Best Spokane Indian Ever Head-to-Head: No. 1 Steve Garvey vs. No - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Best Spokane Indian Ever Head-to-Head: No. 1 Steve Garvey vs. No. 8 Hoyt Wilhelm

A knuckleballer vs. 10-time All-Star selection highlights our final matchup before SWX narrows the field to four. A knuckleballer vs. 10-time All-Star selection highlights our final matchup before SWX narrows the field to four.
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. 1 and No. 8. Make sure you share this with every Indians fan you know as the list will be cut down to four on Monday, June 2.

You can cast your vote for all of the final field of eight

No. 1 seed Steve Garvey: The Greatest to Grace Avista Stadium (by Josh Ouellette)

Some may argue the legend Steve Garvey as the No. 1 seed in this contest to find the best-ever Spokane Indian. Some will bemoan the decision to leave off some of his teammates like Maury Wills, Bill Russell and Davey Lopes from that 1970 team that has been called the greatest minor league team ever. But what you can't argue is that Hoyt Wilhelm deserves to advance more than Garvey.

Not only do Garvey's minor league stats jump off the charts--he hit .319 with 71 R, 87 RBI, 26 2B, 15 HR, 13 SB and an OPS of .911--he went on to back it up in a career that few former Indians can even come within the same ballpark. A 10-time All-Star selection, Garvey finished his career as a .294 hitter with 1,143 runs, 1,308 RBI, 272 HR, and an OPS of .775.

Throw in two All-Star game MVP's, two NLCS MVP's (1978, 1984), four Gold Glove's (1974-77), a Roberto Clemente Award, the National League MVP award in 1974 and a World Series title in 1981 with the L.A. Dodgers. His accolades befit the career he put together on and off the field.

Steve Garvey wasn't a player-coach, or a player coming to Spokane in the twilight of his career, he was a 20-year old slugger and five-tool player who was one of the best to ever pass through the Pacific Northwest. He's my vote for the greatest Spokane Indian of all-time. He's my vote for one of the greatest Dodgers of all-time. There are only a few men that I hold in higher or close esteem as a lifetime Dodger fan--Vin Scully, Tommy Lasorda, Wills, Sandy Koufax and Clayton Kershaw round out my top six.

If he joins in with a list of the above named major leaguer's, shouldn't he head up a list for being named the greatest Spokane Indian of all-time? I think so, in your heart-of-hearts you believe it, now do "Mr. Clean" a favor and see him through to the next round.

No. 8 seed Hoyt Wilhelm: Without Wilhelm, there is no Hough (by John Collett)

OK, I know what you’re all thinking. In the history of this tournament, the #8 seed has never beat the No. 1 seed. But then again, the No. 1 seed has never beat the No. 8 seed. My point is throw the seeds out because they don’t matter. Just because Hoyt Wilhelm has a No. 8 by his named doesn't mean he’s not worthy of being the “Greatest Spokane Indian of All-Time”.

So here’s the case for Hoyt Wilhelm.

He’s one of the rare examples for the Indians when a big-leaguer came back down to the minors. He joined the Indians a player-coach and his numbers with Spokane aren’t anything special. He sports an ERA of 3.79, a W-L record of 2-3, and strikeout total of 24. His MLB numbers are much more impressive with a career record of 143-122, a career ERA 2.52, and 1,610 strikeouts.

In addition to that, of all the former Spokane Indians, no one has had an impact on the game like Wilhelm. Wilhelm taught Charlie Hough how to throw the knuckleball. Without Wilhelm, there is no Hough. With that “dancing knuckleball” Hough left the Rangers as the franchise leader in wins, strikeouts, complete games and losses.

It’s a two-for-one deal, something no other candidate offers in this contest. For that, Wilhelm is worthy of your vote.

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!