After They Were Chiefs: Stu Pederson
On August 18, the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame’s Class of 2012 will be inducted prior to the Chiefs’ game against the Indianapolis Indians. Here on Inside the Chiefs, we’re catching up with the soon-to-be Syracuse Wall of Famers.
First up, one of the most popular players in Chiefs history: Stu Pederson. The right fielder (who played for the L.A. Dodgers for part of the 1985 season) was a member of the Chiefs from 1988-92, suiting up for 473 games. Among the highlights of Pederson’s Syracuse career was a walk-off grand slam to win the final game of the ’91 campaign and being a member of the ’89 International League pennant-winning club. Pederson’s popularity with Chiefs’ fans was so high that the team hosted a “Stu Pederson Night” during the ’91 season.
Stu sat down with our intern, John Nolan, a short while ago for this question and answer session:
What comes to mind when you think of your time as a member of the Chiefs organization?
John and Tex. They were just great people. When I got there, they welcomed me in. We formed an instant relationship. They were great people — really nice to myself and my family. When I think of Syracuse, the first thing I think of is Tex and Johnny and their whole family. They’re like one big family.
What are some of your best memories from your playing days in Syracuse?
I got my 1,000th hit there. But you know, just being at the old MacArthur Stadium, where so many all-stars had played before, that was memorable.
Why do you think you became such a fan favorite?
I don’t know the exact reason, but I would imagine with Syracuse being a blue-collar type town, it’s because I was a hard-nosed player. I wasn’t the fastest guy, or the guy with the most power, or anything like that. I played my hardest every time out. That’s how I was taught to play and I displayed it.
Part of your popularity probably had something to do with the way fans simply embraced yelling your name. Heck, your name was even printed on t-shirts and megaphones. Was MacArthur Stadium’s famous chant of your first name something you experienced throughout your career?
That was kind of unique to Syracuse. People used to call my name, “Stuuuuu!”
When I played in San Antonio, the P.A. announcer there did it. But in Syracuse, it kind of took on a life of its own. I still have the t-shirt that says “Stuuuu!” on it.
You played in Syracuse from 1988-92. After a year or two, players often decide to move on to another club. What kept you with the Chiefs for five seasons?
I felt comfortable there. John and Tex make you feel comfortable. Rather than bounce around from different teams and different organizations every year, I enjoyed Syracuse and I still loved playing baseball. To me, baseball is baseball. Would I have liked to have made it back to the big leagues? Sure. But I thought Syracuse was as good as any minor league city I was gonna play in, so that’s why I stayed.
What does it mean to you to be a member of the 2012 Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame induction class?
It’s an honor. It’s a great honor with so many great players having gone through Syracuse and playing there. Obviously it’s not based on what I did in the major leagues, but based on what I did in Syracuse. It shows the appreciation the people of Syracuse have for me as a ballplayer.
So with your playing days over, what is Stu Pederson up to now?
Living in the San Francisco area. Married still to my wife, Shelly. We’ve been married for almost 28 years. We have four kids – three boys (Champ, 24, Tyger, 22, and Joc, 20) and a daughter (Jacey, 14).
I have my own business — a ticket business. We sell tickets for sporting events, concerts, and theater events.
Still love baseball. I coach high school baseball and a travel team during the summer time. I really enjoy it, trying to help some of these younger kids reach their dream.
And finally, what do you hope your legacy is with Syracuse baseball fans?
Played hard. Gave it everything he had. Played the game the right way, played hard.