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Mike Rizzo (baseball)

Michael Anthony Rizzo (born December 14, 1960) is an American baseball front office executive who is the general manager and president of baseball operations of the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB).[1]

Mike Rizzo
Mike Rizzo - Washington Nationals General Manager (cropped).jpg
Rizzo in 2011
Washington Nationals
President and General Manager of Baseball Operations
Born: (1960-12-14) December 14, 1960 (age 58)
Chicago, Illinois
Teams
As executive

After a brief playing career in minor league baseball,[2] Rizzo transitioned into coaching and scouting. He became the director of scouting for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000. Rizzo joined the Nationals in 2007 as an assistant general manager. He succeeded Jim Bowden as the Nationals' general manager in 2009, and was promoted to team president in 2013. Rizzo and the Nationals won the franchise's first World Series in 2019, defeating the Houston Astros in seven games.[3]

Early lifeEdit

Rizzo grew up in Chicago as one of four children. His father, Phil, was a former minor league baseball player[4] who drove a truck for the city and scouted for the California Angels on a part-time basis. The Angels made Phil Rizzo a full-time scout, as many of the players he identified reached the majors,[5][6] and was eventually part of the inaugural induction class that entered the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame, in 2008.[7]

Rizzo attended Holy Cross High School in River Grove, Illinois, and Saint Xavier University, where he played college baseball for the Saint Xavier Cougars.[2][1][8]

Early careerEdit

The Angels drafted Rizzo in the 22nd round, with the 554th overall selection, in the 1982 Major League Baseball Draft.[6] He played for the Salem Angels (Class A Short Season), Peoria Suns (Class A) and Redwood Pioneers (Class A Advanced) from 1982 to 1984. After the 1984 season, the Angels released Rizzo. His father suggested that he was not skilled enough to reach the major leagues, and advised he attend college.[6]

Rizzo became an assistant coach at the University of Illinois.[6] Larry Himes, the scout who drafted Rizzo, became the general manager of the Chicago White Sox, and he hired Rizzo as a scout for the Upper Midwest region.[6] He also scouted for the Boston Red Sox. Rizzo joined the Arizona Diamondbacks when the franchise was created in 1998, and served as the Director of Scouting for the Diamondbacks from 2000 to 2006.[6][9]

Washington NationalsEdit

Seeking to replace Joe Garagiola Jr. as the Diamondbacks' general manager, the team chose Josh Byrnes over Rizzo.[6] As a result, Rizzo joined the Washington Nationals organization, when he was appointed Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations by Jim Bowden on July 24, 2006.[10] This move coincided with the franchise's ownership transfer from Major League Baseball to a Washington, D.C.-based investment group headed by Ted Lerner.[11]

Three days after Bowden's sudden resignation on March 1, 2009,[12] Rizzo was promoted on an interim basis by team president Stan Kasten.[13] He was named the full-time Senior Vice President/General Manager on August 20, 2009.[14] On October 19, 2010, Rizzo signed a five-year contract extension and was promoted to Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager.[15] The last two years of this contract were club options.[16]

Rizzo decided to shut down ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg late in the 2012 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery from the year before.[17]

The Nationals promoted Rizzo to President of Baseball Operations during the 2013 season.[18] In 2016, the team picked up its option to extend Rizzo's contract through the 2018 season.[19] On April 5, 2018, Rizzo signed a contract extension through the 2020 season.[20] The Nationals won the 2019 World Series, defeating the Houston Astros in seven games and securing the franchise's first championship on October 30, 2019.[21]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Michael Rizzo". thebaseballcube.com. The Baseball Cube. 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Mike Rizzo Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  3. ^ "In This World Series, It Was All About Home-Field Disadvantage". newyorktimes.com. New York Times. 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  4. ^ "Phil Rizzo Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  5. ^ "Phil Rizzo". thebaseballcube.com. The Baseball Cube. 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Kilgore, Adam (September 29, 2012). "Mike Rizzo, the man who built the Washington Nationals". washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  7. ^ Driver, David (October 15, 2019). "Nationals win would be Ted Lerner's best birthday gift". washingtontimes.com. The Washington Times. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  8. ^ Bush, Joe (August 31, 2001). "Daily Herald | Electronic Archive". nl.newsbank.com. Arlington Heights, Illinois: Daily Herald. Retrieved November 1, 2013. (subscription required)
  9. ^ "Who is Mike Rizzo? " The Nationals Review". Nationalsreview.wordpress.com. March 4, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  10. ^ "Nationals name Mike Rizzo Assistant GM and Vice President of Baseball Operations" (Press release). MLB.com. July 24, 2006. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  11. ^ "Lerner Group finalizes purchase of Washington Nationals" (Press release). MLB.com. July 24, 2006. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  12. ^ "Statement from Jim Bowden" (Press release). MLB.com. March 1, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  13. ^ "Rizzo Gets New Duties; Kasten: No Urgency for Search". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  14. ^ "Washington Nationals promote Mike Rizzo to Senior Vice President & General Manager" (Press release). MLB.com. August 20, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  15. ^ Zuckerman, Mark (October 19, 2010). "Nationals Ink Rizzo To 5-Year Extension". CSNwashington.com. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  16. ^ Kilgore, Adam (September 28, 2012). "Mike Rizzo under contract for one more guaranteed year, two club options". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  17. ^ Schad, Tom (September 3, 2012). "Johnson, Rizzo weigh in on Stephen Strasburg's shutdown". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on September 4, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  18. ^ Kilgore, Adam. "Mike Rizzo promoted to team president, given long-term extension". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  19. ^ Reddington, Patrick (May 17, 2016). "Nationals Re-Up Stephen Strasburg and Mike Rizzo... so how about Bryce Harper". Federal Baseball website. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  20. ^ Janes, Chelsea (April 5, 2018). "Nationals GM Mike Rizzo agrees to extension through 2020 season". Washington Post. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  21. ^ Castrovince, Anthony (October 30, 2019). "Nats make road-win history, capture 1st WS title". MLB.com. Retrieved October 31, 2019.

External linksEdit