Ex-baseball player nominated as ambassador to NZ

TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 15:40 30/10/2013
Mark Gilbert
BASEBALL DAYS: Mark Gilbert in his 1985 playing strip.
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KEVIN LAMARQUE / Reuters
US PRESIDENT: Barack Obama

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A former professional baseball player and financial high flier has been nominated ambassador to New Zealand by United States President Barack Obama.

Mark Gilbert, 57, is a director at Barclays Wealth, formerly Lehman Brothers, in West Palm Beach, Florida.  

The nomination was announced by the White House today.

If Gilbert is confirmed by the US Senate he would replace David Huebner, an Obama nominee in the president's first term.

"I have spoken with Mr. Gilbert on a several occasions, and I look forward to tracking his confirmation process," Huebner wrote on his blog. "If confirmed, he would be joined in Wellington by this wife, Nancy. The couple has two adult daughters, Danielle and Elizabeth."

Previously, Gilbert was the senior vice president of Goldman Sachs in Miami.

He has also held several fundraising positions within the Democratic Party.  

Before beginning his business career, Gilbert was a professional baseball player for several years, mostly in the minor leagues.

Gilbert appeared in seven games for the Chicago White Sox as an outfielder in July 1985, batting a respectable 6-for-22 (.273) with four walks in 26 plate appearances. But a knee injury sustained diving for a batted ball forced him to have surgery, ending his brief Major League career.

Gilbert told the Chicago Tribune in 1992 that he had fond memories from that time.

"Everywhere I played I had fun," he said. "The most impressive thing being with the White Sox was how congenial everybody was. Carlton Fisk. Harold Baines. Tom Seaver. They were all superstars. Yet they were extremely nice to me and tried to help me as much as they could. No question. It was worth it."

Born in Atlanta, Gilbert received a degree in finance from Florida State University.

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