TORONTO -- Bobby Mattick, who managed the Toronto Blue Jays
in 1980 and '81 and helped develop the talent that produced five
division titles and two World Series championships, died at 89.
Mattick died Thursday night after a stroke earlier in the day at
his Scottsdale, Ariz., home, the Blue Jays said.
"There is a major void in Blue Jays land today," Blue Jays
president Paul Godfrey said. "This is a major loss. Bobby was a
father figure to everyone here. His life was baseball and everyone
here recognizes his worth to the organization."
He first joined the Blue Jays in 1976 as the expansion team's
scouting supervisor and was one of the team's original employees.
"Bobby Mattick was the senior statesman of the Blue Jays family
since Day 1," Godfrey said.
Mattick played a key administrative role in scouting and
development, leading to the Blue Jays' five AL East titles and
World Series crowns in 1992 and 1993.
Since 1984, Mattick served as a team vice president and his
advice was sought before major personnel decisions. He was part of
the Blue Jays' delegation at last week's winter meetings in
"He was a very unique individual," former Blue Jays GM Gord
Ash said. "He could very sentimental and caring to a select few
people but he could also be very difficult at times, too. That
difficulty is probably what made him the great baseball man he was
because he wouldn't accept anything at face value."
Ash, now assistant general manager for the Milwaukee Brewers,
remembers Mattack as someone who would be "argumentative for
sport," testing his co-workers to defend their views.
"This was a guy who read a lot of books about philosophy and
approach to life," Ash said. "He would ask you things like, `What
comes first, success or confidence?' He'd throw that out into a
group of 10 people and by the end of it there were people ready to
choke each other. But he did that with a purpose because that is
the great debate. He did not mind the tension of an argument. He
had a lot of passion for that kind of stuff."
Mattick's baseball career spanned parts of eight decades,
beginning in 1933 when he signed a professional contract. He played
in the majors as an outfielder from 1938-42, with the Chicago Cubs
and Cincinnati Reds, batting .233 with no homers and 64 RBIs in 206
games. His career was hampered by a serious eye injury in 1936 -- a
foul ball cracked his skull above his right eye, causing double
He managed in the Southern League in 1944 and '45, and from 1946
to the day he was hired by the Blue Jays, Mattick worked for nine
different organizations, including the Montreal Expos.
In 1978, Mattick was appointed Toronto's director of player
development and when he replaced Roy Hartsfield as manager in 1980,
he became the oldest rookie manager to start a season at 64.
Following the 1981 season -- and a 104-164 record as manager --
he became executive co-ordinator, baseball operations, before his
promotion to vice president of baseball in 1984.
Mattick was inducted to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in
1999 and the club renamed its spring training complex The Bobby
Mattick Training Center in 2003.
"He was the ultimate baseball guru," said Tom Valcke,
president and chief executive of the Canadian Baseball Hall of
Fame. "He was a great teacher of the game. ... If you wanted to
learn, he'd go into the night with you."
Mattick's wife, Jackie, died about two years ago. They had no
Former Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, one of Mattick's
closest friends, flew to Scottsdale on Friday to make funeral