John Marzano, a former Temple baseball player who played 10 years in the Major Leagues, died on Saturday, April 19 after falling down a flight of stairs in his South Philadelphia home. He was 45.
As of late Saturday night, the exact cause of Marzano’s death was not immediately clear, the Associated Press reported.
Marzano, a catcher who played for the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners, worked as a broadcaster for Comcast SportsNet, 610 WIP-AM and MLB.com after his playing days ended in 1998.
The Central High graduate played for the Owls from 1982 to 1984 and holds the highest career batting average (.413) in program history and ranks second all-time in slugging percentage and RBIs. He won a gold medal as a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic baseball team and was a part of former Owls coach Skip Wilson’s back-to-back Atlantic Ten Conference Championship squads in 1983 and 1984.
Wilson said he talked to his former player over the phone last Thursday, and Marzano offered to buy him and his wife tickets to a Phillies game.
“He was just a beautiful boy,” said Wilson, who coached the Owls from 1960 to 2005. “He and I were very close. I’ll miss him dearly.”
The 1998 Temple Athletics Hall of Fame inductee was “well liked by all of his teammates and very dedicated to playing the game of baseball,” Wilson said.
“He was a very, very cocky south Philadelphia ball player,” former Temple pitcher Bill Mendek, a teammate of Marzano’s, said. “But the difference between him and the other cocky Philadelphia players was that he could back it up. He carried himself differently but, before long, you realized he was the real deal.”
When Wilson retired two years ago, he said Marzano was interviewed to be his potential replacement, but he wasn’t interested in the position.
“He would’ve been a great coach,” he said. “He was excellent with kids. He knew the game. We used to talk about the four aspects of the game — know the game, know how to teach the game, know your personnel and know how to utilize you’re personnel. He had all those qualities. He was a great teacher. It was just a matter of time before he became a coach.”
A moment of silence was observed in Marzano’s honor prior to Sunday’s baseball game against visiting Duquesne at Ambler’s Skip Wilson Field.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of John Marzano,” Temple Director of Athletics Bill Bradshaw said in a statement. “He was a terrific friend of Temple baseball and a dedicated player, broadcaster, father and husband. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time.”
Marzano is survived by his wife Terri, daughters Dominique and Danielle, and two grandchildren.
Tyson McCloud can be reached at email@example.com.