At age 18, in 1956 after the bidding of Fresno State coach Pete Beiden, Gillick hitch-hiked to the tiny prairie community of Vulcan, Alberta Canada where he pitched for the Elks of the Alberta Foothills-Wheatbelt League for a salary of $250/mo. Gillick never won a game for Vulcan but supposedly won 3 games including a no-hitter in one game and striking out 17 in another as a tournament pick-up for the Granum White Sox. He returned to pitch for Granum during the summer of 1957 and the following summer, Gillick was 0-3 with a 10.41 ERA for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Western Canada League. He was one of 15 USC players to suit up in the WCL including five Edmonton Eskimos. Gillick was a roommate of pitcher Bruce Gardiner who a few years later committed suicide.
In 1959, at age 21, Gillick signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles organization and pitched for the Stockton Ports of the Class-C California League. In his rookie season, he went 9-5 with a 3.78 ERA. He spent 5 seasons in the minor leagues ('59-'63) advancing as high as AAA with the Vancouver Mounties of the Pacific Coast League, and the Rochester Red Wings and Elmira Pioneers, both of the AAA International League. His best season as a professional came in 1960 when he went 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA for the 82-56 champion Fox Cities Foxes of the level-B Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League. Gillick led all Fox City pitchers in Win % (.846), ERA (1.91 min. 50 inn.) and K's/9inn (9.2). Other Oriole farmhands included 2nd baseman Earl Weaver (.233), Cal Ripken Sr. (.281), Dean Chance (12-9), and 18 year old Boog Powell who led the Foxes in hitting with his .312 average.
Gillick won 45 games while losing 32 (.584 win %) with an impressive career .342 earned run average during his 5-year pro stint. In 1965, Gillick pitched for the United Baseball Congress semi-pro World Series champion Wichita Rapid Transit Dreamliners. The Liners finished the prestigious tournament with a perfect 7-0 record defeating the Liberal, Kansas Bee Jays 11-6 in the final. Gillick defeated Bobby Doig and the Humboldt-Eureka Crabs 3-2 in a fourth-round contest. For the tournament, Gillick pitched 13 innings allowing 1 earned run while striking out 18 batters. He was named to the NBC All-American team and was previously named Top Pitcher in the Kansas state tournament. Unlike his father Larry Gillick, who was a right-handed pitcher, Pat was a crafty lefty who relied on control and breaking pitches. Although arm problems ended his career as a player, they didn't end his baseball career as an executive. Championships seemed to follow Gillick no matter where he roamed.
Gillick gained experience and worked his way up the corporate ladder with scouting and Player Development positions with the Astros and Yankees before becoming Vice President of Player Personnel with the expansion Toronto Blue Jays in 1976. The following year, Gillick became Toronto's Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager and in 1984, he moved up to become the Blue Jay's Executive President of Baseball Operations. During his realm as general manager, Gillick's Blue Jays won 5 division titles (1985, '89, '91, '92, and '93) and back-to-back World Series championships in '92 and '93. He resigned in 1994 and the Jays immediately went into a free-fall. In 1995, Gillick became GM of the Baltimore Orioles with playoff appearances in '97 and '98. After his 3-year contract expired, he resigned once again and accepted a job with the Seattle Mariners as general manager. First on the agenda was to trade Ken Griffey Jr. to Cincinnati. The Mariners made back-to-back playoff appearances for the only time in franchise history in 2000, 2001, and the '01 Mariners with their 116-46 record tied the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the all-time Major League Baseball record for most wins in a single season. In 2005, Gillick became general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. He traded 1st baseman Jim Thome which cleared the path for Rookie of the Year and NL MVP Ryan Howard. Gillick retired as Philadelphia's GM after the Phillies won the 2008 World Series.
In 1997, Pat Gillick was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2011, he became a member of Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame. As of today, 2016, Gillick is President of the Philadelphia Phillies.
