Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Owner Jack Corbett named former Syracuse Star "Sunny" Jim Bottomley is the new Chiefs manager for 1938. After a dismal 6-15 start Bottomley resigns and is replaced by Dick Porter. Porter's first move was to hire former major-leaguer Jimmy Walsh ( a Syracuse resident) on as coach. The pitching staff was bolstered with the addition of Reggie Grabowski from Minneapolis, Johnny Gee, Ted Kleinhans, Jake Mooty, Earl Cook and "Red" Barrett . While Jimmy Outlaw (.339), Tony Bongiovanni (.321), Edgar Longacre, Joe Mack, Dee Moore and Dick Porter teamed to lead the Chiefs to a sewcond place finish.

The year was highlighted by Johnny Gee who hurled the longest game in Chiefs history a 18 inning 3-2 victory over the Newark Bears. A visit from the New York Yankees in an exhibition that included Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. The June 12th game ended in a 9-3 Yankees win. Other Yankees seeing cation were Tommy Henrich, George Selkirk, Joe Gordon, Joe Glenn, Babe Dahlgren and manager Joe McCarthy.

Six days later the first tragedy, Chiefs catcher Dee Moore was injured when struck by a bottle thrown from the stands. News reports stated that Syracuse Police arrested Carl A. LeClair.

Babe Ruth returned to Syracuse on July 6, this time as a coach with the Brooklyn Dodgers. "The Babe" played first base in a 9-0 Dodger victory. Over 11,000 fans viewed Ruth single in four trips to the plate. Ruth's photo was featured in a  Dodger uniform on the front of the game scorecard that memorable day. The last exhibition of the year was against the Cincinnati Reds August 8. The Chiefs and Reds played to a 2-2 rain shortened seven inning tie.

 The Chiefs clinched second place September 8 on a Johnny Gee two-hitter vs Jersey City. With "Red" Barrett having been recalled by Cincinnati the Chiefs still entered the Governors Cup Playoffs with high hopes. Municipal Stadium was the site of the first two contests against the Buffalo Bisons.

Governors Cup Playoff - Game 1 in Syracuse
The Bisons squeaked out a 3-2 win as the Chiefs left the bases loaded in the ninth. Ken Ash defeated Ted Kleinhans before 7,572 screaming Syracusans.

Governors Cup Playoffs- Game 2 in Syracuse
Bison Fabian Kowalik tossed a five-hitter and the Chiefs uncertain fielding cost them in this one. Nino Bongiovanni again received the "Goat of the Game Award" as his errors put the winning run on base and a poor throw cost another. With the Chiefs down two games to none the series shifted to Buffalo.

Governors Cup Playoff- Game 3 at Buffalo
Three Buffalo home runs over the short right field wall nilified a pair of Chiefs tallies. Trailing by two in the ninth, the Chiefs filled the bases with only one out. Then with two out Manager Dick Porter gambled and sent up rookie Charlie Harig. Hairg's hard smash to center field was caught ending the contest. The tribe dropped their third straight 6-5.

Governors Cup Playoff- Game 4 at Buffalo
In the series final mechanical and metal errors lost this one. During the first six innings the tribe had many chances to score. But three times a man was run down between third and home and yet another was put out at the plate. Trailing 5-1 only Joe Mack's homer closed the margin to 5-3. The Bisons sweep the series four games to none. To All-Time Chiefs records were set that year. First- Tony Bongiovanni set the record for the "Most Doubles" in a season with 46. Jimmy Outlaw then set the mark for highest batting percentage at .339. That stayed a team record until the 1990's The current record was set in 1991 by Derek Bell at .346.

Even after a great season team owner Jack Corbett never reached the financial success he had planned upon the teams transfer from Jersey City back in 1934. November 10, Syracuse Newspapers reported that "The Cincinnati Reds will buy the Chiefs". The sale to the Reds never happened.

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