Snell joins Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame: CR grad pitched 7 seasons in major leagues

Caesar Rodney product Ian Snell spent seven seasons as an MLB pitcher, winning 14 games with the Pirates in 2006. Delaware State News file photos

WILMINGTON — Getting drafted by a major league baseball team could have been a pretty cool moment for Ian Snell.

But the former Caesar Rodney High pitcher just remembers that the Pittsburgh Pirates took him in “only” the 26th round.

“I was like, I should have been a top 10 pick,” said Snell. “I just put that on my shoulder. I saw those guys before me and they’re No. 1 picks and they were making this or they were making that.

“But, when I look back, I wouldn’t change it for anything. The guys that were drafted before me, they’re not in the big leagues. I scratched and clawed my way all the way to the top.”

Indeed, Snell ended up beating the odds and spending seven seasons in the major leagues. On Monday night, he was honored for his accomplishments when he was inducted into the Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame before the Blue Rocks’ game at Frawley Stadium.

Snell was joined in the class by another downstater, Heath Chasanov, who was a standout at both Woodbridge High and the University of Delaware.

The rest of the Hall of Fame class included former St. Mark’s High and Wilmington University player Mike Donovan; baseball writer and historian Bob McConnell; Mount Pleasant High and Towson player Jack McDonough; and St. Mark’s High coach Matt Smith.

Snell stood only 5-foot-11, 164 pounds as a player. But he made up for his relative lack of size with his competitiveness.

“The thing about Ian, obviously he had a lot of natural ability,” said former CR coach John Newman, who was on hand for Monday’s ceremony. “But he was one of the best competitors I’ve ever been around. He loved to play and he loved to be successful.

“He was a great athlete. I think he could have excelled at basketball and football. Lucky for us, he loved baseball.”

Playing for both the Pirates and Mariners, Snell finished with a record of 38-53 in the majors, striking out 639 batters and putting up an ERA of 4.80. He last pitched in the majors in 2010.

But some of the righthander’s most impressive stats came in the minor leagues. In 2004, he set the team record for the Class Altoona Curve with 142 strikeouts.

In 2005, Snell pitched a no-hitter for the Class AAA Indianapolis Indians.

While Snell didn’t have the kind of success he would have liked in the majors, he still has some great memories. His first career victory was a shutout of the Astros and Hall of Fame pitcher Roger Clemens.

He was also a teammate of Ken Griffey, Jr., among other stars.

“Playing against the guys you grew up watching, it’s amazing,” said Snell. “Then you’ve got the fans, it’s just fun. I loved it.
“The only thing I didn’t like is how we were so under a microscope. … But, other than that, it was fun to put smiles on kids’ faces and doing things for people.”

Chasanov was the 14th player in UD baseball history to collect 200 career hits and he was named the university’s Male Athlete of the Year in 1991. The current Woodbridge School District superintendent also played on a Seaford Little League team that finished third in the World Series in 1983.

Chasanov, though, said he is most proud of the fact that he and his father, Len, are only the second father-son combination in the Hall of Fame. Len Chasanov, the former Seaford and Woodbridge coach, was inducted in 2014.

The only other father-son duo in the Delaware Baseball Hall is former Phillies owners Bob and Ruly Carpenter.

“To be able to be part of that with him means as much to me as anything,” said Chasanov. “My playing career is what, thirty years in the rearview mirror? Even I have hard time remembering it at times. But it’s nice. I’ve seen some of the other guys I played with go in. It’s an honor to be in there with them.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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