Newtown High School grad and former Queens resident Omar Minaya has been tapped to become the first Hispanic general manager in Major League Baseball history, announced Commissioner Bud Selig Tuesday.
Minaya, who now lives in New Jersey with his family, will be the front office man for the Montreal Expos, the first team to be run and owned by Major League Baseball. Until accepting the post, Minaya was the senior assistant general manager and director of international scouting for the New York Mets.
I like Omar a lot, Selig said during a conference call to announce Minayas hiring, as well as that of manager Frank Robinson and team president Tony Tavares. I have a lot of faith in Omar. I feel hes qualified for the job.
After his days at Newtown High School, the Dominican Republic native was selected in the 14th round of the June 1978 Free Agent Draft by the Oakland As and went on to play in both the Oakland and Seattle Mariners farm systems. He later played professionally in Italy for two years in 1983 and 1984.
He went on to become a manager for the Gulf Coast Rangers from 1985 to 1987 and joined the Texas Rangers as the clubs scout in the Dominican Republic. He went then became the teams Latin America scouting coordinator and was involved in the signing of such players as Sammy Sosa, Fernando Tatis, Rich Aurilia and Juan Gonzalez.
Before he joined the New York Mets, Minaya was the Rangers director of professional and international scouting. He was named senior assistant general manager for the Mets on Nov. 23, 1998.
The Expos are among the teams Major League Baseball had scheduled for contraction prior to the start of next season, but several legal battles have put off the plan for at least another season. If no job remains for Minaya after the 2002 season with Montreal, Selig said he plans on brining Minaya into the Commissioners Office.
According to Selig, Major League Baseball will not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the Expos this coming season, likely the last for the Expos in Montreal and possibly altogether, leaving that to the small staff it is putting together, including Minaya.
Im not afraid of risk, Minaya said. The more time went on and I thought about the challenge, it grew on me everyday. Im honored to be given the opportunity.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2002 Community News Group
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