Steve Blass was born on Saturday, April 18, 1942, in Canaan, Connecticut. Blass was 22 years old when he broke into the big leagues on May 10, 1964, with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Steve Blass baseball stats page.
"In 1972 , if you had to choose any pitcher in the world to start one big game, Steve Blass would have been on your short list... In 1973 , famously, the wheels came off of (his) career. He hit batters, he walked people, he threw pitches worthy of Nuke Laloosh, throwing behind hitters, bouncing pitches, terrifying mascots, and generally looking as lost as an Amish buggy on Broadway... And then his career was over. A disease was born." - Writer / Historian Kirk Robinson (The Baseball Page, 'Steve Blass, Cured', 06/01/2000)
Steve Blass Autograph on a 1974 Topps Baseball Card (#595 | Checklist )
Steve Blass Pitching Stats
Steve Blass Hitting Stats
Steve Blass Fielding Stats
Steve Blass Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
Steve Blass Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1964 Pittsburgh Pirates||23||Undetermined||-||-|
|1966 Pittsburgh Pirates||28||Undetermined||-||-|
|1967 Pittsburgh Pirates||28||Undetermined||-||-|
|1968 Pittsburgh Pirates||28||Undetermined||-||-|
|1969 Pittsburgh Pirates||28||Undetermined||-||-|
|1970 Pittsburgh Pirates||28||Undetermined||-||-|
|1971 Pittsburgh Pirates||28||Undetermined||-||Stats|
|1972 Pittsburgh Pirates||28||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1973 Pittsburgh Pirates||28||Undetermined||-||-|
|1974 Pittsburgh Pirates||28||Undetermined||-||-|
|Steve Blass Stats by Baseball Almanac|
From 1964 through 1972, Steve Blass was a teammate of Roberto Clemente . In SCD Classic Sports Memorabilia , Blass recalled the night he heard of Clemente's plane going down, "We were hosting a New Year's Eve party for our neighbors when we got the phone call. They said that his plane had gone down. that ended the party real quick. Dave Giusti and his wife were staying over, but we couldn't get to sleep; not after the phone call. Dave and I decided to go over to Joe Brown's (the Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager) house to see what kind of info we could get. From there, we went on over to Willie Stargell's house. It was a day I'll never forget."
Roberto Clemente Eulogy by Steve Blass
We've been to the wars together
We took our foes as they came,
And always you were the leader,
And ever you played the game.
Idol of cheering multitudes;
Records are yours by sheaves
Iron of frame they hailed you:
Decked you with laurel leaves.
But higher than we hold you;
We who have known you best,
Knowing the way you came through
Every human test.
Let this be a silent token
Of lasting friendships gleam,
And all that we've left unspoken—
Your friends on the Pirates team.
On January 4, 1973, Steve Blass read the eulogy (above) at a memorial service for Roberto Clemente held in Puerto Rico. It was adapted from a tribute that was offered at Lou Gehrig's passing and used only after Bill Guilfoyle (the Pittsburgh Pirates Publicity Director) received permission from the New York Yankees .
Steve Blass Disease | Pharos-Tribune (Logansport, IN) | August 6, 1993 | Page B8
After Blass threw a complete game victory for the Pirates in Game 7 of the 1971 World Series , Orioles Manager Earl Weaver said, " Clemente was great all right, but if it hadn't been for Mr. Blass, we might be popping the corks right now!" Decades later, the clutch / control pitcher of his era is often remembered more for "Steve Blass Disease" - which has its own Wikipedia entry ( Steve Blass Disease ) - than any victory in any game he ever pitched: "Steve Blass Disease" has become, in sports jargon, a term for a psychological condition manifested when an athlete suddenly and inexplicably loses the ability to perform even basic functions in assignments he previously excelled in. Other baseball players who have suffered similar problems include Steve Sax , Chuck Knoblauch , Rick Ankiel , and Mark Wohlers .
Nobody wrote a better description of Steve Blass Disease, in our opinion, then Steve Blass himself in Steve Blass: A Pirate for Life . An excerpt of this highly recommended book appears below:
Steve Blass: A Pirate For Life | by Steve Blass | Triumph Books | May 1, 2012
1. They Named a Disease After Me
"Warm up Blass. You're going in the game," pitching coach Mel Wright hollered over to me in the Pirates bullpen on a typically balmy June night in Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium.
Entering a ballgame in the fifth inning of a blowout was a strange thing for me, but these were strange days, indeed. Our manager, Bill Virdon, thought that maybe I might start pitching better again with some time out of the bullpen. No time to think, just go out there and pitch. So far, other experiments were not helping. I was inconsistent at best.
But on this particular night, my plight took a horrendous turn. I was no longer just walking guys or hitting batters or getting hit hard. I was throwing the ball in back of hitters and behind their heads. It was just god-awful. My night's pitching line: six walks, three wild pitches, and five hits in 1 1/3 innings pitched. We mercifully got through that game, an 18-3 loss, but for me, it was just a horrific experience.
I was numb on the flight to Cincinnati after the game. We landed, and I went up to my room, dropped off my luggage, then walked the streets of Cincinnati all night thinking, What the hell is this? What is going on? In just a few weeks, I had gone from All-Star pitcher to bad starter to going to the bullpen and pitching badly. I got to thinking, Well, where the hell do I go from here? This bullpen shit ain't working .
I just walked the streets and wandered around. And this wasn't the first time. But this was certainly the bottom of the descent. The abyss.
Less than a year after finishing second in the Cy Young voting and less than two years after finishing off the mighty Baltimore Orioles with my second complete game win of the 1971 World Series, I was lost as a pitcher. Just dangling. Now the doubt was there. What is causing this? Am I going to get out of this? I was starting to feel anxious about going on the mound. When I first started to struggle with the control, I though, Well alright, let's work it out .
But now I had anxiety. Now I wasn't sure if I wanted to go out there. I had always lived a life of anticipation. I have always been excited about the next adventure, the next movie, the next ballgame, or the next experience. Now that anticipation, which was always a big part of my life, was being taken away from me.
The anticipation was my energy, my joie de vivre. When I was pitching well, on days I wasn't starting I still looked forward to going to the ballpark to shag some fly balls or fuck around with the guys in the clubhouse. We were all going to have a good time. On days that I did pitch, I had always counted the minutes until I could get out on the mound.
Now, it was different. I might go to have a good time, but it was almost like I was fraudulent. I was entertaining my teammates because I didn't want them to see me changing. So I masked it and tried to be exactly the same, knowing underneath that I wasn't having that much fun. I didn't think I was that funny anymore. I would drive home thinking, Ah, you fuckin' fraud . It was kind of self loathing. I thought, Why am I doing it? I'm playing this game. Am I doing it for myself? Am I doing it for my teammates?
I felt the need to be the life of the clubhouse, but I didn't feel great about doing it. It was like being on a train going down a track. I couldn't slow it down. It was out of control. But I was still on the train.
It was a different feeling for me than I had ever experienced before. I don't characterize it as fear, although maybe it was. I was very anxious about going out there when I knew I shouldn't be pitching in major league games. I was embarrassed and humiliated. Those are the worst two things a professional athlete can ever experience. I had hit the absolute bottom. I went out to pitch to an avalanche of doubt.
Please consider purchasing the book by clicking this link, Steve Blass: A Pirate for Life . A tiny portion of the proceeds go to Baseball Almanac who is attempting to preserve baseball history, one story at a time.
Last-Modified: March 10, 2020 2:47 PM EST