Steve Balboni was 225 lbs of twisted steel and pain. Okay, that may be a bit much, but the guy was a beast…a total beast. He was listed at 225 lbs, but was probably closer to 250 and instead of steel, picture pudding. Balboni was a big man who could hit a baseball a country mile. Check out this career line:
- 181 HR, .229 AVG, .293 OBP
In other words, Balboni usually homered or got himself out. Steve was a second round pick by the New York Yankees back in 1978 and showed his big power right away in the minor leagues. He hit 164 home runs in the minors, including at least 30 jacks a year as a youngster from 1980-1982. Balboni and his big swing (and bigger mustache) made their debut with the Yankees in 1981, but he just could not crack the regular playing rotation.
Following the 1983 season, the Bronx Bombers sent Balboni (and his mustache) to the Kansas City Royals for a bag of balls. Balboni immediately stepped up as a regular in KC and hit 28 homers and finished 19th in MVP voting as the Royals won the AL West. The following season, Balboni and the Royals were even better as Steve crushed a career-high 36 home runs and the Royals won the World Series. That same season however, Balboni led the AL in strike outs with 166, something that would plague him throughout his career.
Balboni would struggle with injuries, his weight, and strike outs for the rest of his career. Nicknamed, “Bye Bye Balboni”, Balboni ended up striking out far too often to stay in the big leagues. Even in the minors he whiffed far too often, once every 3.8 at-bats which is pretty incredible when you think about it.
After leaving KC, Balboni bounced around a bit, playing in Seattle, New York (with the Yankees) and in Texas. While most big league players retire when they can no longer play in the majors, Balboni stuck around in the minors for as long as he could.
Following the 1990 season, Balboni played in only 2 big league games for the rest of his career. However, he was more than happy to kick it around in the minors through the 1993 season. In 1991, 1992 and 1993, Balboni launched 86 home runs for the Rangers AAA club while hitting around .250.