Chris Franklin named Joliet Slammers general manager
By Dick Goss email@example.com November 28, 2012 10:24PM
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:42PM
Chris Franklin is back home.
The new ownership of the Joliet Slammers in the independent Frontier League — Joliet Community Baseball and Entertainment, headed by Minneapolis attorney Josh Schaub — has named Franklin, 31, its general manager.
“I heard through the grapevine that the Slammers potentially were looking for a general manager, and I went for it,” Franklin said. “Baseball is my passion, and this is a great opportunity for my wife (Tammy) and me to come back home.
“Silver Cross Field is a beautiful facility. And just the idea of being back in Joliet and the surrounding communities. It’s home.”
Franklin grew up in Joliet and played youth baseball at St. Joseph Park. His family then moved to Morris, where he attended high school. He played football, basketball and baseball for the Redskins, graduating in 1999.
He went on to play four years of baseball at Blackburn College in Carlinville, earning a degree is in public administration.
“Getting into baseball after college actually started when I did an internship with the Kane County Cougars in 2002, between my junior and senior years,” Franklin said. “After college, I worked for two years with Southern Wine & Spirits out of Bolingbrook.
“I finally got the opportunity to break back into baseball with the JackHammers in 2006. I was a ticket sales representative.”
When former JackHammers general manager Steve Malliet made the move to O’Fallon, Mo., to take ownership of the River City Rascals, Franklin went with him.
“I was director of ticket sales the first season, assistant general manger the second year and executive vice president and general manager for four years,” Franklin said.
The Rascals were in the league championship series for three straight years with Franklin as the GM, winning the title in 2010.
“The Slammers beat me in 2011,” he noted.
He left the Rascals in March to help a St. Louis FieldTurf company get off the ground.
The Slammers finished a disappointing 37-58 in 2012 after winning the Frontier League championship a year ago under manager Bart Zeller.
One of Franklin’s immediate priorities is to get the new coaching staff in place. He said he is looking for a manager who plays the game aggressively, but also for “a guy who can build a team with a lot of character. I think chemistry trumps all.”
Former president Bill Waliewski and former vice president of baseball operations Ron Biga performed general manager duties for the Slammers after John Dittrich became a special consultant. Biga has been named field manager for the Windy City ThunderBolts.