- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Wakamatsu Is First Asian-American Major Leagues Manager

AsianWeek, Sports Feature, J.S. Laddin Posted: Nov 21, 2008

SEATTLE -- Don Wakamatsu may not be a household name, but the 45-year old from the East Bay is shaking up the baseball scene. The Seattle Mariners officially hired Wakamatsu as manager, making him the first Asian American to hold that position in the major leagues.

He also joins Eric Spoelstra, the Fil-Am head coach of the Miami Heat, as the only APA head coaches/managers in major American sports.

The new job is a realization of his personal dream. Wakamatsu told AsianWeek in an interview earlier this year that it was his goal to be the MLBs first Asian American skipper.

I think no matter what, the right person has to be hired for the job, Wakamatsu said at the time. But I would cherish the chance to be that guy that paves the road for others.

The Mariners obviously thought he was the right person. None of the seven candidates interviewed for the job had prior major league managerial experience, but Wakamatsu has been part of the game for 25 years, since he first left home to pursue a baseball career. While he spent most of that time in the minors, he did get the chance to play 18 games with the Chicago White Sox before becoming a coach.

Last season, he was bench coach for the Oakland As, and before that he spent five years on the coaching staff with the Texas Rangers.

But it was more than experience that eventually won him the position.

There were some key attributes we were looking for, Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement. We wanted energy, a passion and the skills to translate that passion to the players. We wanted leadership, a presence that could help us as we define the Mariners Way to win. We wanted someone that both the community and the players could embrace. We wanted someone who sees the big picture and cares about the players and wants to win. Don embodies all of those traits.

Wakamatsu, who was born in Hood River, Ore., says he knows only a little Japanese - always a consideration in Seattle, where All-Star Ichiro Suzuki is the franchise cornerstone - though it has improved recently with the As and Rangers.

Wakamatsu replaces Jim Riggleman who took over in June when John McLaren was fired after a 25-47 start to a season in which the Mariners were expected to contend for the playoffs. Riggleman wasnt even considered for the job in 2009.

The Mariners lost 101 games this season, its most since 1983 and setting another record in major league history - the first team to lose 100 games with a $100 million payroll.

The team hopes Wakamatsu can bring some stability and aid in the redevelopment of a franchise that hasnt made the playoffs since 2001, but he also understands that management doesnt expect this to be a long-term rebuilding project.

In general, its a young team, he said last week, and maybe with some prodding we can win right away.
Despite the obstacles facing him, Wakamatsu is ecstatic to finally have the chance to helm a major league team.

This is something Ive looked forward to for a long time, Wakamatsu said in a statement. It is a tremendous opportunity and I cant wait to get going with Jack and his group as we start working on the 2009 team.

Related Articles:

Now Comes the Hard Part

Golden Boy and Pac Man Hit the Golden Gate

Hispanic Fans Critical to Major League Baseball

Defeated Thai Boxer Best Epitomizes Olympic Spirit

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage

Civil Liberties

Why There Are Words

Aug 10, 2011