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Tuesday, November 13
Updated: November 14, 8:54 PM ET
 
Frustrated Stewart quits, accepts Brewers post

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Dave Stewart insisted baseball owners use racist hiring policies in filling their top front-office jobs and he resigned Wednesday as Toronto's assistant general manager because the Blue Jays didn't promote him.

Stewart, a four-time 20-game winner, had been an assistant GM with Toronto since November 1998. The Blue Jays hired J.P. Ricciardi, Oakland's former player personnel director, to replace general manager Gord Ash, who was fired during the final week of the season.

"They think the only people capable of doing these jobs are white people, not minorities," Stewart, who is black, said in a telephone interview from Ontario.

The only black general manager in the major leagues in Kenny Williams of the Chicago White Sox. After quitting Wednesday, Stewart agreed to become pitching coach of the Milwaukee Brewers, turning down a similar offer from the Texas Rangers.

Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey denied race was a factor in the decision to hire Ricciardi.

"Why did I give it to somebody else other than the guy inside? Because J.R. Ricciardi had something no other candidate had _ he had a game plan and a strategy both for the major league team and the minor league team," Godfrey said.

"I feel terrible about it because Dave was given serious consideration and was on the short list. This decision isn't personal. If I would have done it on personal friendship, I think Dave Stewart would have gotten the job."

Stewart is among several minority candidates bypassed for general manager jobs since the end of the season in favor of whites.

The Los Angeles Dodgers promoted Danny Evans, who had been in their front office, to GM; Texas hired GM John Hart, who left Cleveland; and the Indians promoted Hart's assistant, Mark Shapiro, as part of a transition planned last spring.

While other candidates for the Rangers' job were interviewed by team owner Tom Hicks, New York Mets senior assistant general manager Omar Minaya was interviewed only by a headhunter hired by the Rangers.

"I'm not just speaking for me, I'm speaking for a lot of minority candidates who have not been given the opportunity," Stewart said. "The system doesn't work. The playing field is never going to be equal. The man I work for here, Paul Godfrey, told me he would like me to take on his manager's job before he hired Buck Martinez.

"Why was it OK to hire me to manage his club but not OK for me to be his general manager? It's just little messages. I made it perfectly clear this is the direction I wanted to be in. It's just little signs that it's perfectly acceptable for me to be on the field but there's discomfort with me being in front-office management."

Stewart spoke Wednesday with baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who has told teams they must consider at least one minority for each major front-office and manager opening.

"I think Bud is doing most of the talking on trying to get things accomplished in a network that's not willing to open up their minds or open up their eyes," Stewart said.

Selig said during the World Series he was frustrated with baseball's lack of progress on minority hiring, but he has not taken any new action. He did not immediately return a telephone call Wednesday seeking comment.

"The big difficultly in this type of situation," Godfrey said, "is surely we don't want to get to the stage of doing it by a percentage -- that's reverse discrimination. What you hope is people will be equal-opportunity employers. In every place I've been the CEO, I've been an equal-opportunity employer for not only minorities and visible minorities, but for people for different orientations as well."

Stewart criticized the constant rotation of GMs to different teams but praised Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf for hiring Williams.

"Reinsdorf is open enough to know there is quality and there is intelligence in any human being," Stewart said.

He praised the Blue Jays for giving him "an opportunity to do just about anything you wanted to do since I've been here: adviser to the general manager, assistant general manager, run development, director of player personnel."

But after Godfrey told Stewart on Tuesday night he wasn't getting the GM job, he decided to leave.

"I didn't see any point in continuing on here," Stewart said.

Stewart, 44, was the pitching coach for the 1998 NL champion San Diego Padres, when his staff was third in the majors with a 3.63 ERA.

Joining Stewart on Milwaukee's staff was Gary Matthews, a former batting coach with the Blue Jays who was hired as hitting coach.

"Their backgrounds and their records speak for themselves," said general manager Dean Taylor, whose team is coming off its worst season record in 17 years.

Matthews, 51, has been a Blue Jays radio announcer for the past two seasons. He was the Blue Jays' hitting coach for two seasons after joining the team in 1998, helping Toronto move from last in team batting (.244) in 1997 to fifth in 1999 (.280).

Two days after they finished the season with a 68-94 record, the Brewers announced they would not renew the contracts of pitching coach Bob Apodaca and first-base coach Luis Salazar. Hitting coach Rod Carew, who won seven batting titles during a 19-year career, had already announced he was resigning.

The Brewers have hired former major league player Dave Collins as the new first-base coach.




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