First Pakistani-American GM in Major League Baseball
By Riaz Haq
Los Angeles, CA: Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers franchise will name Pakistani-American Farhan Zaidi, an MIT and Berkeley-educated economist, as their next General Manager, baseball sources confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com Tuesday night. The news will be officially announced later this week.
Currently, Zaidi is an Assistant GM with Oakland A's where he has provided statistical analysis for evaluating players available on the free-agent and trade markets, as well as the draft, according to Los Angeles Times . He played a major role in the Athletics' signing of Yoenis Cespedes in 2012. He also assisted on arbitration cases and worked with the coaching staff to analyze scouting reports.
Zaidi was born in Canada to a Pakistani father. He grew up mostly in the Philippines, where he played Little League, and is one of few Muslims in baseball today.
Speaking to The Los Angeles Times, Zaidi said his interest in the analytic side of the game started to develop when he was in grade school and read “The Bill James Baseball Abstract”. “I bought that book each year and I basically carried it around with me everywhere,” Zaidi said. “Then I think the bookstore realized there was only one customer for the book and they stopped carrying it.”
Farhan Zaidi's new gig as GM of LA Dodgers is yet another sign that Pakistani Americans are beginning to make their mark in sports and entertainment fields in America. Marvel Entertainment has recently introduced a new Ms. Marvel , a 16-year-old Pakistani-American superhero named Kamala Khan. A Pakistani-American Kumail Nanjiani is starring in HBO comedy on Silicon Valley. Another name is triple-Oscar-winning CGI wizard Mir Zafar Ali . Shahid Khan, a Pakistani-American businessman, became the first non-white owner of an NFL team two years ago. It's good to see Pakistani-Americans entering occupations other than the more traditional professions like engineering and medicine.