Del Mar resident Brad Ausmus hired as Team Israel manager

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Israeli team manager Brad Ausmus, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Dan Shapiro, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Photo/US Embassy in Tel Aviv

By Sara Appel-Lennon

Former San Diego Padres catcher Brad Ausmus, 43, said he can walk in his Del Mar neighborhood without being recognized since he only played for the San Diego Padres for three years, from 1993-1996.

“I’m just like anyone else. Works for me” said Ausmus.

But Ausmus played in the Major League a lot longer. Ausmus retired in 2010 after 18 seasons as a Major League catcher with the San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

His career achievements include: 1999 American League All-Star team as a Detroit Tiger.; three-time Golden Glove Award winner (2001, 2002, 2006); 2004 inducted into the National Jewish Museum Sports Hall of Fame; played in the 2005 World Series; and 2007 Darryl Kile Award for Integrity and Courage. (After high school graduation in 1987, Ausmus signed with the Yankees just before attending Dartmouth. He would go to college in the fall and winter, and play in the minors during the spring and summer.)

However, Ausmus credits his wife, Liz, for his greatest accomplishment —  his two daughters, since she raised them when he was gone during the summers.

Ausmus now stays fit by working out five to six days per week. He is currently serving as special assistant to the San Diego Padres. Ausmus coaches catchers in minor and major leagues and works in the baseball operation’s front office.

In addition, for the first time, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association invited an Israeli baseball team to be an international contender in the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC).

Last November, Haim Katz, Israel Association of Baseball (IAB) president, and IAB Secretary General Peter Kurz met with former Major League Baseball players Ausmus, Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler to join Team Israel. They all agreed it would be an honor.

Kurz hired Ausmus as Team Israel manager. Ausmus has contacted many current and former Jewish Major League baseball players to take the field for Team Israel.

Shawn Green, considered the best Jewish player since Sandy Koufax, retired in 2007. He will be a player/hitting coach. Gabe Kapler, the “Hebrew Hammer” known for his Jewish star tattoo, played in the 2004 World Series, and retired in 2010. He will be a player/bench coach. Jason Hirsh will be a pitcher.

WBC rules permit a team member to represent a country if the member or parent is eligible for the country’s citizenship. In 2006 and 2009 some American Major League Players represented Italy, South Africa, and the Netherlands under citizenship laws.

Israel’s Law of Return grants Israeli citizenship to a team member if the member or spouse has one Jewish parent or grandparent. Ausmus’ mother and grandparents are Jewish.

The WBC Championship will be held in March 2013 in San Francisco, with one qualifying round in September.

In the WBC this fall, there will be four qualifier tournaments: in Germany, Panama, Taiwan and Florida. In each qualifier, four teams will be competing (for a total of 16 teams). The four winning teams of the 16 will compete in the main WBC in March 2013.

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