Christopher J. Knabenshue
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.
- School University of Northern Colorado
- High School Smoky Hill High School
Outfielder Chris Knabenshue played six seasons in AAA yet never made the majors.
1985-1989: Padres chain
The Cleveland Indians took Chris in the 17th round of the 1982 amateur draft out of high school, one pick after Jim Stassi, but he did not sign. Knabenshue hit .444 in college in 1985, tied for 19th in NCAA Division I. He was then picked by the San Diego Padres in the fifth round of the 1985 amateur draft. In his pro debut, he hit .279/.407/.357 with 57 walks and 50 runs in 71 games. He was second in the Northwest League in walks (10 behind leader Bill Stevenson), tied for 8th in runs and just missed the top 10 in OBP.
With the 1986 Charleston Rainbows, Knabenshue batted .284/.423/.457 with 82 walks, 77 runs and 36 steals in 46 tries. He was 10th in the South Atlantic League in swipes and 4th in OBP. In '87, he hit .309/.394/.482 for the Wichita Pilots, with 91 runs, 31 doubles, 15 home runs, 66 walks, 20 steals (caught 14 times) and 14 outfield assists. He ranked among the Texas League leaders in runs (7th), OBP (9th) and doubles (tied for 10th with Joe Redfield). Despite a productive 1987, he was returned to Wichita again in 1988 and slumped to .245/.375/.434 with 26 doubles, 16 home runs, 16 steals in 32 tries, 84 walks and 138 strikeouts. He was still 9th in the TL in OBP (between Greg Vaughn and Mike Huff), led in walks, was 4th in times caught stealing and tied Tom Alfredson for second in Ks (behind George Canale).
Knabenshue hit .279 with 45 walks and 15 home runs for the 1988-1989 Águilas de Mexicali and was among the Mexican Pacific League leaders in walks and dingers. reached AAA with the 1989 Las Vegas Stars. The 25-year-old put up a .258/.418/.516 line with 83 walks and 18 home runs. His steal total dropped from 16 to 0 (getting caught all 3 tries). He led the 1989 Pacific Coast League in OBP, two points ahead of Bruce Fields. He was also 4th in OPS, between Jeff Manto and Jerald Clark, and third in walks (behind Doug Jennings and Manto). Everyone else in the top 20 in walks or top 10 in OPS would play in the majors some day. Knabenshue was left off the PCL All-Star team as Fields, Clark and Huff won the three outfield slots.
1990-1995: Wandering through AAA
Moving to the Philadelphia Phillies system, Chris spent 1990 with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. He hit 18 home runs with 76 walks but his batting line fell to .237/.365/.429. He was still 4th in the 1990 International League in walks, behind Jim Walewander, Leo Gomez and Jeff Gardner. He also tied Chris Hoiles for 7th in the IL in circuit clouts and led IL flyhawks with a .991 fielding percentage.
In 1991, Knabenshue bounced around with four different organizations. He played for the Red Barons (7 for 35, 2 2B, 10 K, 0 BB), the Denver Zephyrs (6 for 29, 2B, HR, 9 BB), the Palm Springs Angels (6 for 30, 2B, HR, 8 BB) and the Saraperos de Saltillo (.323/.500/.504 in 42 G). He split 1992 between the Huntsville Stars (.197/.293/.296 in 21 G) and the Rieleros de Aguascalientes (.363/.458/.703, 17 HR, 49 R, 43 RBI, 38 BB in 55 G).
Knabenshue's whereabouts for 1993 are unclear. In 1994, he bounced between three Mexican League clubs (a combined .260/.402/.432 with 53 walks in 67 games) and the Buffalo Bisons (.290/.397/.412 in 45 G). He played in 1995 for the Calgary Cannons (0 for 10, 4 BB) and GCL Pirates (3 for 17, HR).