* Former Blue Jays coach Gene Tenace, a World Series hero with the Oakland A's is selling four of his Series rings and his 1972 World Series MVP to help with education costs for his three -- soon to be four -- grand children. ....
By Bob Elliott
The 50 lots include four of Tenace’s six World Series rings, his 1972 World Series trophy and 1972 World Series MVP plaque.
During his 10 years as a Blue Jays hitting coach, bench coach and manager Cito Gaston’s top ally ... Tenace does not dance around issues. He was always straight to the point.
That could be in talks with a hitter who pulled a pull to move a runner over rather than trying for an RBI hit, as judge and jury in his imaginary in-game situations during batting practice ("OK, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth ... WHACK ... out! Their shortstop made a heck of a play,") or answering a reporter’s questions.
“You are probably wondering if I need the money ... well I don’t ... but go ahead ask anyway,” said Tenace, from Redmond, Oregon.
Tenace said his home is paid for and he receives three pensions from the Major League Baseball Player’s Association (“I maxed out,” ... 15 years in the majors as a player, 12 as a coach), a minor-league pension from working in the St. Louis Cardinals system and his social security checks.
“We’re not rich, but we’re doing OK,” said Tenace, 68. “My kids have no where to display it, I’ve been looking at some of this for over 40 years ... how long can I look at it?
“We were thinking about dividing it up amongst my three children, but my wife and I talked to our three daughters. They couldn’t wear the rings and the insurance factor would be too much. So ...”
Rather than distribute his cherished items from his lengthy career the plan is to auction the items off April 8-25 and then split the cash three ways with his daughters: Stacy, who also lives in Redmond, Meranda of San Diego and Gina, who lives Dayville, Oregon.
“Gina gave us our first grandson and we’ve got another one on the way to go with two grand daughters,” he said. “If my daughter don’t have room to display all of this, or insure it, hopefully we can get some money and split it three ways. The girls can use to help pay for the kids’ education.”
Tenace said he explained to Gaston why he was selling all his rings and Gaston “agreed with what I’m doing.”
He won World Series rings with the 1972, 1973 and 1974 Oakland A’s and the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals as a player, along with the 1992-93 Jays as a coach ... a New York Yankee style pace of six Series rings in six appearances.
Besides Tenace’s 1972 Series MVP plaque, 1972 full-size World Series trophy, four World Series rings (two each as a player and coach), SCP Auctions, based out of Laguna Nigel, Calif. advertises that the Gene Tenace Collection includes game-used milestone baseballs including his 200th career homer (off Fernando Valenzuela) and his Series replica trophies (players and coaches are allowed to buy smaller versions of the actual trophy).
The item which will bring the most?
“My Series jersey from 1972? I’m not sure,” said Tenace, who has kept a few items, including his 1972 Series ring now kept in a safe.
Again Tenace makes the point how he’s fine financially. As a pensioner with over 20 years of service his benefits are currently funded to the legal maximum. At normal retirement age, 62 the benefits would be $210,000 a year and at 55 the benefits would be about $122,500 a year. It depends when he took his benefits.
“Not like the players today, but that’s the way the game is,” Tenace said. “Now you have a couple of good years and you’re set. Giancarlo Stanton signs a 13-year, $325 million contact? I remember you could buy a franchise for that. The game is in good shape.”
Tenace joined the Jays in 1990 and was by Gaston’s side until president Sam Pollock and general manager Gord Ash fired Gaston in 1997. Jays new president Paul Godfrey and J.P. Ricciardi brought Gaston and Tenace back in 2008-09.
Tenace asked about his old club.
Before the caller can answer, Tenace mentions the dominant story of Toronto’s off season.
“I was heart broken reading about the way (Rogers Communications) treated Paul Beeston,” Tenace said. “All he’s done for the that franchise? And they wanted to make a change?
“He’s a good man, they don’t make people like Paul Beeston any more.”