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Tony Pena pads resume with WBC title

03/20/2013 3:46 PM ET
By Matt Hughes

Tony Pena managed the Dominican Republic to an undefeated record and the 2013 Classic title.(AP)
Tony Pena led the Dominican Republic to an historic World Baseball Classic championship. This should surprise no one who knows Pena's story.

A recent NBC Sports profile tells Pena's remarkable story as an All-Star catcher, and championship coach and manager. Pena, born in the Dominican Republic, has been the New York Yankees' bench coach since 2006. Ever the optimist, Pena loves the game and has never lost sight of his humble beginnings. 

Pena's first signing bonus was for $4,000 from the Pittsburgh Pirates, an amount so large that no local bank could cover the deposit. When Pena attempted to give the money to his mother, Rosalia, she would not accept it. Rosalia was not wild about the idea of her son leaving and assumed he would eventually need the money after failing at baseball. To what must have been Rosalia's delight, Pena would become a great success.

He made his Major League debut in 1980 and played 18 standout seasons, highlighted by five All-Star appearances and four Gold Gloves. He was the American League Manager of the Year in 2003 after leading an over-matched Royals squad into playoff contention deep into the season.

Pena was hired as Joe Torre's bench coach with the Yankees in 2006, and remained with the team when Joe Girardi became manager in 2008. Pena and Girardi were the first to embrace when the Yankees won the World Series in 2009.

Now, Pena can add WBC champion to his resume after leading the DR's total domination in this year's tournament.

Follow Matt Hughes on Twitter: @hughesmatt

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