Baseball: Slammers fire Bart Zeller as manager
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media September 5, 2012 6:56PM
Former Joliet Slammers manager Bart Zeller. | File photo
Updated: October 7, 2012 8:02AM
Bart Zeller, the Frontier League Manager of the Year in 2011 who guided the Joliet Slammers to the championship in their first season, was fired this week after the team finished next-to-last in the West Division.
“I was told they’re going to make a change,” Zeller said Wednesday. “I’m very disappointed. As a manager of a baseball team, I wanted our team to get another year to demonstrate that last year wasn’t a fluke, that this year was more of a fluke.”
The Slammers finished 37-58, including a 15-game skid near the end of the season.
“It’s an organization decision,” said Ron Biga, vice president of baseball operations. “I’m so close with Bart, been with him for five years. He’s still one of my best friends and like a second dad to me.”
Zeller and Biga spent three seasons together with another Frontier League club, the Southern Illinois Miners, before coming to Joliet last year.
“It’s onward and upward,” Zeller said. “I have to try to find something else. I’m going to miss this place.”
Biga said the managerial move was made before the league playoffs are over to give Zeller a better chance of landing another job.
“I want to keep managing,” Zeller said. “The championship season was without a doubt one of the biggest thrills I’ve ever had in baseball.”