2009 Team Italy coach Tom Trebelhorn reflects on the global aspect of the World Baseball Classic

Tom Trebelhorn managed the 1986-1991 Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs in 1994.

Tom Trebelhorn managed the 1986-1991 Milwaukee Brewers
and the Chicago Cubs in 1994.

Italians have often been criticized for using their
hands when they speak, but 2009 Team Italy coach Tom Trebelhorn (who is of German descent) has
been chastised by Cubbie fans for speaking his mind. To the dismay of the Chicago faithful, the former
MLB manager was awarded the #1 quote in Bleacher Report‘s “Best Baseball Quotes of All Time” (which includes memorable quotes from Italian American Baseball Hall of Fame Legends Joe DiMaggio and
Phil Rizzuto). However, Trebelhorn would much
prefer being remembered in baseball history for
his invaluable contribution in preparing the Italian team for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. “I think
the global aspect of baseball is very exciting,” said
the seasoned 65-year-old baseball veteran. He loves the international platform that the World Baseball Classic provides. Trebelhorn commented, “It gives
the game terrific exposure. To be able to hopefully
help the Italian Baseball Federation in their attempts
to enrich baseball as a sport in Italy is intriguing.”
Birds eye view of the Italy and Canada 2009 WBC game at Toronto's Roger Centre.

Bird’s-eye view of the 2009 WBC game between Italy and Canada at Toronto’s Roger Centre.

'09 World Baseball Classic

’09 World Baseball Classic

Every minute with the Italians in the 2009 World Baseball Classic at Rogers Centre was special for Trebelhorn. “A great experience. The team played with a lot of passion and heart,”
he said in retrospect to Italy’s 6-2 upset and elimination of
host Canada. “That was an embarrassment to them.” Named 1986 Manager of the Year by Baseball America after posting
an impressive 91-71 in his first season as the Milwaukee Brewers’ skipper, Trebelhorn managed the Brew Crew through 1991. After managing the 1994 Chicago Cubs, he signed on as coach for the Baltimore Orioles and remained with the franchise for 12 years. An unlikely alliance between the O’s and the Italian League’s Grosseto Baseball Club began after Baltimore County and the Italian Province of Grosseto became Sister Counties.
Grosseto's Sister City relationship with Baltimore County was instrumental in bringing together Grosseto native and Italy manager Marco Mazzieri and Baltimore Orioles coach Tom Trebelhorn.

The Sister Counties relationship between Baltimore and Grosseto blossomed as a result of the friendship between Orioles coach Trebelhorn and Grosseto native/Italian manager Mazzieri.

Team Italy manager Marco Mazzieri

Italian manager Marco Mazzieri

The late and great Orioles vice president of operations
Syd Thrift announced in 2001 that Grosseto Baseball
Club manager Marco Mazzieri and several of his players were invited to Orioles’ Spring Training to observe team workout and training methods. He said, “We believe
this will help advance the game of baseball in Italy and throughout Europe. I’ve been to Grosseto and have
seen the enthusiasm they have for the game of baseball.” Italian manager Mazzieri and O’s coach Trebelhorn were two sound baseball minds from different sides of the Atlantic, and their common love for the game brought them together around the same time every year. They became close friends in no time and looked forward to their annual reunion. Trebelhorn said, “I used to have
him come to spring training and work with us in Florida.”italy_wbc_press_release2009_WBC When Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball (FIBS) President Riccardo Fraccari revealed that Mazzieri would be manager for Team Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, the Italian baseball icon knew he needed some reinforcement with extensive MLB experience behind him. Upon hearing
of his appointment Mazzieri said, “I am really happy and not overconfident.
I am aware of the fact that I need to rely on the experience of a coach who has spent time in the Big Leagues.” Mazzieri summoned Trebelhorn. “He got the job as the head guy and asked if I would help him out,” said Trebelhorn nonchalantly. As the saying goes:
“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”italy_usa_friendship

1 Comment

Congratulations, Tom on this wonderful endeavor that not only contributed to developing a strong team for Italian baseball fans but also splashed into a much larger impact, such as strengthening the relationship between two counties that are an ocean apart! You are great, you are the best without knowing it! Would love to see you in Scottsdale and catch up! Marian Paronyan, Phoenix, AZ.

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