Still, no other club is as committed to its development and scouting programs as the Jays. Even with tears of joy in his eyes last Saturday night—"Pat cries after every home run," says Beeston—Gillick was preaching the value and cost-effectiveness of a farm system. It was more than fitting that one of the products of those farms, catcher Pat Borders, was the Series MVP.
Borders was originally a first and third baseman in the Blue Jay system; in a post-Game 4 press conference he credited the Blue. Jays' director of player development for converting him to catcher.
"I forget his name," said Borders.
" Bobby Mattick," Starkman told him.
"Yeah, Bobby Maddox," said Borders.
In other words, Whatshisname saved my career.
That may say a little something about Borders, but it also says a lot about the importance of the organization's behind-the-scenes people, men like vice-presidents Al LaMacchia, 71, and Mattick, 77. Says Lakey, "I still believe that one of the most critical points in the history of this franchise was in 1980 when they made Bobby Mattick [then 64] the oldest rookie manager ever to start a season. The concept of putting one of the best teachers in the game in charge of the team was brilliant. Look at the guys Bobby broke in: George Bell, Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moseby, Damaso Garcia. They were the foundation for the '80s." Mattick, in the meantime, also taught the young accountant who sat in his office after every game. "What I learned from Bobby was that you can only improve a little at a time," says Beeston. "You have to be patient."
And nobody has been more patient than Mattick. He broke in as a shortstop with the 1938 Cubs, and he has been in baseball ever since, working for 10 different organizations. This, though, was the first World Series that one of his teams has played in, and he and LaMacchia, who had been similarly shut out, threw out the first balls before Game 4.
Reached at his home in Bellevue, Wash., on Sunday, Mattick said, "Goddamn, they don't make it easy on you. I'm getting too old for this. I try not to get too emotional about these things, but this one was special.
"You know, I was thinking of retiring. But Paul says, 'No you're not.' "