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Today in Blue Jays history: JP Riccardi fired

Toronto Blue Jays Workout Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Nine Years Ago Today:

Well, first we heard the story that there was a player’s revolt in the Blue Jays clubhouse:

It was an interesting story, Cito had the reputation of being a player’s manager, but, like all managers for every player that likes you there will be one that doesn’t. Earl Weaver said that there are 5 players that love you and 5 guys that hate you and the secret to managing is to keep the 5 that hate you away from the 15 who are on the fence.


One player said there was simply “constant negativity” coming from the manager’s office, while another noted that Gaston once said “there aren’t any good players in here.” Also at issue is Gaston’s hands-off, in-game decision making — a criticism that dates back to his first tenure as manager from 1989-97.

The problems are so deep that when one player was asked how many others felt the same way, he replied: “Just about everyone.”

Cito said:

If they’re unhappy, they have to look at themselves, because I certainly treated everybody in a way that I’d like to be treated as a player and how I’d like my manager to treat me. If they’re grumbling, they’re grumbling because they didn’t do their jobs. They had opportunities.

As always, Cito claim that he treated players the way he wanted to be treated wasn’t exactly true. Cito liked his guys. The veteran players he’d treat great. Going back to his first time with the Jays, he continued to play Joe Carter long after he was no long able to help a team. So Joe loved him. Young guys waiting for a spot in the lineup didn’t love him because they would never get to play.

Later That Day:

JP Riccardi was fired.

At the time the team was supposed to be looking for a new team president, so it seemed strange that Riccardi would be fired before the new boss was in place.

As it turned out Beeston decided to keep the president job and Alex Anthopoulos was promoted to GM. And the rest....well you know.

Riccardi had been GM from 2002 to 2009. The team wasn’t terrible under his watch. In 6 of his 8 seasons the team was above .500, but he couldn’t get the team into the playoffs. The Yankees finished first in the AL East 6 of the 8 years. It was a tough time to be a GM of any other team in the AL East.

But Riccardi had over stayed his welcome. He was having was getting snippier with the media and the fans. He had been doing a weekly radio phone in show but that ended when he stopped being able to deal with differing opinions.

That 2009 season started very well. We were in first place through April and up to May 23rd, but things fell apart. We finished 75-87, fourth in the AL East. Scott Rolen was traded, Alex Rios was put on waivers and claimed by the White Sox, Travis Snider didn’t become the player we expected and B.J. Ryan was terrible, hurt and then out of base ball.

The Jays had a 642-651 record during JP’s reign.

JP has been working as assistant GM/special assistant for the Mets since 2011.