Vote Here For All-Time Starting Pitchers
In celebration of their 20th season of professional independent baseball, the Sioux Falls Pheasants are creating a 20th-Anniversary Team as determined by fans. Throughout the season, nominees will be revealed for each position, and fans can vote for the greatest players. Today the first nominees are unveiled.
Because there may be no more key position on the baseball diamond, we start with the pitcher. With a great outing, the game's starter can stymie an opponent and position his club to win, or he can make for a long day.
Sioux Falls has had a wealth of great arms. Five of the best are listed here. It is up to fans to determine the top two in our online poll.
The results will be announced on Opening Night, Thursday, May 17, when the Pheasants host the Sioux City Explorers.
Nominees were determined by a select group of organization members and Sioux Falls media personnel who have long observed the club. Fans can cast their vote for their top two choices from the following candidates:
Ryan Ford (2007-2009) -- Ford is probably best remembered for anchoring the starting rotation in 2008 en route to a league championship. He set a single-season franchise record with 13 wins against just six losses with a 2.77 ERA. This followed a 7-5 mark set in 2007 with a 3.54 ERA. In three seasons, the southpaw went 23-21 with a 3.82 ERA. Ford is fourth in team career wins and fifth in strikeouts (199).
Richard Hyde (1994, 1996-2001) -- Hyde has been on a Sioux Falls roster for more seasons than any other player in team history and sits atop the team leader board for nearly every significant career category. He ranks first in wins (53), games (121), complete games (15), innings pitched (787) and strikeouts (519). Hyde was an example of consistency and longevity, notching eight or more wins in all but one season and logging more than 100 innings in all but two seasons. His career record is 53-33 with a 3.60 ERA. Hyde earned back-to-back all-star honors in 1999 and 2000. He helped Sioux Falls to its first playoff appearance in 2001 with an 8-4 record and a 3.40 ERA.
Pat Mahomes (2007 – 2009) -- Mahomes joined the Sioux Falls Canaries after an accomplished major-league career with six teams, most notably five seasons with the Minnesota Twins. Over two and half seasons in Sioux Falls, Mahomes amassed a 24-11 record with a 3.84 ERA. He ranks third all-time in wins, complete games (8) and strikeouts (246). In 2007, he went 12-3 in 19 starts with a 3.21 ERA, striking out 109 batters and earning league all-star honors. His 12 wins tied for second all-time for most wins in a season. In 2008, Mahomes was a key member of the Canaries’ championship rotation in 2008, going 10-6 and striking out 105 men.
Ben Moore (2008-2011) -- Moore is one of the most decorated pitchers in team history. He was named American Association Pitcher of the Year for two consecutive years (2010 and 2011). While averaging 20 starts in each of his four seasons, he posted 10 or more wins in three separate campaigns and struck out 100 or more batters in all four seasons. He set single-season league records for strikeouts in 2010 (126) and 2011(144). Moore ranks second in team history for wins (39), complete games (9), innings pitched (529 2/3) and strikeouts (477). In 2011, Moore notched a 13-win season, tied for most in team history, and he tied a team record with 14 strikeouts in one game. Moore was a member of the 2008 championship squad and the 2010 runner-up team.
Jamie Ybarra (1994, 1996, 2001) -- Ybarra had one of the most dominant individual seasons in team history. In 1994, Ybarra went 10-3 with a miniscule 2.31 ERA while striking out 109. He set team single-season records with five complete games, including three shutouts, and earned Rookie of the Year honors. Ybarra appeared briefly with the Canaries in 1996 and then returned for the 2001 division championship season, when he went 7-3 with a 3.79 ERA in 11 starts. Ybarra compiled a 17-8 career record with a 3.57 ERA and 188 strikeouts.
More nominees and voting will occur throughout the season.
The Sioux Falls Pheasants begin their 20th season at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, May 17 when they host the Sioux City Explorers. Information about season tickets and group outings is available by calling (605) 336-6060 or visiting www.sfpheasants.com.