Friday, February 24, 2012

DAHOF Top 100 -- #38 Chris Knapp

How can a long forgotten "replacement level" righthander make your Top 100 list?

Easy. Chris Knapp was from my hometown. He was the older brother of one of my Little & Babe Ruth League teammates. I rode the school bus and talked baseball with his brother for many years. I got his autograph before the game on our one trip to Comiskey Park in 1977, simply because I was bold (and loud) enough to yell his name to tell him we were from St. Joe.

Chris Knapp was the White Sox first round draft pick in 1975 out of Central Michigan University. He didn't spend much time in the minors, because he got two September appearances in with Chuck Tanner's 1975 Sox. In his major league debut he got to pitch the ninth inning of a Royals 7-0 whitewash at Comiskey on September 4th. He walked Freddie Patek to begin his big league career and struck out John Mayberry.

He started 1976 in the minors, but got called up for seven June/July appearances. He recorded his first major league win with a complete game on July 21st against the Tigers. He spent most of the memorable 1977 season in the White Sox rotation, winning 12 games, including 4 complete games. On April 24th, in Oakland, he surrendered the 349th home run of Dick Allen's career. I remember discussing it at length with his brother the next morning on the bus going to school.

After the 1977 season he was packaged up with Brian Downing and sent to the California Angels for 45 games of Bobby Bonds. His best season was with the 1978 California Angels, he won 14 games including a one-hit one-run complete game win on September 3rd in Toronto. The only thing that stood between Knapp and a no-hitter was Willie Horton 287th career home run.

He started and took the loss in Game 4 of the 1979 ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles, he only lasted 2.1 innings. A starter for most of his career, Chris Knapp had one career save in the majors. It came on May 28, 1980 against the Texas Rangers. He never actually got an out in the game. He gave up a run scoring single to Jim Sundberg and then Billy Sample was caught stealing third base to end the game. The Angels won, 7-6.

When his major league career ended at age 27 in 1980 his win loss record was 36-32.


Johngy said...

I applaud this list. Anyone can make a top 100 list of pure All-Stars. It's great to see these names on your list.

Dick Allen Hall of Fame said...

Thanks Johngy! This has been a great project to work on during the off-season. I am hoping I will get done before real games start getting played in April

Post a Comment