 80, was hired as Phillies general manager after the 2005 season. He took a young team with an emerging core and added the pieces that produced a division title in 2007 and the second World Series championship in franchise history in 2008.
On Saturday night, Gillick and late ace pitcher Roy Halladay will be inducted into the Phillies’ Wall of Fame in an on-field ceremony before a scheduled 7:05 p.m. game against the Miami Marlins. It will mark the fifth such honor for Gillick, a 2011 Hall of Fame inductee who has also been enshrined in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame and the Blue Jays’ Level of Excellence.
“I got the opportunity to come here, and I think that if you want to say looking back on the resume, winning the World Series in 2008 probably did a lot towards at least giving me an opportunity to get into the Hall of Fame,” Gillick said.
Gillick recalled choosing to take the Phillies’ GM job over an opportunity with another team because of the presence of young future stars Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels. Among his biggest additions were picking up right fielder Jayson Werth and trading for closer Brad Lidge.
But as much as Gillick is known for being the architect of winning teams, his passion is scouting. In 1995, he was an adviser for the Blue Jays when the club asked him to scout a high school game featuring Halladay. A few months later, the Blue Jays drafted Halladay in the first round. He went on to win two Cy Young awards, including in 2010 after getting traded to the Phillies.
“I told them based on that one outing that he was a very interesting guy and somebody we should continue to follow,” Gillick said. “It’s really an honor to go into the Wall of Fame and especially with Halladay.”
Shane Victorino vowed he would be brief. He made no such promises about not getting emotional. And so, as the former Phillies centerfielder wrapped up his short speech Friday night at Citizens Bank Park, part of a pregame ceremony to announce his retirement from baseball. He broke down in tears when he uttered his final words.
“This is not goodbye. This is just the next chapter,” Victorino said. “Mahalo, Philadelphia.”
Victorino, 37, hasn’t played a game since 2016 with the Chicago Cubs’ triple-A club. But in making his retirement from playing baseball official, the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” wanted to return to the organization where he spent eight of his 12 major-league seasons, picked up three of his four Gold Glove awards and won a World Series in 2008.
“I don’t feel like I’m retired. I just feel like i’m not playing baseball again,” Victorino said before the ceremony. “For me, it’s turning the page. Hopefully soon enough I’ll be back in the game of baseball and show my love and passion to the sport that gave me so much.”
Phillies owner John Middleton and chairman David Montgomery presented Victorino with a custom-painted glove detailing his career accomplishments. Two skydivers — actual flying Hawaiians — parachuted onto the field. And Howard caught a ceremonial first pitch from Victorino, whose wife and two children were on the field for the ceremony.
“This doesn’t happen,” Victorino said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys play a long time in their career and not have the opportunity to go back to a place like this as an athlete, as an individual. I understand that. For the rest of my life, I’ll forever be a part of this organization. From here on out it’s, how do we make this city great?”
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler on Maikel Franco’s bat flip after hitting a walkoff home run Thursday night: “It was awesome. There couldn’t be a more appropriate time to act like a kid, and I thought he did a great job of that.” … Righthander Zach Eflin starts Saturday night against Marlins righthander Jose Urena.