AVON — The only manager the Lake Erie Crushers have ever known has been fired, according to team owner Steven Edelson on Thursday night.
John Massarelli, who guided the expansion Crushers to a Frontier League championship during their inaugural season in 2009 and never won fewer than 50 games a season during his tenure, was relieved of his duties, Edelson confirmed.
Massarelli revealed he was fired to The Chronicle-Telegram on Thursday.
An official release by the team is expected today.
“I have nothing but fond memories of my four years with the Crushers,” Massarelli said. “I will most definitely miss those magic nights at The Freight. Thank you to the fans and all the players, it was the most enjoyable four years of my professional career.”
Edelson was uncomfortable using the term “fired.”
“Let’s just say that John Massarelli will be replaced as the manager of the Crushers,” he said. “This was not an easy decision. I just felt the team just needed something new, a new voice. I felt they needed someone who would stay in the community and be more of a fixture in the community.
“He’s a favorite of my children and my family. We had a great relationship for several years, but we have to do what’s best for the organization. It was not an easy decision.”
Edelson said he would comment further on the situation today after the team officially announces the change.
Dan Helm, the Crushers vice president of business relations, said he would also comment further on the situation today.
There is no word if a candidate has already been hired, or if there is a list of candidates already compiled.
Massarelli, a Canton native, is a member of the University of Akron’s Hall of Fame after a stellar baseball career for the Zips. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the eighth round of the 1987 MLB Draft and spent 10 years playing minor league baseball for the Astros, Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres.
After retiring as a catcher and outfielder in 1997, Massarelli began his coaching career in 2000 in the Astros’ minor league system.
In 2004, he left the Astros and was hired as the manager of the Washington Wild Things in the Frontier League, managing them until 2007. He guided the Wild Things to four consecutive division championships, but was never able to win a championship there. He has a 684-494 record in 11 seasons as a professional baseball manager.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.