The New Britain Bees didnâ€™t have to look far in choosing their new manager.
Mauro â€śGooseâ€ť Gozzo, who was born in New Britain native and graduated from Berlin High School, was announced Tuesday as the third manager in team history. Gozzo replaces Wally Backman, who left for the same position with the Long Island Ducks. Gozzo was the Bees pitching coach last season.
â€śItâ€™s a great honor to be named manager of the Bees and be able to coach in an area where I grew up and began my baseball career,â€ť Gozzo said in a release. â€śAfter being a part of the Bees coaching staff last season, Iâ€™ve seen the wide array of talent that the Atlantic League has. Iâ€™m excited to manage these exceptional players and help them reach their goal of getting back to the affiliated ranks, while also putting a winning team on the field here in New Britain.â€ť
Gozzoâ€™s pitching staff had the third best team ERA in the Atlantic League last season.
â€śMauro is an outstanding teacher and homegrown talent,â€ť Bees general manager Brad Smith said in a release. â€śTo be able to bring on someone with his skills and connection to the local community is a win for everyone. Mauro excelled in the pitching coach role for us this past year and we look forward to a successful 2019 season with him at the helm.â€ť
Gozzo was drafted as a player by the New York Mets out of high school in the 13th round of the 1984 MLB draft. He would play three years in the Mets organization before being traded to the Kansas City Royals, as part of a deal for David Cone. He would make his Major League debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1989. Gozzo ended up playing six years in the majors, with the Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins and Mets.
He ended up pitching in 48 games and compiled 124 innings in the majors, going 7-7 over 13 starts.
As far as coaching, Gozzo has been a private instructor, teaching the likes of big leaguers Matt Cain and Drew Pomeranz, and also coached a nationally-ranked elite competitive travel team in the Connecticut area for nine years, according to the Bees.