Mariners tab Zduriencik as new GM

Mariners tab Zduriencik as new GM

SEATTLE -- Jack Zduriencik, one of four finalists to be considered for the Mariners' general manager position, moved to the top of the list and was named on Wednesday as the eighth full-time GM in franchise history.

"Today is a very exciting day for the Mariners," club president Chuck Armstrong said in a press release. "We have spent the past several months looking at a very complete list of potential candidates to become our new general manager. The individuals we interviewed for the position were excellent.

"We believe Jack is the best person to provide a new approach and to lead our baseball operations. He has a proven record of recognizing talent, both on the field and in the front office."

The 57-year-old Zduriencik (pronounced zur-EN-sik), a Milwaukee Brewers vice president and special assistant to GM Doug Melvin for player personnel, was chosen over Dodgers assistant general manager Kim Ng, Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava and Diamondbacks director of player personnel Jerry DiPoto.

"Jack is extremely well-respected throughout baseball," Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln said. "His track record in recognizing and developing young talent in Milwaukee was instrumental in the Brewers' steady improvement over the past several seasons. I am very excited about the passion and leadership he will bring to our organization."

Zduriencik, noted for having one of the sharpest scouting eyes in the game, helped build the once-woeful Brewers into one of the best teams in the National League. Earlier this year, he became the first non-GM to be named Baseball America Executive of the Year.

This is his 25th year in professional baseball, starting with a stint as a Minor League catcher with the White Sox from 1973-74 and continuing in scouting and front-office roles with the Mets, Pirates and Dodgers before joining the Brewers in October 1999.

The John A. (Jack) Zduriencik file:

Born: January 11, 1951 in New Castle, PA.

Coaching career: Football and baseball coach, Austin Peay (1975-77); Clairton High School (Pittsburgh, 1977-80); Tarpon Springs (Fla.) High School (1980-82).

New York Mets: Area scout, 1983-89; national crosschecker, 1990, 1994-95; director, Minor League operations, 1995-98; special assistant to the GM, 1998.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Director of scouting, 1991-93.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Director, international operations, 1998-99.

Milwaukee Brewers: Director of scouting, 1999-2006; special assistant to the GM/director amateur scouting, 2006-08; vice president, special assistant to the GM for player personnel, 2008.

Halls of Fame: Pennsylvania American Legion Hall of Fame, Lawrence County (Pa.) Hall of Fame.

Education: Bachelor's degree in education from California University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in physical education from Austin Peay State University.

Personal: Zduriencik and his wife, Debbie, have one adult daughter, Kimberly.

"I am very excited about this opportunity," Zduriencik said in the press release. "Seattle is an outstanding organization with great fans, a great ballpark, and an ownership group committed to bringing a World Series to the Northwest.

"I believe that working together, we can make the Mariners a model franchise. I am looking forward to getting to work immediately."

Zduriencik will be introduced to the Seattle-area media at 10 a.m. PT on Friday at Safeco Field. Major League Baseball has a news blackout during the World Series, which starts Wednesday night in St. Petersburg. But with Friday being a travel day for the AL champion Rays and NL champion Phillies, a team put together by former Mariners GM Pat Gillick, Seattle received permission from MLB to have a press conference.

Gillick, who presided over the Mariners' baseball operations from 2000-03, was replaced by Bill Bavasi prior to the '04 season. Bavasi was dismissed last June 16 and assistant GM Lee Pelekoudas took over on an interim basis.

"I would like to thank Lee Pelekoudas for his efforts as interim general manager," Lincoln said. "He did an excellent job of keeping the organization moving forward."

Pelekoudas, who joined the organization in December 1979 as the director of travel, is expected to remain with the Mariners as an assistant GM, the same position he held prior to the dismissal of Bavasi.

During his six-month stint, Pelekoudas made a handful of notable moves. Former manager John McLaren was dismissed on June 20 and replaced by bench coach Jim Riggleman. Left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes was traded to the Florida Marlins for pitcher Gaby Hernandez. First baseman Richie Sexson was released and designated hitter Jose Vidro was designated. Young pitchers Brandon Morrow and Ryan Rowland-Smith were converted into starters.

Zduriencik joins Lou Gorman (1977-80), Dan O'Brien (1981-83), Hal Keller (1984-85), Dick Balderson (1986-88), Woody Woodward (1988-99), Gillick and Bavasi as the only GMs in Mariners history.

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.