Former White Sox Outfielder New Ambassador To New Zealand

The Senate last week confirmed former White Sox outfielder Mark Gilbert as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand.

Gilbert, 58, played seven games for the White Sox in late July 1985. He put up a .273/.385/.318 line while playing each of the outfield positions.

How did he get the ambassador gig?

Along the way, Gilbert also became a prodigious fundraiser for the Democratic Party.  In 2012, the New York Times reported that Gilbert had raised $1.2 million for President Obama in 2011 and 2012 and more than $3 million for Democratic candidates since 2007.  He also was the Democratic National Committee’s deputy national finance chair from 2009 until 2013.

In October 2013, Obama nominated Gilbert to be U.S. ambassador to New Zealand.  His nomination languished for more than a year amid heightened scrutiny from Senate Republicans over appointing major fundraisers to ambassador posts.

Ah, yes.

Hopefully, Gilbert will be able to keep tensions with the New Zealanders (New Zealandians? New Zealandites?) to a minimum for the rest of President Obama’s term.

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