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Mark Gilbert, former White Sox, nominated for New Zealand ambassador

President Obama has nominated banker Mark Gilbert, who once played for the Chicago White Sox, to be the next ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa.
Posted By Gabrielle Levy   |   Oct. 30, 2013 at 12:48 PM   |   Comments

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(UPI) -- President Barack Obama has named Mark Gilbert, a banker and one-time professional baseball player, to be the next ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa.

Gilbert, a top fundraiser for Obama, is a director at Barclays Wealth in West Palm Beach, Fla., and will replace David Huebner if confirmed by the Senate.

"I have spoken with Mr. Gilbert on a several occasions, and I look forward to tracking his confirmation process," Huebner wrote on his blog. "My research reveals that Mr. Gilbert would be the first Major League Baseball player ever to sit in the chair I now occupy."

Gilbert, who hails from Atlanta and earned a finance degree from Florida State University, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs out of college. He played in the Cincinnati Reds system before being traded to the Chicago White Sox, where he made his major league debut in 1985.

He played in just seven games, batting 6-for-22 and walked four times. He injured his knee diving for a ball in the outfield, ending his career when it had barely begun.

"Everywhere I played I had fun," he said in 1992. "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."

After leaving baseball, Gilbert worked as an investment banker at Drexel Burnham Lambert, then joined Goldman Sachs in 1989, where he served as senior vice president until 1996.

Gilbert served on the finance committees for both of Obama's presidential campaigns, then as the deputy national finance chair for the Democratic National Committee, as was on the Democrats finance committee during Secretary of State John Kerry's 2004 presidential run.

Huebner, who was installed in 2009, was the first openly gay ambassador named by the Obama administration and the third in U.S. history.

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