Greatest Spokane Indian Field Narrows to Four - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Greatest Spokane Indian Field Narrows to Four

The field of eight has narrowed to four in SWX's search to find the Greatest Spokane Indian of All Time. The field of eight has narrowed to four in SWX's search to find the Greatest Spokane Indian of All Time.

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The votes have been counted and the field of eight has dwindled to a semi-final round with a list of four in SWX’s search to find the Greatest Spokane Indian of All Time. Here are your final four contestants and how they got past their opponents in the opening round! Click back on Tuesday, June 3, starting at 9:00 a.m. PDT to cast your vote for these finalists!

No. 1 Steve Garvey vs. No. 8 Hoyt Wilhelm: Winner – Steve Garvey

Hard to argue with Steve Garvey, a 10-time All-Star, 1974 National League MVP and Roberto Clemente award winner—who also happened to be on the 1970 Spokane Indians team that has been called one of the best in minor league history—advancing to the next round. The way he did it though is a little eye-opening, beating out Hoyt Wilhelm by over 80-percent of the votes (80.7 percent to 19.3).

Wilhelm will always be remembered as one of the reasons all-time great Charlie Hough danced a knuckle ball to the plate with the Dodgers and then, ironically enough, the Rangers. He also made the rare move of being a player-coach while he was with the Indians. His Hall-of-Fame career—which included a no-hitter and pitching with one of the lowest earned run averages of all-time until he was almost 50—made it impossible to leave him off a final-eight list. But meeting Garvey in the first round proved to be too much for the knuckler to overcome.

No. 2 Ian Kinsler vs. No. 7 Jurickson Profar: Winner – Ian Kinsler

No surprises again in this matchup. Both players had comparable stats in their time in Spokane, but there is a disparity in what they have done in their time since.

Kinsler proved himself to be the proven commodity. The former Indians shortstop is a three-time All-Star and the current leader in this season’s All-Star voting for American League second baseman (ahead of Seattle’s $200-million man Robinson Cano). He also was a major cog in the Texas Rangers machine that won back-to-back AL pennants in 2010 and 2011.

While Kinsler did beat Profar by a whopping 44 percent (77.1 percent to 22.9), there is a very valid reason the Curacao native was selected to make the final eight. Profar was only 17 years old when he spent the summer at Avista Stadium, now he isn’t that much older and showed enough potential and upside that the Rangers felt comfortable letting Kinsler go via trade. If SWX and the Indians decide to collaborate on another poll in the future, it might well be that Profar is the one advancing over Kinsler.

No. 3 Carlos Beltran vs. No. 6 Royce Bolinger: Winner – Carlos Beltran

No one but the 21 percent who voted for Royce Bolinger to beat Carlos Beltran are surprised, and even that 21 percent probably isn’t shocked that Beltran won handily (taking 79 percent of the votes).

To his credit, Bolinger is having a great season in the Rangers’ high-A team in Myrtle Beach. But beating a player like Beltran just wasn’t in the cards for the former Gonzaga Bulldog.

Beltran is an eight-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner and two-time Silver Slugger who would make a run at being one of the best players still playing in the big leagues. Soon after the current New York Yankee left Spokane he was named the American League Rookie of the Year and went on to sign a mega-contract with the New York Mets. It’s easy to see him making the final two, let alone the semi-finals in our poll.

No. 4 Ron Cey vs. No. 5 Tommy Lasorda: Winner – Ron Cey

Who would have thought that the closest result in our search to find the greatest Spokane Indian of all time would be in the pairing between a former manager and player that were together in Spokane and then in the big leagues with the Dodgers? Ron Cey edged out his former skipper by just under 14-percent (56.6 percent to 43.4).

The fact that Cey donned an Indians uniform on the field and Lasorda wore one in the dugout ultimately might have been one of the deciding factors that kept a Hall of Famer and baseball icon like Lasorda from advancing. The Penguin also being a former WSU Cougar might have played a role as well. Both men compiled impressive numbers in Spokane and in the major leagues, which makes seeing Lasorda left out that much harder. In the end the Tacoma native had enough pull to win. If this were a L.A.-based voting pool, the result probably would have been different.

Make sure you come back on Tuesday, June 3, to vote for your favorite player in the final four! Polls for the semifinal will close Sunday, June 8, at midnight (11:59:59 p.m. PDT).

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