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Founded in 1934
Syracuse, New York
|Current||Triple-A (1946–1955, 1961–Present)|
|Previous||Double-A (1934–1945); Single-A (1956–1957)|
|Minor league affiliations|
|Previous leagues||Eastern League (1956–1957)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Washington Nationals (2009–Present)|
|Previous||Toronto Blue Jays (1978–2008);
New York Yankees (1967–1977);
Detroit Tigers (1956–1957, 1963–1966);
New York Mets/
Washington Senators (1962);
Minnesota Twins (1961); Philadelphia Phillies (1954–1955);
Cincinnati Reds (1937–1938, 1942–1950);
Pittsburgh Pirates (1940);
Boston Red Sox (1934-1936)
|Minor league titles|
|League titles||1935, 1942, 1943, 1947, 1954, 1969, 1970, 1976|
|Nickname||Syracuse Chiefs (1934–1957, 1961–1996, 2007–Present)|
|Previous names||Syracuse SkyChiefs (1997–2006)|
|Ballpark||NBT Bank Stadium (2013–Present); formerly Alliance Bank Stadium (2005-2013); P&C Stadium (1997 - 2005)|
|Previous parks||MacArthur Stadium (1934–1957, 1961–1996)|
|Community Baseball Club of Central New York, Inc.;
William Dutch, President
|General manager||Jason Smorol|
The Syracuse Chiefs are a 'community-owned' minor league baseball team based in Syracuse, New York, United States. The team plays in the International League and is the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Their home stadium is NBT Bank Stadium (formerly known as Alliance Bank Stadium, before that P&C Stadium), located north of downtown Syracuse.
- 1 History
- 2 Corporate structure
- 3 Attendance
- 4 Titles and pennants
- 5 Year-by-year record
- 6 Current roster
- 7 Alumni
- 8 Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame
- 9 Retired numbers
- 10 Television and radio
- 11 In popular culture
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Syracuse has been represented in professional baseball for all but four years since 1877, when the Syracuse Stars competed in the League Alliance, an early minor league. Syracuse fielded two major league versions of the Stars: in the 1879 National League and the 1890 American Association. Apart from those seasons, however, the Stars were members of high minor leagues such as the Eastern League (forerunner to the International) and the New York State League through 1917. From 1918–27, the Stars competed in the International League and were an early farm team of the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1928 the IL franchise moved to Montreal and became the Montreal Royals. The Stars moved down one classification to the New York–Penn League for 1½ seasons before moving to Utica, New York.
The first Syracuse Chiefs baseball team was established in 1934, when the International League's Jersey City Skeeters moved to Syracuse and were (re)named the Chiefs. The team played in the IL through 1955 (winning five championships), but was sold and moved to Miami as the Marlins for the 1956 campaign.
Syracuse was without baseball until the 1961 season, when the Montreal Royals franchise was abandoned by its owners (the Los Angeles Dodgers) and returned to Syracuse, becoming the Syracuse Chiefs.
The Chiefs have played in Syracuse without interruption since their rebirth in 1961. The team was renamed the SkyChiefs in 1997. The name reverted to the original "Chiefs" in December 2006.
From 1978 to 2008, the Chiefs were the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Toronto–Syracuse affiliation is the longest of the eleven major league affiliations the Chiefs have had since 1936.
The Chiefs played at MacArthur Stadium from 1934 to 1996, moving to then-P&C Stadium in 1997.
On September 20, 2008, the Chiefs signed a two-year affiliation agreement with the Washington Nationals, ending their relationship with the Blue Jays.
In 2008, the Chiefs wore a decal on their uniforms with the letters "HB" to commemorate Harold Berman (former member of the Chiefs' board of directors), who died after the 2007 season. In 2009, the Chiefs wore a decal on their uniforms with the letters "HM" to commemorate Hy Miller (former state assemblyman and former director on the Chiefs' board), who died after the 2008 season.
In 2010 the Chiefs celebrated their 50th season of community-owned baseball (1961–2010), wearing 1961 jerseys during every Thursday home game. They also brought back radio announcers from the past, such as Syracuse University alumnus Sean McDonough and Dan Hoard. The Chiefs went 76–67, with top pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg going 2–1 in five appearances.
