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Don Wakamatsu

From BR Bullpen


Wilbur Donald Wakamatsu

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Catcher Don Wakamatsu got all nine of his big league starts with the Chicago White Sox when knuckleballer Charlie Hough pitched. After a twelve-year minor league career ended, he spent four seasons as a minor league manager. He was the Texas Rangers bench coach from 2003 to 2006 and was a candidate to replace Buck Showalter as skipper after his dismissal. Instead, Showalter was replaced by Ron Washington and Wakamatsu became the club's third base coach. In 2008 he moved to the Oakland A's as bench coach.

On November 18, 2008, he was named the Seattle Mariners manager for the 2009 season. He was the first Asian-American manager in major league history. Don's Japanese-American grandparents were in an internment camp during World War II. His mother is of Irish descent. After a strong 2009 season the Mariners struggled in 2010 and Wakamatsu was fired along with coaches Rick Adair and Ty Van Burkleo on August 9th.

On November 9, 2010, he was named the new Bench Coach for the Toronto Blue Jays for the 2011 season in a post-season coaching shuffle. He spent the 2013 season as a scout for the New York Yankees before heading back to the dugout as the bench coach for the Kansas City Royals in 2014. After that season, he was one of two finalists to become the new manager of the Tampa Bay Rays following the departure of Joe Maddon, but he lost out to Tampa, FL native Kevin Cash. He stayed with Kansas City until the end of the 2017 season, then in 2018 returned to the Rangers as bench coach. He served as interim manager for the final ten games of the season after the Rangers had fired Jeff Banister, then in 2019 returned as bench coach under new manager Chris Woodward. He stayed until the end of the 2021.

Don Wakamatsu authored the foreword for the full-length biography Kenichi Zenimura, Japanese American Baseball Pioneer by baseball historian and author Bill Staples, Jr., released by McFarland Press in 2011.

Preceded by
Jim Riggleman
Seattle Mariners Manager
Succeeded by
Daren Brown
Preceded by
Jeff Banister
Texas Rangers Manager
Succeeded by
Chris Woodward

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1997 AZL Diamondbacks Arizona League 27-29 4th Arizona Diamondbacks none shared position with Brian Butterfield
1998 High Desert Mavericks California League 82-58 2nd Arizona Diamondbacks Lost in 2nd round
1999 El Paso Diablos Texas League 64-76 7th Arizona Diamondbacks
2000 Erie Sea Wolves Eastern League 47-94 12th Anaheim Angels
2009 Seattle Mariners American League 85-77 3rd Seattle Mariners
2010 Seattle Mariners American League 42-70 -- Seattle Mariners replaced by Daren Brown on August 9
2018 Texas Rangers American League 3-7 5th Texas Rangers replaced Jeff Banister (64-88) on September 21

Related Sites[edit]