Jan 21, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Journeyman catcher Randy Knorr was pumped when he learned that he’d been nicknamed “Crash” by his teammates on the 1996 Houston Astros. Of course, he figured he was being favorably compared to “Bull Durham” catcher, Crash Davis, played by Kevin Costner.
Come to find out that the Astros nicknamers – jokesters Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio – actually tagged him “Crash” because they thought he resembled a Crash Test Dummy.
But good looks matter little in baseball, especially for those guys who wear a face mask behind the plate, which Knorr did for 15 professional seasons.
Knorr played in 182 games for the Syracuse Chiefs from1991 to1996, and he returns to the Salt City this year as the team’s new manager, replacing Trent Jewett.
The 42-year-old former backstop will be among the baseball celebrities at the head table as the Chiefs host the ballclub’s 50th Annual Hot Stove Dinner and Silent Auction, at 5:30 p.m. Friday Jan. 21 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, on Electronics Parkway, in Liverpool. The dinner program starts at 7 p.m.
The theme of this year’s Hot Stove event is “The Quest Begins Now,” said Chiefs President Ron Gershbacher.
The Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, the Chiefs will welcome Knorr, along with Washington manager Jim Riggleman, Texas League All-Star pitcher Ryan Tatusko, International League President Randy Mobley, Nationals Executive Vice President Mike Rizzo and Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson, who will escort the original Governors’ Cup trophy to the event. The current Governors’ Cup trophy, on loan from 2010 International League playoff victor the Columbus Clippers, will also be on display.
The Syracuse franchise has captured the second-most Governors’ Cups in the history of the IL – eight, tied with Columbus. The Rochester Red Wings have won 10 cups. The Chiefs last won the cup in 1976.
Tickets for Hot Stove dinner cost $55 for adults and $25 for children ages 12 and younger, or $500 for a table of 10. Fans can purchase tickets at the Chiefs ticket office at Alliance Bank Stadium or by calling 474-7833.
The Chiefs start the season April 7 in Buffalo before playing their home opener at 2 p.m. April 13, against the Pawtucket Red Sox at ABS.
Even though he was unspectacular as a player (the California native caught for five different big-league teams: Toronto, Houston, Florida, Texas and Montreal. hitting .226 in 676 at bats with 24 HR and 88 RBI), Knorr earned two World Series rings after the Toronto Blue Jays went all the way in 1992 and 1993.
This season will be Knorr’s sixth as a manager in the Nationals organization. After starting his managerial career in 2005 at Savannah, Knorr took the helm for three seasons at Potomac, winning the Carolina League Championship in 2008.
He spent part of 2006 and all of 2009 in the show as the Nationals bullpen coach. Last year, Knorr helmed the Eastern league Harrisburg Senators to a respectable second-place finish in the EL’s Western Division with a record of 77-65. He’s now 318-306 as a minor-league manager.
Although he became a Canadian citizen in 2004, Randy and his wife Kimberly live in Tampa, Fla. during the off-season.
‘Carnival’ Barker’s back!
Too bad he won’t be at the Hot Stove deal, but it’s good news that slugger Kevin “Carnival” Barker will be back with the Chiefs this season. He’ll turn 36 in July, but there are surely a couple dozen home runs left in his big bat.
The outspoken first baseman has clubbed 248 round-trippers in 14 minor-league seasons, and another six during cups of coffee in Milwaukee and Toronto. The 6-foot-3 lefty made a few other National League appearances for San Diego and Cincinnati.
Barker played three seasons for the Syracuse SkyChiefs, 2005-2007, during which he launched 59 dingers. Last year, he played for the Dominican Republican team which won the Caribbean Series over Venezuela before Barker was named to the all-tournament team.
Big Apple digs Syracuse gal
Syracuse native Karen Oberlin has been named outstanding jazz vocalist in the 2011 New York City Nightlife awards.
Chosen by more than two dozen critics who cover cabaret, comedy and jazz, the winners will strut their stuff at Town Hall on Jan. 31.
Other winners this year include comedian Colin Quinn, saxophonist Harry Allen and the guitar-vocal duo John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey.
Mike memorializes Murray
Murray Bernthal, Syracuse’s longtime theatrical impresario who died Dec. 9 at age 99, was memorialized by nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Michael Savage on Dec. 10.
Savage was particularly impressed by Bernthal’s sports accomplishments and musical teaching career as well as his remarriage in his nineties. Savage made no reference whatsoever, however, to Murray’s 65 years of Famous Artists bookings.