Sunday, October 20, 2013

Many more Michigan Men part 4: Steve Ontiveros

Previously: Part 1 (Chris Sabo), Part 2 (Kelly Dransfeldt, Scott Kamieniecki, Heath Murray, and Geoff Zahn), Part 3 (Mike Matheny)

A month or two ago I embarked upon a project of scanning all of the cards in my collection of any other Michigan Baseball alumni not already included on my Player Collections page. That includes anything that arrived via trade, was already in my collection otherwise, or was part of a complete set (or set in-progress). As you can imagine it took quite a while to get everything done, but about 250+ cards later, I finally have something to show for it! These posts will show off new player collections or new cards for existing PCs. Some players will join the group that I supercollect and others will be guys I just pick up whenever I can. If you have anything I don't and feel like trading, please let me know as I'd love to build up these collections!

Today's featured player, #7 in the series, is former pitcher Steve Ontiveros (not to be confused with the former Giants/Cubs IF).  Steve pitched for the Wolverines from 1980-82 before being drafted by Oakland in the second round in '82.  Other 1982 second-round notables include David Wells (Blue Jays), Barry Bonds (Giants, did not sign), Bo Jackson (Yankees, did not sign), and fellow Wolverines Scott Kamieniecki (Tigers, did not sign) and Barry Larkin (Reds, did not sign).  So, yeah, that was a pretty good draft.

Ok, let's get back to Ontiveros.  After being drafted by the A's, Steve made his MLB debut in 1985.  The team released him after the '88 season and he signed with the Phillies, appearing in 11 games over two seasons.  He was out of baseball in '91, and the following year the Tigers signed and then released him during spring training before he sat out for the second straight year with an injury.

The Twins signed him in '93 and flipped him to the Mariners in August.  Ontiveros appeared in 14 games with them as a RP before re-signing with Oakland at the end of the season.  Back with the team that drafted him, Steve just qualified to win the A.L. ERA title, and followed that up with his lone All-Star appearance the following season.  He then bounced around several teams as a free agent (California/Anaheim, St. Louis, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, Colorado) over the next five seasons until the Red Sox signed him and he appeared in the final three games of his career (after signing with the Mets).

The result of all that traveling was a 34-31 career record in 73 starts over 10 seasons, plus 19 saves, all of which came during his first three seasons.  While he might not have achieved greatness or lived up to his second-round billing, Ontiveros was able to parlay success with the Wolverines into a lengthy career in the Bigs, which is certainly an accomplishment itself.

Here's a look at my small Ontiveros PC, one that may become a supercollection before long:

There's still more to come, so follow along with my Player Collections page and new posts here!


  1. Another guy I know but had not idea he played for the Wolverines. This is getting embarrassing.

    1. That's ok, I had no idea he played for Michigan until Doug C. from SCFtDS sent me some!