Former Sox player set to become US ambassador

Former Sox player set to become US ambassador
October 31, 2013, 8:45 pm
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CSN Staff

Former White Sox outfielder Mark Gilbert is set to become the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, if confirmed by the Senate, according to USA Today.

President Barack Obama officially nominated Gilbert on Tuesday. The 57-year-old has previously been a banking executive and was a member of the Obama for America national finance team.

"Baseball is America's pastime, so what better way to represent the United States overseas than with someone who, before he was a successful businessman, began his career as a major league baseball player?" State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said to USA Today.

[MORE: White Sox hire Todd Steverson as new hitting coach]

In July 1985, Gilbert played seven games for the White Sox, who were then managed by Tony La Russa. He posted a .273 batting average and scored three runs for Chicago.

"Sure, I remember him," La Russa told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I was always taken with his intelligence and how he was committed to what we were trying to teach — to become a teammate, a competitor and to pursue excellence as a professional."

Dennis Martinez, Barry Larkin and Cal Ripken Jr. are among some of the former MLB players who have served the State Department in various roles. However, the U.S. State Department said it couldn't find any other record of a former major league player having served as an ambassador, according to USA Today.