According to a team source who did not wish to be identified, that new manager will be Jeff Isom. Isom agreed to the contract Tuesday morning, according to the source. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Isom, 40, will replace John Massarelli, 46, as the manager of the Crushers after Massarelli skippered the franchise all four years it has existed. During that span, the Crushers won at least 50 games all four years, reached the postseason twice and won the 2009 Frontier League championship.
Isom comes to the Crushers after managing in the Milwaukee Brewers organization for the last six seasons, from 2007-12. Four of those seasons, Isom managed at the Class A level. He spent last season managing the rookie-level Helena Brewers of the Pioneer League, where he guided the team to a 24-52 record.
Isom worked with Crushers vice president of business operations Dan Helm when Isom managed the West Virginia Power in 2008 in the Class A South Atlantic League. Isom guided the Power to a 77-62 record that season and won the “Sally League” championship.
Prior to managing in the Brewers organization, Isom managed in independent leagues for his first seven years as a manager after his playing career came to an end in 1999, most of which in the Frontier League. He managed the Canton Crocodiles (2000-01), the Washington Wild Things (2002-03), the Joliet Jackhammers of the Northern League (2004-05) and the Traverse City Beach Bums (2006).
Both of Isom’s Wild Things’ teams and his 2001 Crocodiles team made the Frontier League playoffs, and his 2006 Beach Bums team missed the playoffs by one game. His 2002 Wild Things team, which won the East Division title, reached the Frontier League Championship Series, where they lost to the Richmond Roosters, three games to one.
Ironically, Isom was replaced as the Wild Things manager by Massarelli following the 2003 season. Isom also replaced Massarelli’s brother Dan Massarelli as the Crocodiles manager midway through the 2000 season, going 21-17.
One of Isom’s coaches during his four seasons with the Crocodiles and the Wild Things was former Cleveland Indian 1980 Rookie of the Year and current Lorain County Ironmen assistant Joe Charboneau.
Isom’s overall record is 664-670 in 13 seasons as a professional baseball manager. He is 337-291 in independent leagues, 252-184 in five seasons managing in the Frontier League.
Isom, a native of Pullman, Wash., was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 18th round of the 1993 draft after a successful pitching career at Purdue University. From 1993-95, Isom pitched for both the Pirates and the San Diego Padres organizations, never advancing higher than Class A and going 10-12 with a 3.45 ERA in 198 2/3 innings pitched.
From 1996-99, Isom pitched in independent leagues, going 18-16 with a 5.27 ERA. Part of his 1998 season was spent in the Frontier League, where he went 0-3 with a 16.71 ERA pitching for the Kalamazoo Kings.
Massarelli was relieved of his duties as the Crushers manager last Thursday. The next day, Helm promised a speedy search for the new manager, saying he hoped to have him hired before Christmas.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or email@example.com