Flashback Friday: Cito Sucks

Before there were ever clubhouse mutinies, Cito Gaston was stirring up controversy long before most of us can remember.

It’s hard to believe that there was ever a time that Cito Gaston was disliked by folks other than Blue Jays fans, but back in the early 90’s Gaston wasn’t exactly the most revered manager in baseball.

This week for Acid Flashback Friday we take a look at the “Cito Sucks” campaign.


It all began in 1993 when Cito irked some folks by electing four additional Blue Jays on the 1993 American League All-Star roster, in addition to Joe Carter, John Olerud and Roberto Alomar who had been voted in by the fans. However, that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Fast forward to the 1993 MLB All-Star game itself. In the bottom of the ninth, as only one of three pitches who had not been used in the game, Mike Mussina assumed that he would be called upon as the hometown hero to finish the game.

With a comfortable six run lead going into the top of the ninth, Cito opted to use his closer Duane Ward and Mussina never tossed one pitch in the game. After the game, Cito expressed his disgust with how Mussina took it upon himself to start warming up in the bullpen.

“By standing up, he (Mussina) showed me he’s a person with little class. Screw him. I just won’t take him next year”.

The fans revolted and so began the “Cito Sucks” campaign, as you can see by the guys in the T-Shirts above. For years, Cito was extremely disliked in Baltimore and he and Mike Mussina haven’t exactly seen eye to eye.

In fact, Cito would often receive death threats when the Blue Jays would travel to Baltimore on road trips, so it’s apparent the fans haven’t forgotten about what happened in the 1993 All-Star Game.

All this time later, the jury’s still out on who was in the wrong in that situation: Cito Gaston or Mike Mussina. After 17 years though, I would say it’s time to move on.

It just goes to show you that fans never forget. That’s why Steve Bartman will probably never be able to show his face in Chicago ever again.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

9 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Cito Sucks

  • April 23, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Cito was told by the Baltimore Orioles management that he was not allowed to use Mussina during the game since he just pitched the game before the All star break (or was scheduled to pitch the game after, I can't remember). I don't know why this was ever an issue.

  • April 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Just out of curiosity I checked Baseball Reference, and Mussina started the second game back for the Orioles after the '93 All-Star Break.

    The day of the All-Star game on July 13th would've been his regularly scheduled spot in the rotation, so I can see where he was coming from – he wanted to get some work in.

    Mussina must've been hurt though because the Orioles put him on the DL on July 22nd.

  • April 23, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I think there's more than enough evidence to just write Mike "can't wait 15 minutes for a ceremony" Mussina off as an a-hole.

  • April 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    True, both guys can make a case for being right in the situation. Mike Mussina's character (or lack thereof) doesn't exactly help.

    I love that Mussina is only one of two players we know for sure Cito absolutely HATES. The other of course … Roger Clemens.

  • July 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I think there's more than enough evidence to just write Mike "can't wait 15 minutes for a ceremony" Mussina off as an a-hole.

    The zeal with which some Blue Jay fans continue to latch on to this phony "affront" provides more than enough evidence that they can be written off as intellectually dishonest or stupid.

    Mussina's point — an entirely legitimate one, at that; I'd go so far as to call it inarguable — was that if there's to be a pre-game ceremony, it should either be held early enough not to delay the scheduled start, or the starting pitchers should be informed of the real starting time so they can adjust their routines accordingly, rather than being left to put themselves at undue risk by warming up too early and then sitting around and getting cold.

    But, by all means, continue with your "Mussina pissed on a guy with cancer!" straw man.

  • July 14, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Anon, it's hard to say – maybe this whole thing was blown out of proportion. After all, it happened almost 20 years ago.

    I agree with your point that the starter should probably be given a heads up about pre-game ceremonies, but what Mussina did was disrespectful. I'm sure other starters have encountered the same thing, but didn't say mum about it.

  • September 2, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I remember when Pat Gillick was hired by the Orioles. I was wondering why he didn't hire Cito and this "snub" reminds me why? I think he would have been a better hire than Davey Johnson who I thought was too Earl Weaver like when he was with the Orioles. Cito let the guys play and would have been ideal for Cal Ripken's calling pitches.

  • November 28, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I never had any use for Gaston—the fact that when he left the Blue Jays in the 90's no other team ever hired him speaks volume for what kind of coach he was–when he was criticized in the Toronto media-he claimed the writers were "racist"-I never felt he was much of a coach–Gillick was the architect of the Blue Jays World Series years–Gaston just went along for the ride

  • Pingback: Flashback Friday: Geddy Lee Sings 'O Canada' at the 1993 All-Star Game

Comments are closed.