CALIFORNIA BASEBALL HISTORY---TROLLEY LEAGUE
SACRAMENTO VALLEY LEAGUE---CHICO COLTS
The 1968 Cardinals repeated as National League champions with their 97-65 record as the 32 year-old Gibson completed another phenomenal season. He blew away the rest of the majors with his ERA (1.12), Strikeouts (268), Shutouts (13), and the Least Hits Allowed (5.8/9inn.). Briles finished the season with a 19-11 mark and 2.81 ERA. His 19 wins was 4th best in the NL and .633 Win % ranked as the NL's 7th best. Steve Carlton logged a 13-11 record with a 2.81 ERA. This time the Cards fell to Mickey Lolich and the Detroit Tigers 4 games to three in the World Series with Briles starting two games and losing one with a 5.56 ERA. The next two seasons, Nellie compiled 15-13 and 6-7 records with 3.52 and 6.24 ERA's before getting traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates where he rebounded with 8-4, 3.04 ERA, 14-11, 3.08 ERA and 14-13, 2.84 ERA seasons ('71-'73). In 1971, Briles picked up his 2nd World Series ring when the Pirates defeated the SF Giants 3 game to 1 in the NL Championship Series before besting the Baltimore Orioles 4 games to 3 in the Fall Classic. In game 5, Briles tossed a complete game, 2-hit shutout topping Baltimore's Dave McNally four to nothing. The 1972 (96-59) Pirates again won the NL East but lost the NL Championship Series 3 games to 2 to Oroville's Gary Nolan and the Cincinnati Reds. Briles started game 3, pitched 6 innings and received a no-decision. The next year, 1973, Briles led the 3rd place (80-82) Pirates' pitching staff in victories (14), Games Started (33), Complete Games (7) and Innings Pitched (218.2).
Nelson Briles spent the 1975 season with the Kansas City Royals, the '76 season with the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles before ending his major league career in 1978 with the Baltimore Orioles. He spent nine years in the National League (97-82, 3.26 ERA) and five years in the American League (32-30, 3.91 ERA.)
PAT GILLICK IN CANDA
Nelson "Nellie" Briles was born in the small town of Dorris, located in Siskiyou County between Mt. Shasta and the Oregon border. The Briles family moved around working at various lumber mills throughout Northern California before settling in Chico, California where Nelson attended and played baseball for the Chico High School Panthers. He received a scholarship from Santa Clara University where he went 11-1 during his freshman year for the 20-16 (9-7) Broncos. That summer, at age 19, Briles trekked to the base of the Canadian Rockies and pitched for the Calgary Giants of the 4-team Western Canada League. Although major league baseball supplied the rosters, the WCL was almost exclusively made up of top notch California college players from schools such as USC, UCLA, Stanford, Santa Clara, St. Mary's, San Diego State, and Pepperdine, as well as a few Junior College ballplayers from San Mateo, Vallejo, and Sequoias. The Philadelphia Phillies supplied the entire roster of the Saskatoon Commodores who later moved to Medicine Hat. The St. Louis Cardinals sent players for the Lethbridge Cardinals. San Francisco was affiliated with the Calgary Giants and the Edmonton Oilers were linked to the Las Angeles Dodgers. The league provided a proving ground for several future major-leaguers.
THE 1930 CHICO COLTS won their 1st Sacramento Valley League championship with a 15-5 regular season record and then swept the Marysville Giants (15-5) in three straight games in the finals. The Colts were led by the pitching of Joe Oeschger who pitched nearly every game (15-4, 17-4 overall) and the hitting of Oeschger, shortstop Jonah Graf, third sacker Les Sheehan and outfielder Ike Boone. Sheehan from Sacramento, averaged .297 during his 12 years in the minor leagues (1916-'29), 11 with six different teams in the PCL. Thirty-eight year old Joe Oeschger, from Ferndale, Ca., attended St. Mary's College and spent 12 seasons in the major leagues (1914-'25) where he won 82 games and lost 116 with a career 3.81 ERA. In 1920, while pitching for the Boston Braves, Oeschger tossed all 26 innings (the longest game in MLB history) of a 1-1 tie with Brooklyn. A year later, he went 20-14 (3.52 ERA) for the Braves.
THE CATCHING DALRYMPLES--In 1954, Chico Colt catcher Les Dalrymple moved out of the way and became manager of the Colts so that his 16 year old younger brother Clay could take over the catching duties. Mel had previously spent 2 seasons in the minor leagues--He had hit .309 in 1947 and .278 in 1948 for the Wenatchee Chiefs of the Class-B Western International League.