In 2011 the Chiefs played in their 51st season of community ownership, wearing throwback jerseys at every Thursday home game in celebration of the 35th anniversary of their last International League Governors' Cup championship team (managed by Syracuse Wall of Fame member, former manager Bobby Cox). The Chiefs added four alternate jerseys to their rotation for the season: one for Latin American Day, a second for Jackie Robinson Day (commemorating Negro League uniforms), a third for national holidays such as Independence Day and Memorial Day, and a fourth for Breast Cancer Awareness Night. The Chiefs played the Pawtucket Red Sox on August 20 at Fenway Park as part of a doubleheader in conjunction with the sixth annual Futures at Fenway event, featuring games involving Boston Red Sox minor-league teams. The Chiefs, behind starter Brad Meyers, defeated the PawSox 3–1 before more than 29,000 fans. At Alliance Bank Stadium (now NBT Bank Stadium) the Chiefs added a "Home Plate Club" to the stadium: premium seating in the first four rows behind home plate, with waitstaff for merchandise and concessions.
On May 14, Chiefs DH Michael Aubrey went 4 for 4 (all hits home runs) in an 11–0 victory over the Durham Bulls, becoming only the second player in team history to hit four home runs in a game (Gene Locklear hit four home runs in one game on July 14, 1977). On August 27, Stephen Strasburg pitched his only rehab game for the Chiefs against the Rochester Red Wings. He gave up two hits in the sixth inning (his only hits allowed before departing with the Chiefs leading 1–0), although he received no decision in Syracuse's 4–3 win which won the Thruway Cup for the third time (their other wins were in 1999 and 2010). The club's record for the season was 66–74, 14 games out of first place and fourth in the six-team North Division.
In 2012, the Chiefs opened at home against the Rochester Red Wings on April 5. Top pick and prospect Bryce Harper (since promoted to the Nationals) made the opening day roster. Randy Knorr did not return for a second season as manager, as Tony Beasley was promoted from the Harrisburg Senators. The Chiefs played all 16 games against the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees at Alliance Bank Stadium in 2012 during stadium renovation in Moosic, Pennsylvania. On May 7 the Chiefs unveiled a new high-definition video board in left field, replacing the board which stood from the stadium's opening in 1997 to 2012.
The 2013 season is managed by Tony Beasley in his second season with the team and began on April 4, 2013 in Allentown PA, vs. the Lehigh Valley IronPigs; the Chiefs' home opener was April 12, also vs. the IronPigs. On "Throwback Thursdays," the Chiefs wore jerseys from the 1983-1996 era.
Community Baseball Club, Inc.
The Chiefs are owned by Community Baseball Club of Central New York, Inc., "a community-owned club, controlled by a [22-person] board of directors," acting on behalf of approximately 4,300 shareholders, who together hold about 16,000 shares.
According to Dick Ryan, a "former club chairman of the board and treasurer," a majority of the shares "are owned by people who own one or two shares." Shares in the club were first sold in 1961, at a price of $10 each; as of 2011, shares had a resale value of approximately $126, but are not publicly traded. A provision in the Chief's certificate of corporation states that "no one may vote more than 500 shares." This provision is intended to make it difficult for the club to be sold and moved to another location, as happened earlier in its history.
Current officers of the Syracuse Chiefs/ Community Baseball Club of Central New York, Inc., include:
- Charles Rich, Chairman of the Board
- William Dutch, President
- Jason Smorol, General Manager
The Chiefs have been operating at a loss since 2006, except for the 2010 season when they ended the season $100,000 in the black. Through the last day of the 2013 season, the team's operating losses for 2013 totaled $505,146, on operating expenses of $2.6 million.
