John Paul (J. P.) Ricciardi (born September 26, 1959 in Worcester, Massachusetts) is a Major League Baseball executive who currently is a special assistant to New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson. Ricciardi has previously served as Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays from November 14, 2001 to October 3, 2009.
Ricciardi went to and played baseball for St. Peter's/St. Peter-Marian High School in Worcester, and then played for the Saint Leo University Lions from 1979 through 1980. He then spent two years as an infielder in the New York Mets minor league system, playing for the Mets' A-class league affiliates in Little Falls in 1980 and Shelby in 1981. He finished his playing career with a batting average below .200.
After the conclusion of his playing career, Ricciardi became a coach in the New York Yankees farm system in the early 1980s before joining the Oakland Athletics organization in 1986 as a minor league instructor and scout. By the early 1990s he had risen to the rank of East Coast Scouting Supervisor and later National Crosschecker. Ricciardi made his break into the front office in 1996, when he became special assistant to Athletics general manager Sandy Alderson. Under new general manager Billy Beane, who was hired in 1997 and had been Ricciardi's former teammate with the Little Falls Mets, his role became Director of Player Personnel.
Impressed by the success Ricciardi and Beane were having with the low-budget Athletics, the Toronto Blue Jays, who sought to cut payroll while becoming more competitive after their acquisition by Canadian media giant Rogers Communications, sought Ricciardi's services after firing then-general manager Gord Ash. On November 14, 20
1, Ricciardi was hired as general manager of the Blue Jays. He signed a five-year contract with Toronto after the 2002 season, which was extended to 2010 after the 2005 season.
Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball league, consisting of teams that play in the American League and the National League. The two leagues merged in 2000 into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball, after 100 years as separate legal entities.
MLB constitutes one of the major professional sports leagues of the United States and Canada. It is composed of 30 teams Ч 29 in the United States and one in Canada. With the International Baseball Federation, MLB also manages the World Baseball Classic. MLB has the highest season attendance of any sports league in 2011.
MLB is governed by the Major League Baseball Constitution that has undergone several incarnations since 1875 with the most recent revisions being made in 2012. Under the direction of the Commissioner of Baseball (currently Bud Selig), Major League Baseball hires and maintains the sport's umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts.
Major League Baseball maintains a unique, controlling relationship over the sport, including most aspects of minor league baseball. This is due in large part to a 1922 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Federal Baseball Club v. National League, which held that baseball is not interstate commerce and therefore not subject to federal antitrust law. This ruling has been weakened only slightly in subsequent years.
Although there were several challenges to Major League Baseball's primacy in the sport between the 1870s and the Federal League in 1916, the last such challenge was the aborted Continental League in 1960.