Hot Stove ignites old and new flames in Syracuse
The guest list for the 48th Annual Hot Stove and Dinner will be filled with stars on and off the field from the Syracuse Chiefs and the Washington Nationals. However, it has just been recently announced that Randy St. Claire, former Chiefs pitcher and current Nationals Pitching Coach as well as Collin Balester, Nationals’ top right-handed pitching prospect will also be in attendance this Friday Jan 16 for the annual event.
Randy St. Claire was a Chiefs pitcher for the 1993 and 1994 seasons. In 1994 he was named to the International League’s All-Star Team. He was also a big part of the Chiefs team that went to the Governor’s Cup finals in 1994. St. Claire also set a team record with 33 regular season saves, 13 of which earned in the month of August, another club record in itself.
St. Claire arrived in professional baseball when he was signed as a free agent by the Montreal Expos in September of 1978 and made his major league debut for the team in 1984. St. Claire spent ten years in the big leagues as a player then reverted to coaching in 1996. After seven years of coaching in the minor leagues, he made his big league pitching coach debut in 2003 replacing then Expos (Nationals) pitching coach Dick Pole.
To his credit, St. Claire coached some of the finest talent in the major leagues including Luis Ayala, Chad Cordero, and Shawn Hill. He is also given credit to the entire back end of the 2005 Nationals bullpen that participated in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Randy St. Claire is the NL East’s longest tenured pitching coach.
Collin Balester, 22, was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California. Throughout his young life, with his father’s influence, he has heavily participated in baseball. He even attributes his arm strength to surfing. That work finally began to pay off as he was drafted by the Montreal Expos and then made his professional debut for the Expos’ Gulf Coast League affiliate in 2004 at the age of 18. He pitched in 5 games and collected a .215 opponent batting average, 7.7 strikeouts per 9 innings, and no home runs allowed in over 24 innings.
In his first complete season, Balester posted an 8-6 record with an impressive 3.67 ERA with the Savannah Sand Gnats. He went on to post exemplary stats during his time in the minors, and Balester got the call to ”The Show” and made his major league debut on July 1, 2008, where he pitched 5 strong innings against the Florida Marlins and came away with his first big league win.
Balester pitched in 15 games last season for the Nationals and in 2009 will enter his first full season in Major League Baseball.
For more information about the Syracuse Chiefs Hot Stove Dinner and Auction visit us on the web at www.syracusechiefs.com
Find out more about Collin Balester with Bally’s Blog at www.collinbalester.mlblogs.com