Philly connection

When the shaggy, mullet-wearing ball club from Philadelphia descended upon Toronto back on October 16, 1993, they were — for all intents and purposes — an unknown. Of course the Phillies and Blue Jays had never met before (Interleague play wasn’t instituted until 1997). However, that would soon change. A hard-fought, six-game World Series quickly brought the two cities together, and a lasting connection was made. In the 13 seasons since Joe Carter ‘touched ’em all’ on October 23rd, 1993 at SkyDome, there has been a significant number of players, coaches and management that have helped keep this connection alive.

Fregosi0707 Jim Fregosi, who was the manager of the Phillies in ’93, was hired by the Blue Jays in 1999 and managed for two seasons in Toronto, compiling a 167-157 overall record. Ironically, Cito Gaston joined Fregosi’s staff in 2000 and served as Toronto’s hitting instructor once again for two more seasons before joining the front office in 2002.

Meanwhile, a handful of players on the 1993 Phillies squad later joined the Jays as well. Mariano Duncan, who played second base for the ’93 Philadelphia team, was acquired by Toronto during the 1997 campaign and finished his career in a Blue Jay uniform. Dave Hollins, meanwhile, joined Toronto prior to the 1999 season, but appeared in just 27 games before being released on June 21. Mickey Morandini also ended his big league career as a Blue Jay, appearing in 35 games for Toronto in 2000.

The man who constructed the Blue Jays’ World Series-winning ball clubs is now the general manager of the Phillies. Pat Gillick was named to that post on November 2, 2005. And who did Gillick hire as his new bench coach in 2006? None other than former Blue Jays manager Jimy Williams.

Both will be in attendance as the Jays and Phillies hook up tomorrow for their 19th ever regular season contest.

As if there wasn’t enough history between these two teams, how about this: (courtesy of Wikipedia) … During 1944 and 1945, the Phillies changed their name to the “Blue Jays”. The change did not catch on apparently, as very little effort was made to promote it. Still, Philadelphia briefly sported a Blue Jays patch on the sleeve of their jerseys. The team’s name was fully changed back to “Phillies” in 1946 …

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