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Blue Jays Head Honcho

"Paul Beeston"

As far as Paul Beeston is concerned, every day is Saturday for him, meaning "take me out to the ball game." Paul is president and chief operating officer of the Toronto Blue Jays of the American Baseball League. Although he says he was extremely lucky to get the position, more than luck played a part in his rise to such a responsible job, while doing exactly what he wants to do.

"I have been a sports fan all my life. I was determined one way or another to get into some end of the business. I wasn't a good enough player to make it that way, but there are other ways to make your dream job a reality. "

Born in Welland, Ontario in 1945, he graduated with a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario and almost immediately began working towards his chartered accountants designation with the nation-wide firm of Coopers and Lybrand in London, Ontario. In only five short years he was made London manager.

But he still had the desire to find a job in the sports field. He jumped at the chance when approached by a group trying to attract a major league club to Toronto.

"It was a frustrating experience at first. The San Francisco Franchise that was supposed to come to Toronto decided to stay in San Francisco. I thought my dreams had gone down the drain. Subsequently a franchise was granted to Toronto under a league expansion and I was offered a job."

In fact, Paul was the first employee hired by the Jays, on May 10, 1976, only one and one-half months after the granting of the franchise. Starting as Vice President, Finance. A couple more promotions and Paul took over as president and chief operating officer in January 1989.

What advice does Paul Beeston have for young people today who might feel frustrated and scared thinking there's not much hope for them out there in the business world?

"Do the best you can do and try to be the right person at the right time. In professional sports, whether it be football, hockey or baseball, you have to pay your dues. It may mean starting at the bottom. Take any job and do it well. You may have to start out with ticket sales or working with the ground crew. Take a look at guys like Gordie Ash who started out selling tickets, worked his way through the ticket office, and is now assistant general manager. And his future is still ahead of him.

"There are guys who run the Blue Jays Marketing Department who started in the mail room.

”So, start young, work hard, everybody is not going to get the glamor job, as I did."

What a success story! Doing what you want to do and earning a lot of money as well. Of course, there's a lot of responsibility that comes with the territory. A new baseball franchise costs 95 million dollars U.S. That's just for a new franchise. Can you imagine what the Blue Jays are worth? In 1990 they had the best attendance record in the American league.

Paul Beeston, at 45, administers a 75 million dollar a year budget and a combined staff of over 1,300 people! That will come as a surprise to most baseball fans who think there are only 25 players, a few managers and coaches, a ticket seller here and there and some hotdog vendors.

No, it's a huge business with huge responsibilities. And Paul Beeston is showing the rest of the league how it should be done. He's another Canadian Achiever.

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