Although World Baseball Classic is still 7 months away, USA Baseball did not forget the most important event in baseball, and select ex-Yankee GM Bob Watson as their GM.
USA Baseball formally named Bob Watson as their general manager. He will have a hand in selecting players, managers and coaches for the U.S. teams that will compete next spring in the World Baseball Classic, 2005 International Baseball Federation (IBAF) World Cup, and all Olympic-related baseball events leading up to and including the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
Watson will remain Major League Baseball’s vice president of on-field operations.
59-year-old Watson became the first African-American to be hired as a Major League general manager when he took over the Astros in 1993. He also held the same position for the Yankees from 1995-97. He also was an advisor in 2003, but that team is beaten by Mexico at the Athens Olympics Qualifying Event at Panama City, Panama.
“We want to win the World Baseball Classic, capture the gold medal again in 2008 and restore baseball to the Olympics in 2016 and beyond,” said Watson.
P.S. 1. Dean Taylor, now the assistant general manager in Cincinnati, was the general manager of that 2003 team. The Nationals’ Frank Robinson was the manager; Dave Stewart, now a player agent, was the pitching coach; and Thad Bosley was the hitting coach.
P.S. 2. Players outside the 40-man rosters of each Major League team are eligible for the World Cup; players outside the 25-man rosters are eligible for the Olympic teams; and nine Major Leaguers from each team — 270 in all — will be allowed to play for all 16 nations invited to the World Baseball Classic, the first time big leaguers are eligible for international competition.