Top season attendance
- 1999: 446,025#
- 2001: 423,405#
- 1998: 420,488#
- 2010: 416,382#
- 2002: 413,566#
- 2000: 402,450#
- 1997: 400,804#
- 2009: 392,518#
- 2008: 392,028#
- 2005: 382,896#
- 2007: 380,152#
- 1994: 368,971*
- 2004: 364,648#
- 2003: 356,303#
- 2006: 347,699#
- 2013: 345,047#
- 1991: 307,922
- 1995: 300,589
- 1996: 300,405
- 1992: 276,786
- 1993: 265,486
- 1970: 257,650*
- 1990: 250,048
- 1989: 233,161*
- 1985: 232,073*
- 1971: 216,115*
- 1987: 211,315
- 1964: 208,956*
- 1975: 201,725*
- 1977: 200,302
- 1981: 198,101
- 1979: 196,228*
- 1976: 196,121*
- 1980: 189,250
- 1986: 187,758
- 1988: 184,967
- 1973: 184,461
- 1982: 184,297
- 1974: 182,082*
- 1963: 180,971*
- 1972: 179,048
- 1983: 163,859
- 1978: 160,427
- 1967: 152,781
- 1969: 152,201*
- 1965: 152,072*
- 1968: 150,295
- 1984: 142,571
- 1961: 126,016
- 1966: 106,669
- 1962: 103,191
* Includes playoffs
# NBT Bank Stadium
Top 40 attendance dates since 1961
- May 7, 2010 (14,098)
- May 24, 2010 (13,288)
- July 17, 1993 (13,124)
- May 29, 2010 (13,115)
- July 17, 1967 (13,082)
- July 25, 1967 (13,063)
- August 17, 1995 (12,711)
- July 30, 2010 (12,674)
- June 28, 1995 (12,659)
- July 14, 2001 (12,455)
- June 28, 2001 (12,368)
- August 17, 1999 (12,344)
- August 22, 1972 (12,322)
- August 16, 1961 (12,321)
- August 14, 2009 (12,288)
- July 11, 1998 (12,255)
- July 23, 1994 (12,224)
- August 1, 2008 (12,208)
- July 13, 2001 (12,121)
- April 3, 1997 (12,112)
- May 29, 1994 (12,112)
- July 18, 1994 (11,899)
- July 11, 1994 (11,679)
- August 20, 1994 (11,485)
- August 9, 1963 (11,476)
- August 30, 1994 (11,469)
- July 10, 1995 (11,455)
- May 9, 1970 (11,398)
- June 25, 2002 (11,356)
- June 29, 2000 (11,295)
- August 18, 1999 (11,228)
- June 22, 1999 (11,219)
- July 13, 1970 (11,144)
- June 27, 1977 (11,100)
- May 5, 2006 (11,012)
- July 16, 1981 (10,835)
- May 15, 1999 (10,767)
- June 22, 1971 (10,677)
- July 7, 1980 (10,657)
- July 12, 1997 (10,656)
Titles and pennants
The Chiefs have won the Governors' Cup (the IL championship) eight times, and have played in the championship series 17 times.
- 1935 - Defeated Montreal 4–2
- 1942 - Defeated Jersey City 4–2
- 1943 - Defeated Toronto 4–1
- 1946 - Lost to Montreal 3–4
- 1947 - Defeated Buffalo 4–1
- 1948 - Lost to Montreal 0–4
- 1951 - Lost to Montreal 3–4
- 1954 - Defeated Montreal 4–2
- 1964 - Lost to Rochester 1–4
- 1969 - Defeated Columbus 4–1
- 1970 - Defeated Columbus 4–1
- 1974 - Lost to Rochester 3–4
- 1975 - Lost to Tidewater 3–4
- 1976 - Defeated Richmond 4–1
- 1979 - Lost to Columbus 1–3
- 1994 - Lost to Richmond 0–3 (All games on ESPN, due to the MLB strike)
The Chiefs have won the International League pennant—finishing the regular season with the best record in the league—eight times.
