During the 30 years, from 1978 to 2008, that the Toronto Blue Jays were the parent club to the Syracuse Chiefs, local baseball fans witnessed some fantastic players.
George Bell, Jimmy Key, Fred McGriff, Cecil Fielder, David Wells, Carlos Delgado and Roy Halladay were just some of the players who went from Syracuse to Major League stardom.
Tony Fernandez, the prolific shortstop who had a 17-year big league career, was another. Fernandez, who died Sunday, Feb. 16, at the age of 57, played in Syracuse from 1981 to 1984.
Former baseball writer for the Post-Standard Matt Michael called Fernandez “perhaps the best shortstop in Syracuse professional baseball history.”
“Without a doubt, Tony was the best position player I’ve ever managed,” said former Chiefs’ manager Jim Beauchamp in 2003. “Shoot, there are a lot of guys in the Hall of Fame who not near as good as Tony.”
Tony Fernandez was promoted to the Triple-A Chiefs from Single-A Kinston, North Carolina on June 29, 1981, just one day shy of his 19th birthday.
“Another move finds teenager Octavio “Tony” Fernandez, a lefty-hitting shortstop, making the jump from A-ball,” wrote Bob Snyder in the Herald-Journal on…