"Visionary" former IBF President Robert Smith dies aged 85
Saturday, 21 August 2021 Former International Baseball Federation (IBF) President Robert Smith - credited for putting the sport on the Olympic programme - has died aged 85.
Smith of the United States was head of the IBF, now known as the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), in 1986 when baseball secured its place at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics.
He was bestowed the Olympic Order, the highest honour given by the International Olympic Committee, for his efforts in making baseball an official medal sport.
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari led the tributes to Smith.
"Very sad to learn of the passing of former International Baseball Federation President Robert Smith," said Fraccari.
"The baseball world as we know it today is because of visionaries like Robert Smith."
Smith obtained the support of Peter O'Malley, the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB), to help baseball feature as a demonstration tournament at Los Angeles 1984.
Two years later, the IOC made baseball an official Olympic sport.
Following baseball's Olympic debut in 1992 and showings at Atlanta 1996 and Syndey 2000 Games, WBSC said the sport’s global footprint had expanded to more than 100 countries and territories, more than doubling its National Federations.