IBAF Elects Italian As New President

Riccardo Fraccari replaces outgoing president Dr. Harvey Schiller




The International Baseball Federation is once again headed by a European.

Italy's Riccardo Fraccari was elected IBAF president at the Federation's continental meetings and Congress on Sunday. The only other finalist, Australia's John Ostermeyer, withdrew his candidacy to allow Fraccari to be elected unanimously. Fraccari replaced Dr. Harvey Schiller, an American who served a two-year term.

Dr. Schiller's predecessor, the late Aldo Notari, an Italian who Fraccari worked with as vice president of the Italian Baseball and Softball Federation from 1985-2000. Under Dr. Schiller, the center of power in international baseball had moved to the U.S., rather than the unlikely IBAF home of Lausanne, Switzerland. In fact, IBAF's website address used to be baseball.ch (.ch being the domain for Switzerland), but Dr. Schiller and his staff did much of IBAF's business from the U.S. in recent years.

It also was on Notari's watch, in 2005, that baseball was ousted from the Olympics. IBAF was unsuccessful at getting baseball back in the Games, and Fraccari's main task will be leading IBAF into a post-Olympic international environment.

"I want the IBAF to truly be the home of international baseball," he said in a press release. "It is at this point that we need to shape our future . . . we need to take care of the development of baseball all over the world. This is the only way to truly become a global sport."

The money quote of Fraccari's statement, however, was his desire to work together with the world's professional leagues. The former umpire said, "It is extremely important for us to strengthen our relationship with the world's professional
leagues. They need us to help continue to develop players worldwide, and we
certainly need their support both on and off the field."

Fidel Castro's son Tony and USA Baseball CEO Paul Seiler were elected to the 14-member Executive Committee, with Castro the 3rd Vice President, while Seiler is a member at large. Ostermeyer remains on the committee as president of the Oceania continental federation.

Rangers farmhand Justin Smoak, MVP of the World Cup in September, was named the top senior athlete of the year.