Steven Edward Delabar
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 5", Weight 220 lb.
- School Volunteer State Community College
- High School Central Hardin High School
- Debut September 11, 2011
Pitcher Steve Delabar was drafted by the San Diego Padres as a draft-and-follow in the 29th round of the 2003 amateur draft. After a year of college he was signed by scout Billy Merkel and made his pro debut in 2004.
Delabar played four years in the Padres' organization but never played at a higher level than Class A. After playing in four games for the Florence Freedom of the independent Frontier League, he joined the Brockton Rox of the Canadian-American Association in June 2008. He suffered a major elbow injury that required a steel plate and a number of screws to heal. He thought he was done with baseball and turned to substitute teaching for a couple of years, while also coaching baseball part-time. While coaching young pitchers, he discovered a program designed by former major league pitching coach Tom House designed to strengthen the arm, and it worked wonders on him, as he ended up throwing harder than he had before the injury. One of his friends asked a coach he knew, Brian Williams to look at him, and he liked what he saw.
He was signed by the Seattle Mariners organization in early 2011. He pitched very well in the minors, going 3-5, 2.25 in 40 games at three levels and was rewarded with a cup of coffee in September. He was already 28 when he made his major league debut on September 11th against the Kansas City Royals. He pitched 6 times in the majors that year with a record of 1-1, 2.57. He then made the M's out of spring training in 2012, making his first opening day roster. He pitched 34 times in Seattle, with a record of 2-1, 4.17, and also made a short return to Tacoma. Some of his peripheral stats in Seattle were eye-popping however: in 36 2/3 innings, he walked a mere 11 batters, but struck out 46 opponents, and only allowed 23 hits. The Toronto Blue Jays saw the potential in these numbers and traded OF Eric Thames to the Mariners on July 30th to obtain the reliever. On August 13th, he became the first pitcher in major league history to strike out four batters in an inning in extra innings. Entering a game against the Chicago White Sox in the top of the 10th, he struck out Dayan Viciedo on three pitches before getting Tyler Flowers on a full count, but the ball bounced away from catcher Jeff Mathis, allowing Flowers to reach on a dropped third strike. Undeterred, Steve then struck out Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza on a total of 7 pitches. He then was credited with the 3-2 win when the Blue Jays scored in the bottom of the 11th. He was also the first Blue Jay to have a four-strikeout inning. He was 2-2, 3.38 in 27 games with the Jays, for a combined record of 4-3, 3.82 in 61 outings; in 66 innings, he racked up an impressive 92 strikeouts while walking 26 and allowing only 46 hits.
Delabar was a force out of the Blue Jays' bullpen from the start of the 2013 season, racking up the strikeouts at an impressive pace. On July 11th, his record stood at 5-1, 1.74 in 37 games, with 57 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings. On that day, he was honored by winning the "Final Man Vote" for the 2013 All-Star Game, against four fellow relievers from around the American League. He credited his win to the support of friends and family in his hometown of Elizabethtown, KY; his outstanding numbers and improbable personal story also helped.
On May 17, 2016, pitching for the Cincinnati Reds, he had a nightmarish performance against the Cleveland Indians. Relieving Alfredo Simon in the 5th, he issued four straight walks with the bases loaded and walked five of six batters overall as the Reds lost, 13-1. The Reds were alrady trailing 8-0 when he entered the game, and the Indians had runners on the corners; he immediately walked Jason Kipnis to load the sacks, but then struck out Francisco Lindor. However, he then walked Mike Napoli, Jose Ramirez, Yan Gomes and Lonnie Chisenhall in succession, each batter forcing in a run, before being lifted in favor of Blake Wood.
- AL All-Star (2013)