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.