Outgoing Jays’ president gets letter
Paul Beeston is retiring as Blue Jays president Oct. 31 so writer Danny Gallagher decided to send him a letter by Canada Post. Here it is as follows:
Toronto Blue Jays
1 Blue Jays Way,
You are taking leave of the Blue Jays at the end of the month, so I wanted to write you and congratulate you on your retirement. Richly deserved. At the young age of 70, I am sure you will find a lot of things to keep you busy.
You second stint as team president has proved bountiful with the club finally reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1993. That is a great send-off present for you.
You were the first Blue Jays’ employee hired by Labatt, what, way back in 1976 after the American League granted Toronto a franchise. You were hired as vice-president of business operations and later you became president.
You helped give the franchise a ton of credibility around the majors for the way the club was operated and because of the fact the club reached the playoffs numerous times, culminating with World Series wins in 1992-93.
When ownership shifted from Labatt to another group in the 1990s, I remember writing a story for the Globe and Mail, saying that Major League Baseball League executives wanted to keep continuity at the presidential level, almost insisting that you be kept onboard. That’s the kind of respect you had from your baseball peers.
From 1997-2002, you were in a different capacity as president and chief executive officer, or deputy commissioner if you will, of Major League Baseball in New York.
In 1999, you personally intervened when I sent a letter to you in New York, wondering if you might be able to help me out with souvenirs/door prizes/handouts for the joint reunion I organized that year for the Douglas Expos and Renfrew Red Sox, senior teams I played for in the late 1960s and early-to-mid 1970s near Ottawa.
Lo and behold, I got two boxes one day filled with umpteen baseballs and T-shirts, many of which came from that year’s all-star game in Boston. It was quite the gesture on your part. I will always remember that. I still have a few of those balls in boxes unopened.
Six years ago this month in 2009, you returned as Jays’ president, 12 years after you had stepped down in 1997. After some lean years on the field, the club finally reached the playoffs this season, beat the Rangers out and gave the Royals fits before losing in the sixth game.
Earlier this year, you endured a messy scenario in which Jays ownership official Ted Rogers tried to lure Orioles GM Dan Duquette to Toronto to replace you. The negotiations between Rogers and the Orioles went on for weeks and you were left in the background probably both embarrassed and seething.
Rogers even tried the same thing with White Sox president Kenny Williams, all while you were still team president. Rogers didn’t show you much respect. Very sad.
It also must have been odd that Rogers went out and hired Indians president Mark Shapiro not long ago to be your replacement while you were still president. Weird.
Anyway, all the best to you in what you plan to do in the future. You were always accommodating whenever I requested interviews with you for books I had written, newspaper articles or web site stories.
Fans and the people who knew you in the office and around the majors will attest to the wonderful job you did in the combined 27 years you spent with the Jays.
Yours in baseball,