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Peter Bavasi

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Peter Bavasi

Peter Bavasi (born in Bronxville, New York in 1942) was the farm director for the US baseball team the San Diego Padres from 1969 to 1972. He then replaced his father, Buzzie Bavasi as General Manager of the Padres from 1973 to 1976. Bavasi later went on to become the first GM of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977, and president of the Blue Jays from 1978 to 1981. He was also president of the Cleveland Indians in 1986. His brother Bill Bavasi was the General Manager of the Seattle Mariners until June 16, 2008.

Career

Los Angeles Dodgers

As the son of Buzzie Bavasi, Bavasi began his baseball apprenticeship under Branch Rickey, Larry MacPhail and Walter O'Malley.[1] Bavasi graduated from St. Mary's College in California with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy.[1] His first job in baseball was as business manager of the Dodgers farm team in Albuquerque.[1] In 1966, he was named General Manager of Santa Barbara in the California League. In 1967, Bavasi would be back in Albuquerque as the Albuquerque Dukes manager.[1] While in Albuquerque, Bavasi would meet Roy Hartsfield, the man who would be his first manager in Toronto.

San Diego Padres

In 1969, Bavasi was named director of minor league operations for the San Diego Padres expansion team.[1] His father Buzzie was president of the team. In 1973, Peter became the Vice-President and General Manager of the Padres.[1] One of the future managers of the Toronto Blue Jays, Cito Gaston, played for the Padres under Bavasi's tenure.

Toronto Blue Jays

Bavasi competed with Frank Cashen, whose previous experience was with the Baltimore Orioles, for the position of general manager of the expansion Toronto Blue Jays. Although some of the club's board members preferred Bavasi because of his interest in the marketing aspect of baseball, the original choice was Cashen. After Cashen withdrew, Bavasi won the job.[2] He was appoointed on June 18, 1976.[3]

Bavasi was considered the orchestrator of Blue Jay Mania.[4] Bavasi's strategy from the beginning was to seek public involvement in Blue Jays development. A name the team contest was held in which Blue Jays was the winning selection. When it came to the development of a team logo, Bavasi sought a symbol as easily recognizable as Kroc's golden arches.[4] The logo featured a Blue Jay, superimposed on a baseball with a red maple leaf stuck in its ear.

A key issue for Bavasi was hiring a manager. Rumours had spread that the Jays were interested in several candidates, including: Joe Altobelli, Billy DeMars, Preston Gómez, Elston Howard, and Warren Spahn.[5]

The Blue Jays were one of the worst teams in the Majors in the first half of the 1981 season, as the Blue Jays had a record of 16 wins and 42 losses, a percentage of .276.[6] Although the Blue Jays had future stars Jesse Barfield, George Bell, and Lloyd Moseby in the lineup, the team continued to struggle.

The result was one of the more controversial times in franchise history. Bavasi went to see the team in Anaheim against the California Angels. Bavasi's father, Buzzie Bavasi was the president of the Angels, and his team had gotten off to a lacklustre start. Buzzie wanted to fire Angels manager Jim Fregosi, and Peter Bavasi had the idea to fire his manager, Bobby Mattick. Both thought it would be big news if father and son fired their manager on the same night.[7] One of the Blue Jays executives advised the Jays Vice-Chairman of the Board, Peter Hardy. After a brief conversation, Hardy made it clear to Peter Bavasi that Mattick would not be fired in this way. On November 22, 1981, Hardy forced Bavasi to resign from the Blue Jays.,[8] with the resignation announced to the public on November 24, 1981. [3]

Cleveland Indians

Bavasi had joined the Cleveland Indians as its president in November 1984. As president of the Cleveland Indians, he served on Major League Baseball's Executive Council.[9] During the 1986 season, the team had an 84-78 record, its best since 1968, and attendance of 1.47 million, its highest since 1959.[10]

Life after Major League Baseball

Bavasi resigned before the 1987 season began, to take over as president and chief executive officer of Telerate Sports.[10]

He also directed the international sports practice at the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, and was president of ESPN SportsTicker, a supplier of instant sports news and information. Bavasi has also been a strategic advisor to cities seeking Major League Baseball teams, including the successful franchise pursuits in St. Petersburg, Florida (which would result in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays), and most recently Washington, D.C. (which would lead to the Montreal Expos becoming the Washington Nationals.[9] He and his brother Bill were co-managing partners of the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox, a Marysville, California-based collegiate summer league baseball club.

References

Preceded by
Buzzie Bavasi
San Diego Padres General Manager
19731976
Succeeded by
Bob Fontaine
Preceded by
None
Toronto Blue Jays General Manager
1977
Succeeded by
Pat Gillick
Preceded by
None
Toronto Blue Jays President
19771981
Succeeded by
Peter N.E. Hardy (Chairman and CEO)
Preceded by
Gabe Paul
Cleveland Indians President
19861987
Succeeded by
Hank Peters

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