Source: 1989 Toronto Blue Jays Scorebook Magazine.
Tony Fernandez had good reason to jump for the Star’s camera in 1989: when today’s ad was first seen by the original owner of this scorebook, the Jays were transforming what appeared to be a long, losing season into an American League East title.
The filled-out scoresheet in the magazine shows that on May 16, 1989, the Jays came back from a 6-0 deficit to defeat the Cleveland Indians 7-6. It was interim manager Cito Gaston’s second victory in a row after replacing Jimy Williams the previous day. Under Williams, the Jays had won 12 of their first 36 games, which led to merciless booing from the fans in Exhibition Stadium. According to general manager Pat Gillick, Williams’s biggest problem was “He was too nice a guy and too honest a person. Sometimes players don’t like the truth.” The Star observed that few players were upset by the manager’s dismissal—before Williams’s final game, a louder-than-normal card game was played in the team clubhouse.
The scorecard for the May 16, 1989 Blue Jays-Indians game. Note that the card was printed before the managerial change.
The Star guessed that the top candidates to permanently replace Williams were former Yankee skipper Lou Piniella and Syracuse Chiefs manager Bob Bailor. The paper treated Gaston as a temporary fill-in, an impression furthered by his claim that while he’d like to manage someday, he was happy as batting coach. “I don’t know what I’d do if it were offered to me,” he told the paper.
Star sports columnist John Robertson had the following thoughts about Gaston:
Nothing would please me more than to see Cito Gaston go undefeated during his 10-day appointment as interim manager. But I wouldn’t blame him for not wanting the job on a permanent basis. He saw first-hand what it did to Jimy. And Cito Gaston is far too nice a guy to end up with Jimy’s ulcers.
Robertson was probably pleased when, following hefty compensation demands from the Yankees if the Jays tried to hire Piniella, Gaston lost the “interim” tag from his job description on May 31. The hiring proved effective, as the Jays ended the season in first place with 89 wins and 73 losses.
Additional material from the May 16, 1989, and May 17, 1989 editions of the Toronto Star.