Thursday, September 6, 2012

Player Profile: Steve Balboni

I have 38 cards of Steve Balboni. This one is from 1991 Score.

Playing career: Former Yankee and Royal Steve Balboni was known for two things: hitting home runs and striking out. His best season was 1985, helping the Royals to a world championship and earning MVP votes by setting a team record (that still stands) with 36 home runs. He also led the American League in strikeouts with 166. He was basically Adam Dunn without the walks, which is not a terribly useful baseball player. In 1987, in 386 at-bats, he hit .207 with 24 home runs and 44 runs scored, meaning over half of the times he scored was because he drove himself in.

Where he is now: A scout for the Giants.

Interesting facts: Though he works for the Giants, Balboni told the New Jersey Alternative Press last November that “I love the Yankees. I still think of myself as a Yankee.” The occasion of the article was the Balbonis selling their house in Berkeley Heights Twp., NJ. The Victorian mansion, built in 1860, is still on sale almost a year later, with an asking price of $1,465,000. Taxes are $27,478. Check out the slideshow to see how a former major leaguer lives. Especially interesting is one bedroom with a framed photo of Balboni in a Yankee uniform over the bed.

He was a minor league sensation in the Yankees organization, earning the nickname “Bye-Bye” due to the prodigious length of his home runs. He disliked the name, however, preferring “Bones” or “Rocky”.

My memories: When I started following baseball in 1986, he was considered one of the prime examples of good talent the Yankees traded away. By the time they got him back in 1989, he wasn’t nearly as good a player as he was with Kansas City, and didn’t make any impact.

Google Autocomplete results: He is fifth when you type Steve Ba, between Steve Bayner, a hypnotist, and Steve Baldwin, an actor. There do not appear to be any other prominent Steve Balbonis.

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