ABC News’ Kirit Radia Reports: Baseball star Ken Griffey, Jr is known for his smooth swing of the bat, but the US government is hoping that will translate into smooth diplomacy.
On Tuesday Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will officially name Griffey as America’s next Public Diplomacy envoy. In that role he will travel the world trying to improve the United States’ image abroad.
He will join other prominent Americans who have been named envoy: Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr, and actress Fran Drescher, star of the 1990s sitcom The Nanny.
Other public diplomacy envoys have chosen to focus their efforts on a specific issue close to their heart, though it remains to be seen which topic Griffey choose. For example, Drescher, who was named to the post earlier this year, is concentrating on women’s health and rights around the world. She is making her first official trips to Eastern Europe this fall.
Ripken is currently on an official trip to Nicaragua with former teammate and Nicaraguan native Dennis Martinez where the two will be conducting baseball clinics for local youth. Kwan has made several trips to China.