Ferguson: Talk of firing Jays' Gibbons is premature

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Scott Ferguson
5/6/2013 11:05:28 AM
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Yes we've all heard the cries that John Gibbons should be fired because of the Blue Jays horrible start. Somewhere down the road it could happen, maybe even before this season is over. But it won't be right now. 'Gibby' has only had 32 games with this bunch.

As bad as the Marlins were last season, and with all the feathers he ruffled when he lauded Fidel Castro, Ozzie Guillen didn't get fired five weeks into his first season with Miami.
 
The weirdest 'early' firing I could find dates back to 1979. The 'Major' Ralph Houk stepped down as manager of the Detroit Tigers after the 1978 season and retired. Shortly thereafter, Detroit named Les Moss as its new skipper. Moss had been named Manager of the Year in the American Association in 1978 and the Sporting News named him Minor League Manager of the Year.
 
Moss was also credited with helping develop Lance Parrish into a star catcher at Triple 'A' after the Tigers converted him from third base. So Les Moss, a former journeyman catcher in the big leagues was not without credentials.
 
Moss managed the Tigers to a 27-26 record when suddenly out of the blue, he was fired. Detroit management had nothing against Moss' performance or the team's record. They simply felt a better man was available and they wanted him before he was snapped up by another team.
 
That man was George 'Sparky' Anderson, who led the 'Big Red Machine' to two World Series titles in the mid-70's but had been fired by the Reds well after the 1978 season ended. In fact, he was let go after the club made a post-season trip to Japan. It was also after the Tigers had hired Les Moss as their skipper.
 
As classless a move as it originally appeared to fire Moss after just a third of a season and with no apparent cause, the Tigers weren't about to let 'Sparky' get away.
 
Hiring Anderson turned out to be the right move. Though they won only one World Series under 'Sparky', the Tigers were the American League team of the 80's. Sparky went on to manage the club through the end of the 1995 season and still has the most victories of any manager in Tigers history (1,331).

Moss continued as a coach in the Majors and even made it to the post-season as a pitching coach in Houston, but he never got the chance to manager in the big leagues again.
 
Would the Blue Jays use the same logic to replace John Gibbons? At some point maybe, but not now. As you're no doubt tired of hearing, it's too early.
 
Injury Concerns?
 
Over the weekend, I was going over some of the Blue Jays minor league stats and saw something that really caught me off guard. There are seven pitchers on the 7-day disabled list at Double 'A' New Hampshire, including three of the Jays top pitching  prospects, righthanders John Stilson and lefty Sean Nolin. I made a couple of phone calls and learned that these three weren't actually with the Fisher Cats but in Florida for extended spring training. The people I spoke with didn't believe the problems these three had were anything serious, but neither did they know when any of the three would be reporting to Double 'A'.
 
Jenkins pitched a bit in middle relief with the Blue Jays late last season while Stilson really impressed John Gibbons in spring training and Nolin may actually be the best of the three. This is a situation worth keeping an eye on.

What a Comeback
 
David Ortiz is already a front running candidate for Comeback Player of the Year in the American League. After losing the bulk of last season to an achilles tendon injury, Ortiz has been on fire since rejoining the BoSox about a week into this season. He's put together a 25-game hit streak, is batting .440, has four homers and 17 runs batted in.
 
That RBI total is higher than anyone on the Blue Jays other than Edwin Enacarnacion, who has 21.

Time Flies
 
How the years have flown by. The great Willie Mays is 82 today. Say Hey Willie, one of the top three players of all time. As good as Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider were, Willie was the best centrefield in the era, when all three player were in New York - Mantle with the Yankees, Snider with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mays with the New York Giants. From 1951 through 1958, one of those three and, in some of those years, two were in the World Series and, between them, won seven out of eight over that span.

John Gibbons (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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