Just two years after playing for the team, Russ Canzler is the new business development executive for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Class AAA; International League).
While there are other instances of former major league players working in a minor league front office—one current example that comes to mind is Ken Schrom, president of the Corpus Christi Hooks (Class AA; Texas League)—the transition is still relatively uncommon. Part of what makes Canzler a natural fit for the RailRiders is that he is a native of Northeastern Pennsylvania, as he hails from nearby Hazelton.
Canzler, 30, appeared in 51 games with SWB in 2014. Originally chosen by the Chicago Cubs in the 30th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of Hazleton High School, he made his Major League debut at 25-years-old with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011. He appeared in 26 games with the Cleveland Indians in 2012. He finished with three home runs and 12 RBI to with a .271 batting average in 29 career Big League games. With seven different organizations over 12 Minor League seasons, Canzler tallied 141 home runs, 651 RBI and carried a combined .275 batting average.
“I’m tremendously excited and grateful to announce I’ll be joining the Railriders front office,” Canzler said. “I love the game of baseball, I love our area, and I love this organization. I look forward to promoting the fun, entertaining culture that I first experienced here as a child. That same culture helped nurture my dreams of becoming a Major League Baseball player. Although my role in the game as changed, I will continue to bring the same passion and energy to the field that I did as a player.”
“Not only is Russ still very passionate about being in the game, we believe his traits as a player and person make him a no brainer to add to the organization” said RailRiders’ Chief Operating Officer Josh Olerud. “We believe he will be highly successful in the roles in which he is put in and there is no ceiling for his growth here. The sky is the limit.”
“The first NEPA-born player to wear our uniform, Russ will be a great addition to our staff,” said Jeremy Ruby, RailRiders general manager. “We’ve long viewed the Hazleton area as one of our greatest untapped resources and hope that with Russ as our ambassador, our family of fans and corporate partners can grow all the more.”