Clay Dalrymple was born in Chico, California, was a catcher for the Chico High School Panthers, Chico State College Wildcats, ('55, '56) and the semi-pro Chico Colts ('54-'56) before signing a contract with the Sacramento Solons in 1956 at age 19 where he got into 5 games and hit .286. The following year he was a Class-C Western League all-star when he hit .298 with 17 home runs (.463 SLG) for the Amarillo Gold Sox. Dalrymple returned to Sacramento in '58 and '59 and batted .191 (5 HR's) and .230 (12 HR's) respectively. The next year, he was with the National League's Philadelphia Phillies and spent 12 straight seasons (1960-1971) in the major leagues. Although not noted for his major league hitting, Dalrymple was however among the best defensive catchers in MLB history. At one time, only the great Dodger Roy "Campy" Campanella had a better success percentage as far as would-be base stealers were concerned. Dalrymple threw out 49% (306-626) of all base runners that tried to steal against him.
Dalrymple had a combined .233 batting average during his 12 year major league career. His best season was 1962 when he hit .276 with 11 home runs for the Phillies. He spent the last 3 seasons of his career with Baltimore after spending the previous 9 years with Philadelphia.
'46 Chico Colts
'57 Yreka Indians
'57 Redding Tigers
Nelson Briles lead the WCL in Complete Games (13), Victories (11), and Strikeouts (184 in 131.3 innings pitched). He was 11-4 (.733 win %) with a 2.46 ERA. On July 12th, Briles shutout league champion Saskatoon (42-26) on 2 hits and on July 5th, he teamed up with Santa Clara teammate Jan Dukes to strikeout 23 Edmonton batters in a 4-3 victory in 11 innings. Seventeen year old Dukes K'd 19. On the 24th, Briles shutout the Oilers 1-0 with 18 strikeouts and 3 days later Dukes shutout Lethbridge 3-0 besting future major league star Tug McGraw of Vallejo Jr. College. Dukes finished the season at 6-4 with a 2.50 ERA. Shortly after the season, Briles signed a contract with the St Louis Cardinals as a free agent.
Briles spent but one season in the minor leagues before landing in the majors at age 21 with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1964, he pitched for the Tulsa Oilers of the AA Texas League and won 11 games while losing 6 with a 2.79 earned run average. After a 3-3 ( 3.50 ERA) rookie season with the Cards, Briles only won 4 of 19 games during his sophomore year however did manage a 3.21 ERA which was indicative throughout his 14-year major league career (129 wins-112 Loses, .535 Win % with a career 3.44 ERA). In 1967, Nellie led the National League with his .737 Win % (15-4). His 2.43 ERA led the Cardinal pitching staff which included Hall of Famers Bob Gibson (13-7, 2.98) and Steve Carlton (14-9, 2.98). Only Dick Hughes (16-6, 2.67) won more games. The '67 Cardinals (101-60) won the National League pennant and beat the Boston Red Sox 4 games to 3 to capture the World Series. Briles hurled a complete game 5-2 victory in game 3 while the legendary Gibson took care of the rest by tossing 2-1, 6-0, and 7-2 complete game triumphs. Briles tossed a total of 11 innings with a 1.64 ERA.
CHICO BASEBALL HISTORY-- Base ball began in Chico as early as 1875. Late 19th century teams included the the Red Hots, Pioneers and Stars. The first Trolley League was formed in 1908 with teams from Chico, Marysville, Oroville and Gridley. The league folded midway thru the season with the Marysville Giants running away from the rest of the crowd A second Trolley League was formed 5 years later in 1913 which included the Woodland Oaks, Marysville Giants, Oroville Olives, Colusa Prune Pickers, Chico Colts and Brooke Realties of Sacramento. The circuit was named after the Sacramento Northern Railway which linked the towns of Willows, Marysville, Yuba City, Oroville, Gridley and Chico. Fans and players traveled to and from games by way of trolley cars. Oroville won the initial championship behind the pitching of former major league pitcher Jay Hughes and St. Mary's Phoenix slugger Louie Guisto. The Colt's finished in second place with Chico's Melvin French named as the league's MVP. The league ended in 1917 when league president Jack Dooley left to join the military during WWl. At that time, the team was known as the Diamonds as they were sponsored by the Diamond Match Co. In 1925, along with the Marysville Giants, the Chico Colts joined the Independent semi-pro Sacramento Valley League. The Colts remained in the league from 1925-1932 and from 1934-1943. After WWll, Chico rejoined the league in 1946 and remained in the SVL until the league's demise in the late fifties.
