The Wild Things have added a former Frontier League Manager of the Year to their coaching staff.
Washington announced Wednesday the hiring of Bart Zeller as their bench coach for the 2013 season.
A 71-year-old Chicago native, Zeller has spent six years in the Frontier League, including the last two as manager of the Joliet Slammers. In 2011, Zeller managed the Slammers to a 56-40 record and the Frontier League championship in their inaugural season and was named the league’s Manager of the Year.
Zeller was fired after Joliet posted a 37-58 record last season. The Slammers were recently sold but will remain in the league.
Prior to managing Joliet, Zeller was the hitting and third-base coach for Southern Illinois for four years, during which the Miners won two West Division titles and advanced to the Frontier League playoffs twice.
After attending the University of Arizona for his freshman year, Zeller transferred to Eastern Illinois, where he earned all-conference honors in both football and baseball. He was a third team NAIA All-American in baseball.
As a catcher, Zeller played professional baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals’ system, advancing to the major leagues in 1970. He played in only one inning of one game in the major leagues, catching the ninth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies May 21, 1970. He never had a plate appearance. He was released as a player by the Cardinals June 8, 1970, but stayed on as a coach for the remainder of the season.
Zeller brings extensive minor-league coaching experience to Washington. In addition to coaching in the Cardinals’ system, he was bench and hitting coach for Sioux Falls of the Northern League in 2005 and American Association in 2006.
Jim Tatum and Lenny Randle will not be returning to manager Chris Bando’s coaching staff. Their contracts were not renewed.
Washington also signed two position players, outfielder Matt Fleischman and shortstop Mike August. Fleischman has one year of pro experience and August is a rookie.
Fleischman played in 17 games last summer for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. He batted .238 in 42 at-bats. Fleischman played at Villanova University, where he had a .312 career batting average and 13 home runs. As a senior, Fleischman was named All-Big East.
August played junior college baseball and then one season at Millersville University, where he finish fifth in the PSAC in batting (.379) and second in both runs (50) and hits (75) and fourth in RBI (44). He also stole 14 bases in 15 attempts. He was named to the All-PSAC East and All-Atlantic Region first teams.