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Brewers Fire Royster As Manager

October 2, 2002

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MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Jerry Royster was fired as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, three days after the team completed its first 100-loss in franchise history.

The Brewers had the NL’s worst record at 56-106 and easily surpassed their worst mark of 64-98, set in 1969 when they were the Seattle Pilots. The Brewers finished 41 games behind the Central Division-winning St. Louis Cardinals.

Milwaukee went 53-94 under Royster, who became interim manager when Davey Lopes was fired on April 18 following a 3-12 start.

Royster said he did everything he could to make the Brewers competitive, but that he had taken over ``an absolute mess.″

``I didn’t have enough to work with,″ he said Wednesday from his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. ``We were injured. The players that we had were not enough to do much more than what we did. So we tried to be as entertaining as we possibly could.″

Royster said he didn’t want to belittle his players. ``Do I think they played hard? Yeah, they played very hard. That wasn’t an issue,″ he said. ``It’s just that we were short. We got beat, we got beat often and I was fired.″

Royster is the sixth manager to be dismissed since the end of the season, joining Chicago’s Bruce Kimm, Detroit’s Luis Pujols, Tampa Bay’s Hal McRae, Texas’ Jerry Narron and the New York Mets’ Bobby Valentine.

Royster often said that the only reason Lopes, his best friend and mentor, lost his job was because the Brewers didn’t hit for him. But they didn’t hit for Royster, either, and they finished with a .253 average.

The losing led to a shakeup in the front office, with attorney Ulice Payne replacing president Wendy Selig-Prieb _ baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s daughter _ and Doug Melvin replacing general manager Dean Taylor, who was fired last week with a year left on his contract.

Royster said he felt he would have had a decent shot at sticking around in 2003 were it not for the changes made at the top.

``I would hope that with Wendy and Dean, I would have been retained,″ Royster said. ``Not only do I hope I would have, I deserved it. I took over a situation that was an absolute mess.″

Royster said he hopes to manage again, but he would prefer to enter spring training with his own staff in place, ``as opposed to taking over and running somebody else’s program.″

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