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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Kelly Mann, Defensive Catcher - 1132

Kelly Mann didn't hit well at AAA Richmond, but he was in Atlanta nonetheless in September 1990, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Mann knew it wasn't his bat that got him there.

"I went through a really bad slump," Mann explained to The Times of his hitting at Richmond. "But I showed everyone what I could do defensively, and that's why I'm here in the majors."

Mann got into 11 games for the Braves that month, after getting into seven the previous year. His defense, though, wasn't enough to get him back. Those 18 games turned out to be the extent of his major league career.

Mann's career began in 1985, taken by the Cubs in the 20th round of the draft out of Santa Monica High School in California.

Mann started at rookie Wytheville. He hit .200 in 26 at bats. He played 1986 between short-season Geneva and single-A Peoria. He made AA Pittsfield briefly in 1988 and then AA Charlotte full-time in 1989.

That Sept. 1, Mann was sent to the Braves with another player to complete an earlier deal for Paul Assenmacher. He also made Atlanta.

Mann got into seven games for the Braves that September. He picked up five hits in 24 at bats.

He returned to the minors for much of 1990, playing between AA Greenville and AAA Richmond. He hit .251 between them, but .202 in 63 games at Richmond.

That July, one of Mann's old managers from the Cubs system Jim Essian explained to The Times what was holding Mann back.

"I think Kelly is an excellent catcher, a big-league catcher," Essian told The Times. "Defensively, he's capable of playing in the major leagues right now. It's just a matter of how well he hits."

Mann got his 11 games for Atlanta that September. He got four hits in 28 at bats, a .143 average.

Mann worked the next spring to get back to Atlanta by again showing off his defense. He threw out two runners in one game, one of Delino DeShields, according to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

"It's nothing new for me," Mann told The Sun-Sentinel. "I threw him out a few times in the Southern League. Those are the ones that separate catchers from being average and being really good."

Mann got into just 64 games at Richmond in 1991. He hit .184. He isn't recorded as playing in 1992, then returned to AA Orlando with the Cubs for 28 games in 1993.

He returned for one more season in 1995. He played that spring with the Giants, then finished out the year and his career in the independent Texas-Louisiana League.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,021
Made the Majors: 902-44.6%-X
Never Made Majors:1,119-55.4%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 385
10+ Seasons in the Minors:220

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