Clarence (Cito) Gaston is named manager of Major League Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays.
1989 (May 31)
Clarence (Cito) Gaston was named manager of the Toronto Blue Jays of baseball's American League. Gaston became only the fifth Black manager. (Frank Robinson, Larry Doby, Maury Wills, and Hal McRae preceded him.) Gaston began his major league career in 1967 with the Atlanta Braves of the National League. In 1968 Gaston was traded to the San Diego Padres. He played six years with the Padres and was selected to the National League All-Star team in 1970. In that year, Gaston hit 29 home runs, batted in 93 runs, and had a batting average of 318. He returned to Atlanta in 1974 before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1977. After being dropped by the Pirates in 1979, Gaston played two years in the Dominican League and the Mexican League before retiring. He emerged from retirement in 1981 as a minor league hitting instructor for the Atlanta Braves. He took a similar position with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1982, and the team improved its over-all batting average 36 points to .262 Baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giammati, who had been a champion of equal opportunity for Blacks in professional sports, applauded the choice of Gaston. Gaston said of his selection, "The organization doesn't see any colors... I don't see any colors. I'm Black, I'll always be Black. When I stand here and look at you, I just see you as a person."