Legendary Jays manager Cito Gaston denied entry to Baseball Hall of Fame

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NASHVILLE —  He may be an icon in Canadian professional sports, but legendary Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston isn’t headed for Cooperstown. 

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Gaston, who became the first African-American to manage a World Series winner — doing it twice with the Jays in 1992 and 1993 — was denied entry on Sunday to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 

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The 79-year-old was a candidate on the contemporary baseball era committee managers/executive/umpires ballot, which was considered by a 16-member committee at the baseball winter meetings in Nashville. The committee elected only one candidate, however, giving the nod to Jim Leyland, who managed in the big leagues for 22 seasons. 

The eight-person ballot was comprised of candidates whose primary contribution to the game came from 1980 to the present.

Candidates needed 12 votes for election and Leyland was the runaway leader with 15 followed by Lou Piniella (11).  The complete results weren’t made available, but the hall of fame reported that Gaston, the all-time winningest Jays manager, had fewer than five. 

While denied in his first opportunity on the ballot, Gaston could get another shot in three years, though there is no guarantee he will return to the ballot.

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