Wilbur Donald Wakamatsu
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 200 lb.
- School Arizona State University
- Debut May 22, 1991
- Final Game October 5, 1991
- Born February 22, 1963 in Hood River, OR USA
Catcher Don Wakamatsu got all nine of his big league starts with the Chicago White Sox when knuckleballer Charlie Hough pitched. After a twelve-year minor league career ended, he spent four seasons as a minor league manager. He was the Texas Rangers bench coach from 2003 to 2006 and was a candidate to replace Buck Showalter as skipper after his dismissal. Instead, Showalter was replaced by Ron Washington and Wakamatsu became the club's third base coach. In 2008 he moved to the Oakland A's as bench coach.
On November 18, 2008, he was named the Seattle Mariners manager for the 2009 season. He was the first Asian-American manager in major league history. Don's Japanese-American grandparents were in an internment camp during World War II. His mother is of Irish descent. After a strong 2009 season the Mariners struggled in 2010 and Wakamatsu was fired along with coaches Rick Adair and Ty Van Burkleo on August 9th.
On November 9, 2010, he was named the new Bench Coach for the Toronto Blue Jays for the 2011 season in a post-season coaching shuffle. He spent the 2013 season as a scout for the New York Yankees before heading back to the dugout as the bench coach for the Kansas City Royals in 2014. After that season, he was one of two finalists to become the new manager of the Tampa Bay Rays following the departure of Joe Maddon, but he lost out to Tampa, FL native Kevin Cash. He stayed with Kansas City until the end of the 2017 season, then in 2018 returned to the Rangers as bench coach. He served as interim manager for the final ten games of the season after the Rangers had fired Jeff Banister, then in 2019 returned as bench coach under new manager Chris Woodward.
Don Wakamatsu authored the foreword for the full-length biography "Kenichi Zenimura, Japanese American Baseball Pioneer," by baseball historian and author Bill Staples, Jr., released by McFarland Press in 2011.
|Seattle Mariners Manager
|Texas Rangers Manager
Year-By-Year Managerial Record
|1997||AZL Diamondbacks||Arizona League||27-29||4th||Arizona Diamondbacks||none||shared position with Brian Butterfield|
|1998||High Desert Mavericks||California League||82-58||2nd||Arizona Diamondbacks||Lost in 2nd round|
|1999||El Paso Diablos||Texas League||64-76||7th||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|2000||Erie Sea Wolves||Eastern League||47-94||12th||Anaheim Angels|
|2009||Seattle Mariners||American League||85-77||3rd||Seattle Mariners|
|2010||Seattle Mariners||American League||42-70||--||Seattle Mariners||replaced by Daren Brown on August 9|
|2018||Texas Rangers||American League||3-7||5th||Texas Rangers||replaced Jeff Banister (64-88) on September 21|