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Dave Nilsson

Dave Nilsson - C, 1B, OF
Hometown: Brisbane, QLD
Debut: 18 May 1992
Final Game: 3 October 1999
Teams played for: Milwaukee Brewers, Chunichi Dragons (Japan), Telemarket Rimini (Italy)

Just six years after Craig Shipley made his Major League debut, another key figure in modern Australian baseball's development debuted for the Milwaukee Brewers. Dave Nilsson became the international face of Australian baseball's rapid progress throughout the mid-90s and early 2000s, as a consistent presence on diamonds both in MLB and Down Under.

While working his way up the Brewers' Minor League ladder, Nilsson took advantage of newfound playing opportunities back home, slugging his way to the top of the batting average and slugging percentage leaderboards of the first Australian Baseball League.

In eight years with the Brewers, Nilsson hit .284 and made history in 1999 when he became the first Australian player to play in the All-Star Game. He turned heads that offseason, when, as a free agent, he opted to not sign with any MLB teams so that he could represent Australia in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

With the world watching, "Dingo" continued to let his bat do the talking and led the tournament in batting average. Also on the global stage, he helped Team Australia capture its first Olympic baseball medal, a silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Nilsson officially retired from playing after joining Team Australia for the 2006 World Baseball Classic and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2008 for his contributions to the sport.

These efforts included purchasing the first ABL in 1999 as a way to prevent it from folding and keep the reality of professional baseball alive in Australia. Nilsson served as the Brisbane Bandits' manager in the new ABL's inaugural 2010/11 season and rejoined his hometown team as manager once again for the 2014/15 campaign.

View Dave Nilsson's career statistics from Baseball Reference

(Photo at right: Dave [left] and Mitch Nilsson during the ABL's inaugural season. Credit: SMP Images/ABL Media)