A HISTORY OF CHICO BASEBALL
Pat Gillick was born in Chico, California, however, along with his mother, actress Thelma Daniels, moved to Los Angeles when he was a young child. He pitched for the Los Angeles Valley Community College Monarchs before transferring to the University of Southern California where he was 0-1 with a 1.50 earned run average in 1957. Gillick graduated from USC at age 20 and was a member of Rod Dedeaux' Trojan team that won the College World Series in 1958. His battery mate was Yuba City's Bill Heath.
George "Larry" Gillick was born in Amador County, California in 1909 and grew up in Sacramento. As a high-schooler, he pitched for Zemansky, winners of the '26/'27 Sacramento Winter League (National Div.). At age 19, the right handed pitcher went 7-9 for the San Diego Aces of the Class-D California State League. That same year, 1929, he won three of eight games for the Sacramento Senators of the AA Pacific Coast League including a 4-0 shutout which ended a 12-game Sacto losing streak against the Mission Reds. Gillick spent most of the 1930 season with the level-D Globe Bears of the Arizona State League before four more seasons with the Senators. He ended his professional career with the Oakland Oaks of the PCL where he won three of four games with a 4.63 ERA. He spent a total of six seasons (1929-1934) as a professional with a career 42-48 record and 4.67 earned run average. In 1940, at age 31, Gillick pitched for the semi-pro Chico Colts of the Sacramento Valley League before becoming a Marine during WWll. Upon his return, he become the Colt's playing/manager until turning over the reins to 3rd baseman Bud Hanna after Gillick became a Butte County sheriff in 1951.
The 1946 Colts included teenage shortstop Jim McNamara and Chico native Mel Dalrymple. McNamara attended Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento before spending 5 years in the minor leagues beginning in 1948 with the Anaheim/San Bernardino Valencias of the Class-C Sunset League. McNamara spent four years at the C level before ending his pro career hitting .201 for the Yakima Bears of the Class-A Western International League. He combined to hit .224 with one home run in 1,451 career at bats. Mel "Bush" Dalrymple, older brother of major-leaguer Clay Dalrymple, was born in Chico California, attended Chico High School and was named All-Conference four straight years in both football and baseball during his college career at Chico State. He still holds the Wildcat pitching record for winning percentage (1.000) when he went 11-0 with 11 complete games in 1949. He spent one season (4-6, 5.97) as a pro with the 1950 Salt Lake City Bees of the Class-C Pioneer League. He pitched the '56 and '57 seasons for the Yreka Indians of the Northern California Baseball League where he was an NCBL all-star and led the 1957 Indians to a pennant with an 11-1 record.
1949 CHICO COLTS: The '49 Colts won the Sacramento Valley League pennant with their 18-4 league record and proceeded to sweep the Orland Tigers in the first round of the O'Shaunessy playoffs and then claim the league championship and President's Cup by besting the Oroville Olives in two straight games to conclude SVL play at 22-4. Chico hit a league's best .307 as a team. The Colt's hitting attack was led by Ken Fitzgerald at .396, Roberts .383, Bedolla .375, Lyle Olsen .373, Doug Sale .346, Bud Hanna .341 and Les Dalrymple at .257. Wendell Stringfellow led the team in home runs with 3 in only 5 games. Sale led the league in runs scored (28) and stolen bases (15). Sacramento's Tony Separovich led Chico's pitching staff with his 7-1 record and 2.80 ERA striking out 36 batters in 67.67 innings. Mike Traska led the SVL in winning % with his 4-0 record but allowed 6.00 earned runs/9 inn. Mel Dalrymple went 5-3 with a 3.79 ERA. His 60 strikeouts trailed only Oroville's Christensen's 73, the SVL's most.
Henry "Bud" Hanna took over the helm of Chico Colt baseball in 1951. The local sportscaster was born in Weaverville, California before attending Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento and St. Mary's College in Moraga. In 1935, he joined the AA Sacramento Senators of the Pacific Coast League as a 2nd baseman and hit .196 in 56 at bats. Later that year, Gillick was a member of Julius Style Shop, winners of the 1935 Sacramento Winter League. He played for the Yuba City Bears of the Sacramento Valley League in 1940. Hanna, mostly known for his basketball skills, coached baseball and basketball at Christian Brothers from 1940-1946. He joined the Colts midway thru the '46 season after serving in the military during WWll.