Thursday, August 19, 2010

1967 Topps Atlanta Braves Team Card with Cito Gaston

Today's entry of my 1967 Topps Autographed Baseball cards was obtained after 18 months of trying. It is Cito Gaston, rookie during the 1967 Atlanta Braves Spring Training and pictured on the team card, number 477 in the 1967 Topps Baseball card set. It is the 509th autograph in my pursuit of collection the set.

This autograph was obtained in person on August 13th, 2010 at the Blue Jays versus Angels game in Anaheim, California. I called Cito Gaston, the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, over before the game and requested his autograph. When I presented the card, he looked at the picture and the back of the card, then I told him it was during his rookie season and he acknowledged the same. He signed the card with a blue sharpie I had provided. The reason it took 18 months is because during my 2009 Spring Training trip, I had attended two different Blue Jays games and in each I asked Mr. Gaston for his autograph and both times he was unable to sign. I guess being the manager has a lot of responsibility. Third time was the charm! Thank you Mr. Gaston.

Clarence "Cito" Gaston played in the major leagues for 10 season from 1967 to 1978. His career started with the Braves in 1967, playing 9 games and rooming with Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. He was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1969 as an expansion pick. He played for the Padres until 1974 then went back to the Braves from 1975 to 1978 before finishing his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1978. Cito's career statistics include a .256 batting average, 91 home runs, 387 runs batted in and 13 steals. His best season was 1970 for the Padres, which included being selected to the 1970 All-Star team.

After his playing days were over, Cito Gaston went into the coaching profession and has made quite a name for himself. Starting out as a hitting instructor for the Blue Jays from 1982 until 1989, then he became manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Cito built the team into a contender and in 1992 and 1993, he led the Blue Jays to their only World Series Championships. He remained as manager until the 1997 season until being replaced by pitching coach, Mel Queen, incidentally card number 374 in the 1967 Topps Baseball card set. Cito Gaston was given the opportunity to manage the Blue Jays again in 2008 and has helped rebuild the team to respectability through the 2010 season. Cito has announced that he is retiring at the end of the season. He has managed 1689 games throughout his career, winning 872 while only losing 817.

To learn about Cito Gaston, check out his biography at

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