TORONTO -- Bobby Mattick, who managed the Toronto Blue Jays in 1980 and 1981 and helped develop the talent that produced five division titles and two World Series championships, died at 89.
Mr. Mattick died Thursday night after a stroke earlier in the day at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., the Blue Jays said.
''There is a major void in Blue Jays land today," Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey said. ''This is a major loss. Bobby was a father figure to everyone here. His life was baseball and everyone here recognizes his worth to the organization."
He joined the Blue Jays in 1976 as the expansion team's scouting supervisor and was one of the team's original employees.
''Bobby Mattick was the senior statesman of the Blue Jays family since Day 1," Godfrey said.
Mr. Mattick played a key administrative role in scouting and development, leading to the Blue Jays' five AL East titles and World Series crowns in 1992 and 1993.
Since 1984, Mr. Mattick served as a team vice president and his advice was sought before major personnel decisions. He was part of the Blue Jays' delegation at last week's winter meetings in Anaheim, Calif.
''He was a very unique individual," former Blue Jays general manager Gord Ash said. ''He could very sentimental and caring to a select few people, but he could also be very difficult at times, too. That difficulty is probably what made him the great baseball man he was because he wouldn't accept anything at face value."
Ash, now assistant general manager for the Milwaukee Brewers, remembered Mr. Mattack as someone who would be ''argumentative for sport," testing his coworkers to defend their views.
''This was a guy who read a lot of books about philosophy and approach to life," Ash said. ''He would ask you things like, 'What comes first, success or confidence?' He'd throw that out into a group of 10 people, and by the end of it there were people ready to choke each other. But he did that with a purpose because that is the great debate. He did not mind the tension of an argument. He had a lot of passion for that kind of stuff."
Mr. Mattick's baseball career spanned parts of eight decades, beginning in 1933 when he signed a professional contract. He played in the majors as an outfielder from 1938-1942, with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, batting .233 with no homers and 64 RBIs in 206 games. His career was hampered by a serious eye injury in 1936 -- a foul ball cracked his skull above his right eye, causing double vision.
He managed in the Southern League in 1944 and 1945. From 1946 to the day he was hired by the Blue Jays, Mr. Mattick worked for nine different organizations.
In 1978, Mr. Mattick was appointed Toronto's director of player development, and when he replaced Roy Hartsfield as manager in 1980, he became the oldest rookie manager to start a season at 64.
Following the 1981 seasons -- and a 104-164 record as manager -- he became executive co-ordinator, baseball operations, before his promotion to vice president of baseball in 1984. Mr. Mattick was inducted to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 and the club renamed its spring training complex The Bobby Mattick Training Center in 2003.
''He was the ultimate baseball guru," said Tom Valcke, president and chief executive of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. ''He was a great teacher of the game. . . . If you wanted to learn, he'd go into the night with you."
Mr. Mattick's wife, Jackie, died about two years ago. They had no children. Former Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, one of Mr. Mattick's closest friends, flew to Scottsdale on yesterday to make funeral arrangements.