R.I.P. to Art Mazmanian, an All-American college baseball player, minor-leaguer in the Yankees organization and a long-time manager for high school, college and minor-league baseball. He died on March 22 in San Dimas, Calif., at the age of 91.
Art Mazmanian was born on May 1, 1927 in Detroit, Mich. He attended the University of Southern California and was the second baseman on the school’s first College World Series championship in 1948. If that year sounds familiar, it’s because the Trojans had to defeat the Yale team that had George H.W. Bush as the starting first baseman. Mazmanian was named to the College Baseball All-American first team that year and also went 3-for-3 in the World Series game with a sacrifice and a run scored, according to ESPN.
Mazmanian was signed by the New York Yankees in 1949 and spent six seasons in the minor leagues. He had a couple of seasons where he topped .260 but was mostly a low .200s hitter. He quit as a player in 1964 after splitting time with the Yankees’ AAA team in Kansas City and the Cardinals’ A-ball team in Omaha. He had a career .238 batting average.
Turning to the coaching side, Mazmanian became a renowned high school and college coach, first at Dorsey High in Los Angeles, which was his alma mater. He coached baseball and football there for 13 years and then spent 31 seasons at Mount San Antonio Junior College. He had just two losing seasons there and coached several future major-leaguers, including Brett Tomko and Ron Roenicke.
When he wasn’t coaching during the school season, he also spent 18 seasons as a minor-league manager for the Kansas City Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Yankees and Baltimore Orioles. He had a career 717-609 win-loss record, managing short-season rookie leagues. His greatest teams were the Oneonta Yankees of the New York-Pennsylvania League from 1977-81. Those teams averaged a 47-22 record and featured up-and-comers like Willie McGee, Brian Dayett, Don Mattingly and Bob Tewksbury.
Mazmanian was also an assistant coach in the 1984 U.S. Olympic baseball team that won a silver medal and scouted for the Athletics and Cleveland Indians. He retired in 2016 at the age of 88 after working as an assistant coach for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College.