Junior World Series
|Year||W-L||Win pct.||Standing||Manager||Mgr. or owner||Attendance||Playoff wins|
|2013||66–78||.458||11||Tony Beasley||John Simone||345,047|
|2012||70–74||.486||14||Tony Beasley||John Simone||349,027|
|2011||66–74||.471||10||Randy Knorr||John Simone||374,680|
|2010||76–67||.531||5||Trent Jewett||John Simone||416,382|
|2009||76–68||.528||5||Tim Foli||John Simone||392,518|
|2008||69–73||.485||7||Doug Davis||John Simone||392,028|
|2007||64–80||.448||11||Doug Davis||John Simone||380,152|
|2006||64–79||.448||12||Mike Basso||John Simone||347,699|
|2005||71–73||.493||8||Marty Pevey||John Simone||382,896|
|2004||66–78||.458||11||Marty Pevey||John Simone||364,648|
|2003||62–79||.440||14||Omar Malavé||John Simone||356,303|
|2002||64–80||.444||10||Omar Malavé||John Simone||413,566|
|2001||71–73||.493||6||Omar Malavé||John Simone||423,405|
|2000||74–66||.529||7||Pat Kelly/Mel Queen/Malave||John Simone||402,450|
|1999||73–71||.507||8||Pat Kelly||John Simone||446,025|
|1998||80–62||.577||2||Terry Bevington||John Simone||420,488|
|1997||55–87||.387||9||Garth Iorg||John Simone||400,804|
|1996||67–75||.472||7||Richie Hebner||Tex Simone||300,405|
|1995||59–82||.418||10||Bob Didier/Héctor Torres/Hebner||Tex Simone||300,589|
|1994||71–71||.500||5||Bob Didier||Tex Simone||368,573||4|
|1993||59–82||.418||10||Nick Leyva/Didier||Tex Simone||265,486|
|1992||60–83||.420||7||Nick Leyva||Tex Simone||276,786|
|1991||73–71||.507||6||Bob Bailor||Tex Simone||307,922|
|1990||62–83||.428||6||Bob Bailor||Tex Simone||250,048|
|1989||83–62||.572||1||Bob Bailor||Tex Simone||233,161||2|
|1988||70–71||.496||3||Bob Bailor||Tex Simone||184,967|
|1987||68–72||.486||6||Doug Ault||Tex Simone||211,315|
|1986||72–67||.518||5||Doug Ault||Tex Simone||187,758|
|1985||79–61||.564||1||Doug Ault||Tex Simone||232,073||2|
|1984||58–81||.417||7||Jim Beauchamp||Tex Simone||142,571|
|1983||61–78||.439||7||Jim Beauchamp||Tex Simone||163,859|
|1982||64–76||.457||6||Jim Beauchamp||Tex Simone||184,596|
|1981||60–80||.429||7||Bob Humphreys||Tex Simone||198,101|
|1980||58–81||.417||8||Harry Warner||Tex Simone||189,250|
|1979||77–63||.550||2||Vern Benson||Tex Simone||196,228||6|
|1978||50–90||.357||8||Vern Benson||Tex Simone||160,427|
|1977||70–70||.500||5||Pete Ward||Tex Simone||200,302|
|1976||82–57||.590||2||Bobby Cox||Tex Simone||196,121||5|
|1975||76–70||.521||4||Bobby Cox||Tex Simone||201,725||4|
|1974||72–64||.529||3||Bobby Cox||Tex Simone||182,082||5|
|1973||74–70||.514||4||Bobby Cox||Tex Simone||184,461|
|1972||64–80||.444||8||Frank Verdi||Tex Simone||179,048|
|1971||74–70||.514||3||Loren Babe||Tex Simone||216,115||2|
|1970||84–56||.600||1||Frank Verdi||Tex Simone||257,650||9|
|1969||75–65||.536||3||Frank Verdi||Don Labbruzzo||152,201||6|
|1967||63–77||.450||8||Gary Blaylock||Don Labbruzzo||152,781|
|1966||54–93||.367||8||Frank Carswell||Don Labbruzzo||106,669|
|1965||74–73||.503||4||Frank Carswell||Don Labbruzzo||152,072||3|
|1964||88–66||.571||2||Frank Carswell||Don Labbruzzo||208,956||7|
|1962||53–99||.344||8||Johnny Vander Meer/Verdi||Don Labbruzzo||103,191|
|1961||56–98||.364||8||Gene Verble/Verdi||Don Labbruzzo||126,016|
