#31 Will No Longer Play in Peoria
In 1985, most Americans were engaged in one of three important tasks: Perfecting a Max Headroom impersonation, blasting “Oh Yeah” on a portable cassette deck, or counting off the days until a post-Hands Across America global utopia.
But not Greg Maddux. The future Hall of Famer was plying his trade in Peoria, in the first full-season stop of what would turn out to be a 25-year professional career. In 1985, Maddux went 13-9 with a 3.19 ERA over 27 starts for the Chiefs. En route to doing so, he tossed 186 innings and six complete games, unthinkable numbers for a 19-year-old prospect in our current era of over-the-top pitch count obsession.
This past Friday, the Chiefs retired Maddux’s #31 jersey in a pre-game ceremony. The mayor of Peoria proclaimed June 11th to be “Greg Maddux Day”, thereby imbuing the event with instant legitimacy. Speeches were made by Chiefs president Rocky Vonachen, his father (and former club prez/all-around Peoria baseball legend) Pete Vonachen, and Maddux himself.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: photographic evidence!
Maddux, flanked by Pete Vonachen and Chiefs broadcaster MC Nathan Baliva:
And speaking of playing in Peoria, the Chiefs recently hit upon a brand-new form of in-game entertainment: Dueling Pianos. Two ivory ticklers from the nearby Jive and Wail piano bar set up shop atop the dugouts, providing a rollicking soundtrack to the entire evening.
Check it out!
Perhaps Dueling Pianos at live sporting events will be the next craze to sweep the nation, making a cultural impact on par with Garbage Pail Kids, Bonkers Candy, or at the very least Young Sherlock Holmes.