By Zane Miller
In the 37-season long history of the Peoria Chiefs, the team has gone 1 for 4 in championship finals appearances, to go along with making 10 postseason appearances in total. As of this writing, Peoria’s best regular season record came in 2002 at 85-53, while their worst came in 1983 at 54-85. These are the top five single seasons by starting pitchers that I felt have stood out the most during the team history of the Chiefs.
In total, the team has won one championship, coming in 2002. The Chiefs were previously known as the Peoria Suns in 1983.
5. Tyler Johnson (2002)
The 1,013th overall pick of the 2000 draft out of Moorpark College by the St. Louis Cardinals pitched to a 15-3 record during the 2002 season with the Chiefs, going 121 and one-third innings while allowing seven home runs, 27 earned runs and 96 hits, claiming a 2.00 ERA. This performance helped Peoria to an 85-53 record to qualify for the 2002 playoffs, defeating the Burlington Bees two games to none in the first round, then winning in the second round two games to none against the Cedar Rapids Kernels. In the finals, the Chiefs defeated the Lansing Lugnuts three games to one to clinch their lone championship as of this writing. Johnson would make his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2005.
4. Austin Gomber (2015)
The 135th overall pick of the 2014 draft out of Florida Atlantic by the Cardinals took a 15-3 record in 2015 with the Chiefs, pitching 135 innings with 10 home runs, 40 earned runs and 97 hits allowed for a 2.67 ERA. Peoria picked up a 75-63 record to reach the 2015 playoffs, defeating the Kane County Cougars two games to none in the first round, before being defeated by Cedar Rapids two games to none. Gomber would make his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2018.
3. Britt Reames (1996)
The 463rd overall pick of the 1995 draft out of The Citadel by the Cardinals claimed a 15-7 record in 1996 with the Chiefs, going 161 innings while allowing five home runs, 34 earned runs and 97 hits for a 1.90 ERA. Peoria went 79-57 on the year to make it to the 1996 playoffs, losing to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers two games to one in the first round. Reames would make his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2000.
2. Wade Walker (1994)
The 446th overall pick of the 1993 draft out of Louisiana-Monroe by the Chicago Cubs took a 14-12 record during the 1994 season with the Chiefs, pitching 178 and a third innings while giving up 11 home runs, 79 earned runs and 192 hits for a 3.99 ERA. Despite this, Peoria took a 68-70 record, missing the 1994 playoffs.
1. Marcos Lopez (1989)
Lopez earned an outstanding 18-8 record with the Chiefs in 1989, as he allowed just nine home runs, 65 earned runs and 187 hits in 200 and two-thirds innings pitched to claim a 2.92 ERA. Peoria finished with an 80-59 record, although they would fail to qualify for the 1989 playoffs.
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