The Dream Begins
Birth of a Team
BIRTH OF A TEAM
Peter Angelos, being very proud of his Greek heritage, immediately accepted the challenge of putting together an Olympic team and embarked on a long and costly personal journey (having donated and spent over $1 million of his own personal resources) whose destination was the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
2002 Peter assigned his best scout, Robert Derksen, with the task of seeking out any and all qualified baseball players who were of Greek descent and who could obtain Greek citizenship so that they could potentially play for Greece in the Athens Olympics. He also appointed his son, Lou Angelos, to serve as the General Manager of the team with Tom Marudas on board handling the legal issues involved.
Robert Derksen travelled all over the United States, Canada, Australia, Greece, and even some other European countries in search of high quality baseball players of Greek descent. By the spring of 2002, Rob had accumulated a list of over 75 names including retired Major Leaguers, active roster Minor Leaguers, Independent Leaguers, College Ball players, and some very talented high school prospects.
In July of 2002, Robert Derksen enlisted the aid of some other coaches including former Pomona College Coach Mike Riskas, White Sox scout John Kazanas, Los Angeles Dodger Vice President of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos, and former University of North Florida Coach Dusty Rhodes. Together they selected 22 North American players of Greek descent and 2 players from the local Greek league and travelled to Hungary in order to play in the European Qualifier Championship. The winner of this tournament would secure that team’s right to participate in the 2003 European Seniors Championship that was also the Olympic Games qualification tournament for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. This meant that the Greek team had to win the tournament in order to maintain any hope of playing in the Olympics.
Rob Derksen led the Greek National Team to 7 consecutive and easy victories defeating all opponents by mercy rule scores and breaking almost every previous European Qualifier Championship record.
2003 Robert Derksen, his coaches, and the Angelos family immediately began work on assembling an even better team that would be able to secure Greece’s participation in the Olympics by taking either 1st or 2nd place at the 2003 European Seniors Championship, which took place in The Netherlands in August of 2003. Thus, the Greek National Team went to Amsterdam with a mission and played the game of baseball as well as any of the other European teams at the tournament. The Greek team defeated Italy 2-1 on its way to the semi-final game against Spain whom they defeated 10-0. This semi-final win secured Greece’s Baseball team’s participation in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The Final game was against the home team “The Netherlands” and with our hitters on a bad day lost that game by a respectable score of 2-0. However, the main objective had been secured and a Greek Baseball team would play in the 2004 Athens Olympics. As an added bonus, the Greek team also qualified for the 2006 World Cup of Baseball.