Piazza to manage Italy in 2021 WBC

November 13th, 2019

Hall of Fame catcher is returning to the international baseball stage.

Piazza will manage Team Italy in the 2021 World Baseball Classic, the Italian Baseball and Softball Federation announced Wednesday. The 51-year-old, who also announced the news via Twitter, replaces Gilberto Gerali, who resigned after Italy placed fifth in the World Baseball Softball Confederation Europe-Africa Olympic qualifier.

The hire continues Piazza’s legacy with Team Italy, the club he raised to prominence as a player in the 2006 WBC and as its hitting coach in ’09. Piazza also served as an instructor for the Italian Baseball Academy as the nation claimed back-to-back European Baseball Championships in ’10 and ’12. He was also instrumental in recruiting Cubs star Anthony Rizzo to Team Italy for the 2013 WBC, when the club advanced to the second round for the first time.

Piazza, who resides in Italy with his family, has continually devoted his efforts toward growing baseball at the grassroots level in the country since he retired from the Major Leagues in 2007. He entered the Hall of Fame in ‘16 after receiving 83 percent of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote.

This will mark his second experience as a manager in an organized setting; he was the skipper for Team USA in the 2011 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Arizona.