A Pat on the Back

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Former Phillies general manager Pat Gillick was elected to the Hall by the Veterans Committee this morning. (AP Photo/Roberto Gonzalez)

Let Pat Gillick’s election to the Hall of Fame, announced just a little while ago on this Monday morning, serve as inspiration for Andy Reid, Paul Holmgren and Peter Laviolette and Doug Collins.

Bring a championship to sports-forsaken Philadelphia and you get enshrined. End of story. We’ve had plenty of busts as general managers. It’s nice to have a GM who earned a bust of his own.

Seriously, the good news of Gillick’s election to Cooperstown almost cancels out Sunday’s bad news from the winter meetings about Jayson Werth’s departure. Gillick, who built winners everywhere he served as general manager, is absolutely deserving of this honor.

There would be no 2008 Phillies championship without Ryan Howard or Brad Lidge or Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins. That’s obvious. But there would have been no parade down Broad Street without the keen vision and steady hand of Gillick. He brought smarts, boldness, decency and class to his job.

My favorite Pat moment: At the ring ceremony in 2009, he was overcome with emotion in a way we hadn’t seen before. Here was this baseball lifer, winner of two titles in Toronto and architect of winners in Baltimore and Seattle, blubbering like the father of the bride as he shook hands with the players he helped assemble.

Great stuff, like so much of what we got to enjoy over the last few years.

Thanks, Pat, for the best era in Phillies history.

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