The end of an era is coming...again.
The Blue Jays had their final home game on Wednesday night and had a ceremony honoring Cito Gaston since he will be retiring this year.
With close to 900 wins under his belt with the Blue Jays, Gaston is the most successful manager in the franchise's history.
Gaston led the Jays to four division titles and then two World Series championships in 1992 and 1993, possibly the greatest achievement among Toronto's sports teams in relatively recent memory.
The Blue Jays manager returned to Toronto in June of 2008 and will manage his final game when the season finishes on October 3.
With an emotional pregame ceremony leading the game, the Jays gave Gaston a proper send-off by knocking around the New York Yankees 8-4 and winning the three-game series. The large crowd of 33,000 was lively and supportive, giving Gaston several ovations through the ceremonies and as the game finished.
For one who brought such good times to Toronto, it was great to see such a show of respect in this his final home game with the team.
Cito Gaston was often considered a second hitting coach, due to his diligence in working with hitters in attempts to perfect their swings. Whether it was largely influenced by Gaston or not, the Blue Jays have certainly made the manager proud with their hitting expertise this year.
At least if you are counting home runs.
Aaron Hill and John Buck both hit home runs in that Wednesday defeat of the Yankees, and then the Blue Jays added six more on Thursday night against the Minnesota Twins. Jose Bautista hit home runs No. 53 and 54, one of which was a grand slam. Edwin Encarnacion contributed two more, and both Jose Molina and Travis Snider had one each.
With 253 home runs this season, the Blue Jays have reached the fourth highest total in baseball history. Only three teams have hit more in one season, those being the 1996 Baltimore Orioles (257), the 2005 Texas Rangers (260), and the 1997 Seattle Mariners (264).
With three games remaining in the season, it is possible that the Blue Jays could climb higher in the all-time rankings if they continue their frenetic home run pace.
It seems only fitting that the Blue Jays are breaking records this year in the final season of Cito Gaston's managing—if only it was once again enough for the postseason.
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