KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The Kansas City T-Bones have announced that John Massarelli has been hired as the club’s new manager.
Massarelli, 47, brings to Kansas City an overall record of 716-536 in 12 seasons as a professional baseball manager. Most recently, he managed the expansion Lake Erie Crushers of the independent Frontier League to a 211-170 record and league championship (2009) in four seasons (2009-12). Before that, he guided Washington of the Frontier League to four division championships and the championship series (2007) during four seasons (2004-07). Overall, as a manager in the Frontier League, Massarelli compiled a .590 (450-313) winning percentage.
“John was a perennial leader in the Frontier League,” said T-Bones President Adam Ehlert. “He’s a terrific fit philosophically, and bottom line, he’s a proven winner. He will elevate us, on the field, to the same level our front office has fought to bring us — as a leading independent franchise.”
Lake Erie did not renew Massarelli’s contract after the 2012 season, giving him his first summer away from professional baseball in 26 years.
“I told people that I was semi-retired because I decided I wasn’t going to manage again unless it was a perfect fit,” said Massarelli, who runs a baseball academy in Akron, Ohio. “There were only a handful of places I’d get excited about managing, and Kansas City was one of them. So when I talked to Chris Browne (T-Bones Vice-President and General Manager), I knew this was the right situation and the right organization, and I jumped.”
Massarelli began his full-time managerial career in 2000 with Auburn, the Houston Astros’ short-season single-A team in the New York-Penn League. He spent three more seasons managing in the Houston organization at both single-A and high-A. In 12 seasons as a manager, eight of Massarelli’s teams have reached their respective playoffs. (Three other teams missed the postseason by one game or less.)
Massarelli is the T-Bones’ fifth manager since the team moved from Duluth prior to the 2003 season. He replaces Kenny Hook, who went 91-109 in two seasons with Kansas City.
“We had an overwhelming amount of interest in the job,” said Browne. “But at the end of the day, John’s background in affiliated baseball, his experience and perhaps more importantly, his success at the independent level, set him apart.”
The Houston Astros selected Massarelli in the eighth round of the 1987 draft out of the University of Akron. He played 10 seasons in the minor leagues, reaching triple-A with Houston, Florida and Cleveland. In 932 games as mainly a catcher and outfielder, Massarelli batted .271 with 835 hits, including 144 doubles, 295 RBIs and 288 stolen bases.
Massarelli, who is a member of the University of Akron’s Hall of Fame, lives in Perry Township, Ohio, with Kelly, his wife of 24 years. The couple has a daughter, Noel, who attends John Carroll University.
John Massarelli’s Managerial Career
2000 Auburn (Houston — New York-Penn League) 32-42 .432 No Postseason
2001 Michigan (Houston — Midwest League) 82-55 .599 Postseason
2002 Michigan (Houston — Midwest League) 79-61 .564 Postseason
2003 Salem (Houston — Carolina League) 73-65 .529 No Postseason
2004 Washington (Ind — Frontier League) 62-34 .646 Postseason
2005 Washington (Ind — Frontier League) 63-32 .663 Postseason
2006 Washington (Ind — Frontier League) 59-37 .615 Postseason
2007 Washington (Ind — Frontier League) 55-40 .579 Lost League Championship
2009 Lake Erie (Ind — Frontier League) 57-38 .600 Won League Championship
2010 Lake Erie (Ind — Frontier League) 50-46 .521 No Postseason
2011 Lake Erie (Ind — Frontier League) 51-44 .537 Postseason
2012 Lake Erie (Ind — Frontier League) 53-42 .558 No Postseason
Overall — 12 seasons
Photo: Courtesy John Massarelli.