Steven Scott Clevenger
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 195 lb.
- School Southeastern Louisiana University, Chipola Junior College
- High School Mount Saint Joseph College
- Debut September 26, 2011
Clevenger grew up in Baltimore, MD and played high school baseball there with Gavin Floyd. After attending Southeastern Louisiana University, Clevenger planned to transfer to the University of Texas, but a problem with college credits led him to Chipola Junior College, where he was selected by the Cubs in seventh round of the 2006 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Keith Stohr for a reported $150,000 and began his pro career that summer with the Boise Hawks, hitting .286 in 63 games. He was converted from the infield to catching that fall. He split the 2007 campaign between Boise and the Daytona Cubs, hitting .340 with 42 RBIs in 65 games between the two clubs. Between Daytona and the AA Tennessee Smokies the following year, he hit .298 with 54 RBIs over 113 games.
Clevenger split the 2009 season between Tennessee and the AAA Iowa Cubs, hitting .290 in 94 games between the two levels. He spent the entire 2010 campaign with Tennessee, hitting .317 with 5 home runs and 47 RBIs and making the Southern League All-Star team. He was a Southern League All-Star again the following year, hitting .295 with 5 homers in 95 games for the Smokies, and also played for Iowa, batting at a .407 clip in 25 games at that level. Called up by Chicago in September, he made his debut on September 26th against the San Diego Padres. He rapped his first big league hit two days later versus the Padres. Those were his only two big league games that year. He got to see regular playing time for the Cubs in 2012, when he played 69 games and had 199 at-bats, hitting .201 with a homer and 16 RBIs. He only played 5 games at Iowa that year, hitting .462.
He started the 2013 season with the Cubs but was injured after 8 April games, in which he went 1 for 8. On July 2nd, Clevenger was included in a major trade that saw him and Scott Feldman go to the Baltimore Orioles in return for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. The Orioles called him up in September and he played 4 games for them, going 4 for 15. In the minors, he hit .327 in 15 games at Iowa and .324 in 20 games for the Norfolk Tides, in addition to a couple of low-level rehabilitation assignments. In 2014, however, with catcher Matt Wieters lost for the season in the early going, he ended up playing 35 games for Baltimore while sharing playing time with rookie Caleb Joseph and veteran Nick Hundley; he hit .225 with 8 RBIs in 89 at-bats. In 64 games at Norfolk, he hit .305. He spent most of 2015 at Norfolk, except for a four-game stint with the Birds in late May and early June, and once again hit over .300 in AAA, this time .305 in 75 games. He was called up again on August 15th and was given an opportunity to play a bit more. On August 16th, he had a great day starting at DH against the Detroit Tigers, as he went 4 for 6 with a double and 2 runs scored in an 18-2 win. He moved to first base in place of Chris Davis late in the game, which gave pitcher Jason Garcia the opportunity to make his first professional plate appearance. The following day, he hit his first big league homer since 2012, a three-run shot off Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletics that was key to a 4-2 Baltimore win. he ended the year with a .287 average in 20 games, with 2 homers and 15 RBIs.
On December 2, 2015, Steve was traded to the Seattle Mariners for OF/1B Mark Trumbo and P C.J. Riefenhauser in a deal designed by Seattle to shed some salary, although the M's were also looking for some catching help following a very difficult season by Mike Zunino the previous season. He was hitting .221 in 21 games in 2016 when on June 29th he broke his right hand when hit by a foul ball off the bat of Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had been the sole back-up to starter Chris Iannetta until then, with Zunino spending the year in the minors working on his hitting issues. He was still on the disabled list on September 22nd when news emerged of Twitter messages he had sent, commenting in on riots taking place in Charlotte, NC at the time while directing invectives at "black people". His comments caused immediate and major embarrassment to the Mariners, who were deep in a race for a postseason slot at the time and did not need the unwelcome distraction. The club announced that they were exploring their options for dealing with the situation, while some commentators called for harsh and exemplary punishment. For his part, Clevenger issued a lengthy apology via reporter Ken Rosenthal, but the damage had been done. The next day, the Mariners announced that he had been suspended for the remainder of the season without pay; the question was whether he would ever play in the majors again.
- Bob Nightengale: "Mariners' Steve Clevenger should be released for insensitive tweets about protesters", USA Today Sports, September 23, 2016.