Syracuse, NY-The Syracuse Chiefs, Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, announced tonight the six newest members of the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame. The announcement was made as part of the festivities at the team's 50th Annual Hot Stove Dinner.
The class of 2011 includes former Chiefs outfielders LOU JOHNSON and GENE LOCKLEAR, former Chiefs pitcher JIM PRENDERGAST, former Syracuse Stars catcher GUS MANCUSO, Syracuse native JERRY BROOKS, and long-time Syracuse bat-maker JOSEPH KREN. The six-member class will be inducted to join the existing 88 members of the Wall of Fame in an on-field ceremony prior to the Chiefs' game against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on Saturday, August 13.
BROOKS, 43, is a 1985 graduate of Fowler High School who earned All-Star recognition as a senior. He went on to a collegiate career at Clemson University before signing a professional contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988. Brooks twice earned All-Star recognition at the Triple-A level: 1991 with Albuquerque and 1996 with Charlotte, when he tallied career highs of 34 HR and 107 RBI. He reached the Major Leagues in 1993 with the Dodgers and also received a call-up to the Florida Marlins in 1996.
JOHNSON, 76, was assigned to Syracuse in May 1963 after the Detroit Tigers acquired him in a trade with the Milwaukee Braves. He batted .296 with 15 HR and 71 RBI in his only season in a Chiefs uniform. Johnson played in 677 Major League games for the Braves, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Cleveland Indians.
KREN, who passed away in 1953 at the age of 86, founded the Kren Bat Company on Beecher Street in Syracuse in 1913. The company produced and sold more than 8 million bats in its history, including more than 100,000 per year at its peak. "Kren's Special" bats were used in the Major Leagues by many Hall of Famers including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mell Ott, Honus Wagner, and Rogers Hornsby among others. Kren was inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
LOCKLEAR, 61, is the only player in Syracuse franchise history to hit four home runs in one game, having accomplished the feat on July 14, 1977 at Columbus. Those four homers were part of his team-high 20 during the season and he also paced the club with 84 RBI in his only full campaign in Syracuse (he appeared in 16 games at the end of the 1976 season). Locklear played in 292 career Major League games for the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, and New York Yankees.
MANCUSO, who passed away in 1984 at the age of 78, batted .372 as a catcher for the Syracuse Stars in 1927. He played 17 years in the Major Leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giants and was considered one of the top catchers of the 1930s. Mancuso helped his teams reach the World Series five times and was a two-time National League All-Star.
PRENDERGAST, who passed away in 1994 at the age of 78, ranks third in Syracuse franchise history with 50 career victories. The left-hander led the International League with 17 wins in 1946 and again paced the circuit with 20 the following year as the Chiefs captured the 1947 Governors' Cup. Prendergast reached the Major Leagues in 1948, pitching in 10 games for the Boston Braves.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.