CARY, N.C. -- USA Baseball mourns the loss of former organization president Robert E. “Ish” Smith, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 85. Smith was elected president of the United States Baseball Federation in 1980 and also served as the president of the International Baseball Federation for 12 years.
Among his notable achievements in baseball, Smith is credited with baseball’s addition to the Olympic Programme as an official gold medal sport. He oversaw three Olympic Games baseball tournaments during his career, in Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 as a demonstration sport, and for the first time as an official gold medal sport in Barcelona 1992.
“Ish’s many successes in our sport helped lay the foundation for international baseball as we know it today,” said USA Baseball President Mike Gaski. “It is remarkable he was able to witness baseball’s return to the Olympic Programme for Tokyo 2020, honoring one of his most significant contributions to the game in his long, prosperous career. We join the entire baseball world in mourning the passing of a founding father of the international game and will continue to celebrate his many years of service to our organization.”
Smith served as the president of the United States Baseball Federation from 1980-1989 and served as president for the International Baseball Federation from 1981-1993, where he coordinated 26 international baseball tournaments during his tenure. He was awarded the Olympic Order, the highest honor given by the International Olympic Committee, for his efforts in bringing baseball to the Olympic Programme as a gold medal sport. Smith also received the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award in 1984 in honor of his contributions to the game of baseball.
Smith was elected into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 1993.
About USA Baseball
USA Baseball is the national governing body for baseball in the United States and is committed to serving, protecting and supporting the game of baseball and its 15.6 million participants. Founded in 1978, USA Baseball fields six national teams annually and is a member of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC). On the diamond, USA Baseball is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the reigning World Baseball Classic champion, and its national teams have won 62 gold medals in international competition. Off the field, the organization is dedicated to the proliferation and health of the sport through the creation and management of numerous development initiatives including Fun At Bat, Pitch Smart, PLAY BALL and the Prospect Development Pipeline. For more information on the organization, its national teams and development-driven initiatives, visit the official website USABaseball.com or USABDevelops.com.
As a service to our readers, Around the Rings will provide verbatim texts of selected press releases issued by Olympic-related organizations, federations, businesses and sponsors.
These press releases appear as sent to Around the Rings and are not edited for spelling, grammar or punctuation.