30 in 30: A Chiefs Countdown to Opening Day – Day 16
We’re counting down until Opening Day with a new post on our Inside the Chiefs blog every day until Syracuse’s opener on April 3rd. Here’s what’s on tap today…
If you haven’t been thinking about baseball in the last few days – well, I suppose I couldn’t blame you. March Madness has engulfed the sports-loving nation with the NCAA Tournament starting tomorrow, and I, for one, am fully in on the madness.*
*Yes, I know the Tournament technically started yesterday with the play-in games. But the Tournament starts tomorrow. End of discussion.
So naturally, visions of brackets and regions and seeding are spinning through my head, and I figure it’s only appropriate to give them a Chiefs spin. The question of the day: who would be the #1 seeds in a March-Madness style bracket of Chiefs players and managers? Some potential picks…
The case for: Hit 50 home runs and drove in 141 runs in 1947. Ranks third all-time in Syracuse home runs and RBIs. Hit three home runs in one game on June 24, 1947. Has a room named after him. Has jersey number retired.
The case against: …nope, this one’s pretty airtight.
The case for: All-time Syracuse leader in…take a deep breath now…games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs. Played nine seasons with the Chiefs. International League Hall of Famer. Anything else?
The case against: Only played six games in the major leagues in his career. Went by the name “Dutch”.
The case for: See what I said about Sauer? Mottola’s one spot ahead of him in both home runs and RBIs. He’s also second all-time in doubles. Mottola won the 2000 I.L. M.V.P. – the last Chiefs player to do so – before returning to Syracuse from 2005 through 2007.
The case against: Similar to Mele – played in just 59 major-league games. (I say “just” as if just making it to the major leagues isn’t a mind-blowing, outrageous, amazing accomplishment, but we’re nit-picking at one seeds here.) “Only” one season of five with Syracuse of an OPS over .791.
The case for: Managed the Chiefs for four consecutive winning seasons from 1973 to 1976 – the last time Syracuse has picked up four winning seasons in a row. Managed the Chiefs to three consecutive Governor’s Cup finals, including the team’s last championship in 1976. Also played one year for the Chiefs in 1970…
The case against: …where he hit just .219. Also, baseball games are ultimately decided by the players on the field, not the managers, right?
The case for: In six games started in 2010: 4-1, 1.08 ERA, 33.1 IP, 18 H, 7 BB, 38 K. Began his only Syracuse rehab start in 2011 with five perfect innings. The highest, second-highest and fourth-highest-attended games in the entire history of Syracuse baseball were Strasburg starts. That’s absurd.
The case against: Played in a grand total of seven games for the Chiefs. That’s only seven more than I have.
The case for: In 181 games with Syracuse, Delgado hit .323 and smashed 43 home runs while walking 89 times. He’s a Syracuse Baseball Wall of Famer who also turned into a borderline Hall of Famer with the Chiefs’ then-big club, Toronto, mashing 473 home runs in an amazing major-league career.
The case against: 181 games is a much smaller sample size than most of the other Syracuse Wall of Famers. Did the vast majority of his work outside of Syracuse.
The case for: He’s a former Chiefs player, long-time and still current broadcaster and Syracuse native whose bar (Change of Pace) makes the single greatest wings in the history of the world. And he’s a hell of a dad.
The case against: You think I’m gonna make a case against my occasional broadcast partner and all-around great guy? No, sir.
I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of Chiefs history, of course, with many deserving names left out of this post. But that’s where you come in. Who would you promote as a Chiefs #1 seed? Leave your responses in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter, and I’ll post some tomorrow if we get some good feedback.
(And my choices, for the record? Sauer, Mele, Cox and just for that extraordinary run, Strasburg. Call me crazy.)
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