In the spirit of the season, this article was submitted by Dr. Dave Ankney with the note that Mike Berardino of Baseball America wrote this wonderful piece in 1994:
Ah yes, the turtle.
Pat Gillick came upon a turtle trying to cross the road, it was holding up traffic on one of those godforsaken two-lane roads in central Florida, and somebody had to do something.
So Gillick, one of the most powerful and successful sports executives in recent memory, got out of his rental car, walked past several equally perplexed motorists to the source of trouble, picked up the turtle and, dodging traffic from the opposite lane, carried it to safety.
This was sometime in the late 1980s, and Gillick had his wife Doris and daughter Kim in the car with him. Upon returning to the driver’s seat, Gillick had a big smile on his face, the kind of self-satisfied, all-is-right-with-the-world grin you might have after slipping a five-spot to the old woman in front of you in the grocery line.
No sooner had Gillick slid back behind the wheel than his wife spoke up with a shake of her head.
“Patrick, you have to re-do it,” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the turtle was trying to get to the other side. You brought him back where he came from.”
Now traffic was moving again. It wouldn’t be very convenient to stop the car, create another backup (not to mention a new symphony of honking), get out, grab the turtle.
That’s exactly what the GM of the Blue Jays did.
Little did that turtle know he was being carried to his eventual destination by a Hall of Famer.