Most of Pat Gillick's Hall of Fame resume was built in Toronto, where he built an expansion franchise into the first and only Canadian team to win the World Series.
Gillick's candidacy benefited from two other factors. One can be celebrated by Phillies fans, the other should be lamented by baseball fans everywhere.
The Phillies' 2008 World Series title gave Gillick a late-career achievement that added fresh sparkle to his already distinguished body of work. There's no doubt it helped Gillick get 13 of 16 votes - one more than needed - from the expansion-era veterans committee.
"I don't think I would have the opportunity to be talking to you today if it hadn't been for that 2008 World Series," Gillick said in a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon. "That kind of put a check mark on what we were trying to do."
Unfortunately, though, Gillick also got a boost because he was not Marvin Miller and he was not George Steinbrenner, two very deserving candidates whose names also should have been called Monday.
"I can't tell you why they didn't get in," Gillick said. "I certainly think both of them are worthy candidates to be on the ballot. Both of them certainly made an impact on baseball. To be perfectly frank with you, I thought they were in a better position to be where I am [Monday] than I was."
It in no way diminishes Gillick's career to say that both Miller, the longtime head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, and Steinbrenner, who died earlier this year, had more significant impacts on the game. Gillick is an astute baseball man who won everywhere he went. Those other two guys changed the course of the game.
Worst of all, you suspect their exclusion was motivated by pettiness and politics.
Four of the 16 committee members, including the Phillies' Bill Giles, represented MLB owners. For them, Miller and Steinbrenner played major roles in the runaway payroll inflation of the last few decades. But it takes almost willful ignorance to fail to see the bigger picture when it comes to their contributions.
Miller, who is 93, missed by exactly one vote. He lashed out afterward, displaying some of the caustic style that probably contributes to his annual snubbing.
"Many years ago," Miller said in a statement released by the MLBPA, "those who control the Hall decided to rewrite history instead of recording it. The aim was to eradicate the history of the tremendous impact of the players' union on the progress and development of the game as a competitive sport, as entertainment, and as an industry. . . . A long time ago, it became apparent that the Hall sought to bury me long before my time, as a metaphor for burying the union and eradicating its real influence."
Free agency. Expansion. More revenue going to the men who generate it rather than stuffing the pockets of wealthy owners. The union has flaws - its obstructionist stance helped make the Steroid Era possible - but it is absurd to deny Miller's role as an "architect" of the game.
Ditto Steinbrenner. If Gillick is being honored for winning three World Series in his career, how do you ignore a man who won seven while restoring the luster of the Yankees and building a media empire to help pay for the whole thing?
One of the arguments for having the Baseball Writers Association of America vote for the Hall of Fame is that the writers do the best and most thorough job. It is a weak argument because it doesn't address the myriad conflicts of interest and shoddy ethics behind the BBWAA's involvement. But the veterans committee makes that argument look an awful lot better.
All of that said, it was a great day for Gillick, whose final act of baseball magic was making a championship appear in Philadelphia. After all those years of futility and frustration, Gillick got it done in just three years.
"It was cool," Gillick said. "I was very, very thrilled for the fans of Philadelphia. For them to win that World Series, that was just tremendous."
He inherited an enviable batch of young, homegrown talent: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels. But it took Gillick to see beyond the Phillies' low horizon line and steer the franchise toward better things. His first significant move was trading away veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu in the summer of 2006 and clearing the way for the younger stars to assert themselves.
The rest - four division titles, two pennants and that one glorious championship - followed from that.
If the cake of Gillick's career was his time bringing championship baseball to Canada, Philadelphia fans were more than willing to enjoy the icing on top. Gillick's induction next July will be another chance to celebrate the greatest era in the long history of the Phillies. The only thing missing will be a couple of fellow inductees.