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Corunna’s Rob Thomson leads Phillies to playoffs for first time since 2011

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Journal staff

Corunna’s Rob Thomson helped the Philadelphia Phillies punch their ticket to the MLB postseason this week — for the first time since 2011.

The team won its 65th game under Thomson, 59, who was named interim manager back in June, after the firing of long-time friend and colleague Joe Girardi.

His promotion marked the first Canadian to become a full-time manager in Major League Baseball in nearly 90 years.

The Phillies have posted a .596 winning percentage under his leadership.

Thomson grew up playing ball in Corunna and Sarnia, before joining the Stratford Hillers in the early 1980s. Recruiters drew him to St. Clair Community College in Port Huron and a year later he transferred to the University of Kansas. The catcher and third baseman represented Canada at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, before the Detroit Tigers drafted him in the 32nd round.

In 1988, Thomson set his sights on managing and served as Detroit’s minor league coach for two seasons. He then joined the Yankees and spent the next 28 years in various roles including bench coach and third base coach — earning five World Series rings in the process. He made history in 2008 when in Girardi’s absence he led the Yankees for three games. It was the first time since 1934 that a Canadian had managed a Major League team in regular season play.

He joined the Phillies as bench coach in 2017, and was named to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame two years later.

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