Ex-Goldpanner Wakamatsu to lead Seattle Mariners Wakamatsu was the
catcher for the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks during the summer of
1983 when the Panners posted a record of 42-19 under Dave Snow. Wakamatsu had a .318
batting average that summer and caught pitchers such as Joe Magrane,
Alex Madrid and Brad Arnsberg. Some of the other players on that
team included Shane Mack and Oddibe McDowell.
11/19/8: Don Wakamatsu (83)
Named Seattle Mariners manager
June 3, 1985: Drafted by the
Cincinnati Reds in the 11th round of the 1985 amateur draft.
March 29, 1989: Released by the
April 4, 1989: Signed as a Free
Agent with the Chicago White Sox.
October 7, 1991: Granted Free
December 10, 1991: Signed as a
Free Agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Wakamatsu was a three-sport star at the Bay Area's Hayward High School in
high school, and ultimately chose baseball over football due to his lack of
size. He was also an All Pacific-10 catcher during his last three years
at Arizona State University where he was a teammate of Barry Bonds. He was
the last pick of the 1984 draft, but decided to return to ASU. In 1985, he
was drafted in the 11th round by the Cincinnati Reds.
Wakamatsu played 18 games in the majors as a backup catcher for the Chicago
White Sox in 1991, working in all of his starts for knuckleballer Charlie
Hough. He also caught in the minor leagues from 1985 through 1996.
Following his playing retirement, Wakamatsu managed in the minors for
Rookie-Level Peoria Chiefs (1997) and Double-A El Paso Diablos (1999) and
Erie SeaWolves (2000), posting a 215-248 record. In 1998 was named Manager
of the Year in the California League,  after leading the High Desert
Mavericks to the playoffs.
In 2001 and 2002, Wakamatsu was a roving catching instructor in the Anaheim
Angels organization. From 2003 to 2006, he was the Texas Rangers' bench
coach. During the 2006 season, he served as manager for two games while Buck
Showalter was in the hospital with an irregular heartbeat brought about due
to dehydration, and in 2007, took the third base coach job when Ron
Washington took over as manager.
In 2008 Wakamatsu was the bench coach of the Oakland Athletics. He also has
served in the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and
Chicago Cubs organizations, and was a candidate for the head coaching
positions in Oakland and Texas in 2006.