The International Baseball Federation has elected former U.S. Air Force general and Yankees executive Harvey Schiller as its new president. IBAF delegates chose Schiller, an American, over Cuba’s Reynaldo Gonzalez Lopez and Netherlands broadcaster Theo Reitsma. Schiller, whose 58 votes doubled the total of second-place finisher Lopez, replaces the late Aldo Notari, who died last July.
In a statement released by USA Baseball, the new IBAF president said his main objective will be to get baseball back in the official Olympic program, and that the international baseball community must work together to achieve that goal.
Baseball will be in the 2008 Games (the U.S., Cuba and China are already in the eight-nation field), but is not scheduled to be in the Games thereafter after being voted out of the Games in July 2005 (along with softball). USA Baseball executive director Paul Seiler said having Schiller on board makes the Olympic goal possible.
“Over the past six months our federation has had the pleasure of working with Harvey Schiller with the common goal of his election,” Seiler said. “We have long believed Harvey is the right person to lead the IBAF during this exciting time for the sport of baseball internationally, and thus we are very pleased with the outcome of today’™s vote.”
A former member of the NCAA Executive Committee, Schiller also worked with the United States Olympic Committee. In 1990 he was elected USOC executive director and secretary general, in which capacity he was involved with baseball’™s first appearance in the Olympic Games, in Barcelona in 1992. Schiller also has worked for YankeeNets (as chairman and CEO), the corporate parent of the Yankees, and in 2003 he was appointed to the independent commission studying the reorganization of the United States Olympic Committee.
“Harvey is an accomplished professional whose multi-faceted career, Olympic experience and passion for our sport make him an outstanding choice to lead the IBAF,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “We share his desire to return baseball to the 2016 Olympic Games.”