Blass in 2009.
April 18, 1942 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|May 10, 1964 for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 18, 1974 for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Earned run average||3.63|
|Career highlights and awards|
Playing career 
Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960, he made his major league debut in 1964 and joined the team permanently in 1966. He won 18 games in 1968, including a 2.12 ERA with seven shutouts, both career highs, and in 1969 won 16 with a career-high 147 strikeouts. From 1969 to 1972 he won 60 games, with a career-high 19 victories in 1972. In that season, he made the National League All-Star team.
In the 1971 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Blass pitched two complete game wins, allowing only seven hits and two runs in 18 innings. He finished second in the voting for World Series MVP behind teammate Roberto Clemente.
Steve Blass Disease 
Besides his Series performance, Blass is best known for his sudden and inexplicable loss of control after the 1972 season. His ERA climbed to 9.85 in the 1973 season. He walked 84 batters in 88 2⁄3 innings, and struck out only 27, laboring through the 1973 season; his -4.0 WAR that year still stands as the worst single-season WAR for a pitcher since 1901. After spending most of 1974 in the minor leagues, he retired from baseball in March 1975. Two months later writer Roger Angell chronicled Blass's travails in an essay in The New Yorker.
A condition referred to as "Steve Blass disease" has become a part of baseball lexicon. The "diagnosis" is applied to talented players who inexplicably and permanently seem to lose their ability to throw a baseball accurately. The fielder's variant of "Steve Blass disease" is sometimes referred to in baseball terminology as "Steve Sax syndrome".
Post-playing career 
Blass worked in the late 1970s as a salesman for a Pittsburgh company that manufactured school class rings. He joined the Pirates' TV and radio broadcast team in 1983 as a part-time color commentator, earning a full-time post in 1986. Before the 2005 season, he announced that he would announce only home games from then on to spend more time with his family.
Blass' autobiography, A Pirate For Life, (Triumph Books) was released on May 1, 2012. His memoirs, co-written with Erik Sherman, encompass his struggles with Steve Blass disease and his days as a color commentator for the Pirates.
See also 
- Jeff Merron BIOPROJ.SABR.ORG :: The Baseball Biography Project
- Angell, Roger (June 23, 1975). "The Sporting Scene: Down The Drain". The New Yorker.
- Steve Blass, Cured | The BASEBALL Page
- "Ankiel, Knoblauch struggle to rediscover their arms". CNN.
- "In Brief". Chicago Tribune. March 28, 2009.
- ESPN.com - Ankiel can't seem to conquer 'The Creature' ESPN.com, June 16, 2003
- "Ankiel's back, but are the demons?". USA Today. March 6, 2002.
- Biederman, Les. "The Happy, Sad Saga of Steve Bliss". Baseball Digest 36 (April 1978): p. 76.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- SABR BioProject biography of Blass
|Major League Player of the Month