Kelly Mann

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Kelly John Mann

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Biographical Information[edit]

Kelly Mann was the 20th-round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 1985 amateur draft, the fourth catcher they selected, 15 rounds after a fellow future major leaguer, Rick Wrona. Mark Grace would be picked four rounds later. Mann broke in with the new Wytheville Cubs along with #3 pick Mike R. Miller and another catcher; Kelly only hit .200/~.259/.280 with 21 strikeouts in 75 AB.

Mann continued to show minimal contributions at the plate in 1986, when he batted .194/~.263/.230 for the Geneva Cubs, though he was 6 for 13 with the Peoria Chiefs. Kelly returned to Peoria in 1987 and improved to .254/~.310/.359 at the plate, though he still struck out 66 times in 287 AB. In 1988, the 20-year-old Californian hit a respectable .274/~.342/.388 for the Winston-Salem Spirits with 46 K in 307 AB. Baseball America rated him the #7 prospect in the Carolina League. Promoted to the AA Pittsfield Cubs, he hit only .196/~.255/.255 with 14 strikeouts in 51 at-bats. For a AA team, Pittsfield was loaded with future major league catchers as Joe Girardi was the starter, Wrona played briefly, Mann made his appearance and Hector Villanueva (usually the first baseman) also played there. An article about Mann and some of the Pittsfield Cubs can be found here: Hey Man, Can You Hold the Baby: Hector Villenueva and the 1988 Pittsfield Cubs.

In 1989, Mann hit .246/~.312/.362 for the Charlotte Knights with 60 strikeouts in 345 AB but he joined Jimmy Kremers as the All-Star catchers in the Southern League. He became one of the players to be named later in a trade for Paul Assenmacher to the Atlanta Braves and played for Atlanta that September, hitting .208/.240/.292 in 7 games for the Braves. He was one of the 10 youngest players in the National League that season.

In 1990, Kelly hit .316/~.433/.535 in 50 games for the Greenville Braves, only .202/~.274/.310 in 63 games with the Richmond Braves and .143/.143/.286 in 11 games as a September call-up for the Braves. Overall, he had hit .173/.189/.288 in 52 AB in the major leagues and would not play again in The Show after his 24th birthday.

Back in Richmond in 1991, Mann batted .184/~.269/.265 in 64 games. That earned him a release from Atlanta.

With a revolving door at catcher in Orlando, Chicago re-signed Mann in 1993 after he had sat out the 1993 season, and Kelly hit .244/~.333/.341 in 28 games for Orlando that year.

Mann was with the San Francisco Giants as a replacement player during spring training of 1995 before the 1994 strike was resolved.

He last played professional baseball in 1995 with the independent Pueblo Bighorns (.294/?/.441 in 102 AB) and Mobile BaySharks (.242/?/.364) of the Texas-Louisiana League. Strangely, Mann was released from Mobile mid-game after being accused of stealing money from other players' lockers. Apparently a player or other team personnel came into the clubhouse during the game and found him in someone else's locker. The ordeal ended in a clubhouse scuffle with manager Butch Hobson after the game. Kelly never played pro ball again.

Sources include 1986-87 Baseball America Statistics Reports, 1988-92, 1994 and 1996 Baseball Almanacs, account from former Mobile BaySharks batboy

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