Best Spokane Indian Ever Head-to-Head: No. 3 Carlos Beltran vs. - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Best Spokane Indian Ever Head-to-Head: No. 3 Carlos Beltran vs. No. 6 Royce Bolinger

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Will the consummate pro or the local college hero win the No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup? (Photo: Spokane Indians) Will the consummate pro or the local college hero win the No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup? (Photo: Spokane Indians)
With the voting in our best-ever Spokane Indian poll heating up, SWX will take a look at the matchups over the next few days to help you make a more educated vote, if not a slanted and biased one based off of local media trying to persuade you to vote for their man! Here is the pairing between seeds No. 3 and No. 6. Make sure you share this with every Indians fan you know as the list will be cut down to 4 on Monday, June 2.

You can cast your vote for all of the final field of eight here: bit.ly/1klQ0MS

No. 3 seed Carlos Beltran: The Best in the Bigs: Carlos Beltran (by John Collett)

Carlos Beltran spent just one summer in Spokane while playing for the Indians in 1996. During that short stretch, his numbers might be easy to overlook. In just 59 games, Beltran finished the year with 29 RBI’s, 29 runs, and 7 home runs. Those numbers seem good but not great. However, Spokane was where it all began for Beltran, as he later became the best Spokane Indian to ever play in Major League Baseball.

He came on the scene in 1999 with Kansas City and claimed the AL Rookie of the Year honor. Beltran now plays for the Yankees in his 17th season playing the big leagues. Eight of those years Carlos has played in the All-Star game.

The thing about Beltran is he’s a total player with top tier abilities on offense and defense. He hit 100+ RBI’s eight times in his career, including a stretch from 2006-2008 where he averaged 113 RBI’s for the Mets. During that peak in his career, he claimed Silver Sluggers honors in ’06 and ’07, while also winning three straight gold gloves from ’06 - ‘08.

The other number to look at is $119 million. That’s how much Beltran’s contract was worth when he signed a seven-year deal with the New York Mets back in 2005. That contract is the biggest signed by any of the former Spokane Indians on this list, and makes Beltran deserving of a first round win over Royce Bolinger.

No. 6 seed Royce Bolinger: Royce--the Peoples Choice--Bolinger (by Josh Ouellette)

Gonzaga baseball fans called for his inclusion. His stats in a short A season a couple years back allowed him to be worth the mention. So there he is, Royce Bolinger, the hero of the Spokane area who made the cut based on the love the residents of the Lilac City and Gonzaga fans from across the country had for him.

But does he deserve to beat Carlos Beltran? Easily one of the greatest players of his era. John Collett told you more about him. The original article with the seeding can give you his stats and career attributes. But does he know Spokane? Does he have the same ties that Bolinger has here? No. Royce may hail from Scottsdale, Ariz. but he will always be a local boy here in the Inland Northwest.

While with the Indians, Bolinger hit .301, Beltran only hit .270 in front of the Avista Stadium faithful almost two decades ago. In more games played (66-59), Bolinger struck out only 37 times compared to Beltran's 65 Ks. Bolinger is only in his third minor league season, but his batting average sits at .287 and he's currently tearing it up in Myrtle Beach with the Rangers high-A ball affiliate . Beltran has a minor-league career BA of .271, and that includes inflation's from rehab assignments where the all-star outfielder played anywhere from two to 14 games and hit a lower class of pitching than he was used too.

Should Royce Bolinger be named the greatest Spokane Indian of all time? That's for you to decide. But when looking at the former Zag standout vs. his higher seeded counterpart on an even playing field, Bolinger wins.

What makes one the greatest Spokane Indian of all time? Is it a statline while he was here? Is it what he went on to do after his time in AAA or A level baseball? Or is it what the man means to the area and the people of Spokane? Something tells me it's the latter.

It's not too late! It's never too late. Voting doesn't close until Sunday, June 1, at 11:59:59. So go vote for Royce Bolinger because he is one of your own, your man, not just some name passing through.

Voting for this poll has closed! Come back to vote in the semi-final round on Tuesday, June 3, at 9:00 a.m. PDT! 





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