Retired major league baseball player Brad Ausmus, who managed the Israeli national team’s bid for the World Baseball Classic last year, was named the manager of the American League Detroit Tigers. The Tigers announced the hiring of Ausmus, 44, on Sunday, making him the only current Jewish manager in Major League Baseball. Ausmus was a catcher for four teams, including the Tigers, in his playing days.
His Israel team failed to qualify for the World Baseball Classic in 2012, losing to Spain, 9-7, in 10 innings in the final game of the qualifying tournament.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for me,” Ausmus said at a press conference, as reported by MLB.com.
“I’m well aware that you don’t generally get dropped into an situation like I will be this coming season with a team like the Detroit Tigers have. Very rarely is there a managerial change with a team that’s coming off a postseason appearance.”
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Ausmus, a Connecticut native who was educated at Dartmouth, has never served as a manager or coach in the Major Leagues. He has been a special assistant in the San Diego Padres’ front office since 2010, the year he retired as a player.
Ausmus had two stints playing with the Tigers and last played with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He spent the bulk of his career, which started in 1993, with the Houston Astros.
With the Tigers he will succeed Jim Leyland, who stepped down following Detroit’s loss last month to the eventual world champion Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. Leyland managed the Tigers for eight seasons, twice winning the A.L. pennant.