|1957||56–84||.400||5||Frank Calo||Joe Reardon||30,737|
|1956||62–74||.446||5||Glenn McQuillen/Joe Torpey/Calo||Joe Reardon||53,431|
|1955||74–79||.484||5||Skeeter Newsome||Marty Haske||85,191|
|1954||79–76||.510||4||Skeeter Newsome||Marty Haske||121,652||9|
|1953||58–95||.379||7||Bruno Betzel||Bill Hoffman, Jr.||83,992|
|1952||88–66||.571||2||Bruno Betzel||Bill Hoffman, Jr.||141,741||2|
|1951||82–71||.536||3||Bruno Betzel||Bill Hoffman, Jr.||150,219||6|
|1950||74–79||.484||6||Bruno Betzel||Bill Hoffman||106,939|
|1949||74–79||.484||6||Jewel Ens||Bill Hoffman||190,255|
|1948||77–63||.550||3||Jewel Ens||Bill Hoffman||202,259||6|
|1947||88–65||.575||3||Jewel Ens||Bill Hoffman||288,141||9|
|1946||81–72||.549||2||Jewel Ens||Bill Hoffman||237,235||6|
|1945||64–89||.418||7||Jewel Ens||Bill Hoffman||87,858|
|1944||68–84||.447||8||Jewel Ens||C. Schindler||90,619|
|1943||82–71||.536||3||Jewel Ens||C. Schindler||129,494||9|
|1942||78–74||.513||3||Jewel Ens||C. Schindler||164,466||9|
|1941||70–83||.458||6||Bennie Borgmann||C. Schindler||109,002|
|1940||71–90||.441||7||Dick Porter||C. Schindler||118,244|
|1939||81–74||.523||5||Dick Porter||John Corbett||178,671|
|1937||76–75||.503||3||Mike Kelly||John Corbett||215,745||2|
|1935||87–67||.565||2||Nemo Leibold||John Corbett||206,179||5|
|1934||60–94||.390||7||Andy High /Bill Sweeney||John Corbett||91,390|
Syracuse Chiefs roster
- AJ Burnett, One time Highest Paid Pitcher in Baseball
- Chris Carpenter, 3-time All-Star pitcher, World Series Champion in 2011
- Bobby Cox, Manager with Toronto Blue Jays and most notably Atlanta Braves
- Carlos Delgado, 2-time All-Star first baseman. 4 HR game with Toronto vs Tampa Bay Rays
- Tony Fernandez, All time Blue Jays Hit leader, 5-Time All Star Infielder, 4-Time Gold Glove Winner
- Shawn Green, 2-time All-Star outfielder
- Ron Guidry, 4-time All-Star pitcher
- Roy Halladay, 7-time All-Star pitcher
- Bryce Harper, 2011 #1 MLB overall pick.
- Aaron Hill
- Casey Janssen
- Zach Jackson
- Jimmy Key, World Series Champion
- Adam Lind
- Gene Locklear Hit 4 Hr in one game, Played for New York Yankees
- Fred McGriff
- Denny McLain Won 31 games for the Detroit Tigers in 1968
- Thurman Munson, 7-time All-Star catcher
- Goody Rosen, All-Star outfielder
- Deion Sanders, NFL Hall of famer, Super Bowl Champion
- Hank Sauer, All Time Chiefs Single Season Home Run Leader
- Travis Snider
- Luis Sojo
- Ed Sprague, Jr.
- Stephen Strasburg, Highest Paid Contract For Drafted Player
- Johnny Reder
- Alex Ríos
- David Wells, Owner of a perfect game with the New York Yankees
- Vernon Wells
- Jayson Werth, World Series Champion
- Dan Hoard (1985-95), former Cincinnati Reds fill in broadcaster, now voice of the Cincinnati Bengals
- Ken Levine (1988), Baltimore Orioles, 1991, Seattle Mariners, 1992-94, 2011-12, San Diego Padres, 1995-1997, Los Angeles Dodgers, 2008-2010, writer for 'M*A*S*H, Cheers (for which he shared Outstanding Comedy Series honors at the 35th Primetime Emmy Awards), Frasier, The Simpsons, Wings, Everybody Loves Raymond, Becker and Dharma and Greg. Along with his writing partner David Isaacs, he created the series Almost Perfect., movie Volunteers and Mannequin Two: On the Move.
Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame
The Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame was established in 1998 in conjunction with the 140th anniversary of the first organized baseball team in Syracuse. The categories for induction are:
- First 75 years of professional baseball (1858–1933)
- Former Chiefs/SkyChiefs player (1934–present)
- Professional baseball player or person affiliated with professional baseball
- Contributor to the game of baseball.
Through the 2013 season, the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame Committee included Ron Gersbacher, John Simone, Tex Simone, Bob Snyder, and Tom Leo.
2013 Tomy de la Cruz, Bob Dustal, Don Gordon, Chick Hafey, Mal Mallette, Robert Perez
|#42||Jackie Robinson||Retired throughout Baseball|
Television and radio
During the 2013 season, all Chiefs games were heard nationally and in central New York on SyracuseChiefs.com and on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network application on Android and iTune markets for smartphones. All games were broadcast by Jason Benetti and Kevin Brown. In addition, all Chiefs home games and road games were broadcast on MiLB.TV, an internet video subscription service. Select games were broadcast live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet (TWCS) a central New York regional sports channel provided on Time Warner Cable services throughout the Central and Northern New York area. The games on TWCS were called by Benetti and Steve Grilli, Syracuse Wall of Fame member and former Major Leaguer. All games against thruway rivals Rochester or Buffalo were broadcast on TWCS and fed between the cities, with the host city providing the presentation and announcers.
In popular culture
Writer Ken Levine based the Springfield Isotopes minor league team in The Simpsons episode Dancin' Homer on experiences as an announcer for the Syracuse Chiefs. The episode includes references to former announcer Dan Hoard and owner Anthony "Tex" Simone (named Antoine "Tex" O'Hara in the episode).
- MiLB. (2011, November 21). "William Dutch named new Chiefs President." Accessed: September 6, 2013.
- O'Brien, John. (2013, October 8). "Syracuse Chiefs, in deep financial hole, hire new general manager," Syracuse.com. Accessed: October 8, 2013.
- Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, eds., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3d edition. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 2007
- "'Chiefs' Nickname Returns Full Steam Ahead". Syracuse Chiefs. December 11, 2006. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- Leo, Tom. (2011, August 25). "Chiefs: Team Not for Sale," The Post Standard. Accessed: September 6, 2013.
- "Staff Directory," SyracuseChiefs.com. Accessed: September 11, 2013.
- Rubin, David M. (2013, April 10). "Syracuse Chiefs call for help, but is it too late?," The Post Standard. Accessed: September 6, 2013.
- O'Brien, John, and Lindsay Kramer. (2013, September 26). "Syracuse Chiefs lost half-million dollars in 2013," Syracuse.com. Accessed: September 27, 2013.
- O'Brien, John. (2013, October 1). "Syracuse Chiefs' ledger shows club going from profit to loss over past eight years," Syracuse.com. Accessed: October 2, 2013.
- Kramer, Lindsay. (2013, September 3). "Chiefs fans show disappointment," The Post-Standard, p.C-4.
- Schenectady Gazette. (1934, June 29). "Chiefs Depose High as Pilot." Accessed: September 5, 2013.
- IMDb listing for "Almost Perfect (TV Series)"
- IMDb listing for "Volunteers" (1985)
- IMDb full crew for "Mannequin: On The Move"
- "Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame," MiLB.com. Accessed: September 3, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Syracuse Chiefs.|
- Official website
- Gersbacher, Ron. (2012). "History of Syracuse Baseball, 1858 to Present"
- Photographs of Alliance Bank Stadium, home of the Syracuse Chiefs - Rochester Area Ballparks
|Syracuse Chiefs||Harrisburg Senators