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11/10/08 8:09 PM EST

Gaston honored with Legacy Award

Jays manager earns Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award

TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston will be the recipient of the 2008 Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum announced on Monday.

The honor, which is part of the museum's Ninth Annual Legacy Awards, is awarded to an individual for "career excellence in the face of adversity. After an 11-year absence from managing, Gaston rejoined Toronto midway through this past season and led the club to a 51-37 record down the stretch.

"It was worth the wait to come back here," Gaston said at the end of the season. "I held out until they finally said, 'Hey, you can come back.'"

The Legacy recipients will receive their awards on Jan. 10 during a ceremony at the Gem Theater in Kansas City. Proceeds from the Legacy Awards will benefit the museum, which keeps alive the legacy of men and women who played, coached or owned teams when baseball was a segregated sport.

The 64-year-old Gaston managed the Jays from 1989-97 and guided the franchise to four playoff appearances, including Toronto's only World Series championships in 1992 and '93. With the title in '92, Gaston became the first African-American manager to lead a team to a World Series victory.

This June, when Toronto's woes on offense had dropped the club to a 35-39 record, the Blue Jays dismissed manager John Gibbons and handed the job back to Gaston. He helped pull Toronto out of last place in the American League East and led the team to an 86-76 record, earning a two-year extension at the end of the season.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.