Pioneer Baseball Alum and Now MLB All-Star Steve Delabar
Submitted on July 12, 2013 at 10:35 AM
Former Vol State Pioneer baseball player Steve Delabar is officially a Major League Baseball All-Star. He was voted in by fans in the final round for the 2013 American League All-Star team. The honor is well-deserved for Steve, but also a testament to the strength of the Vol State baseball program. Congrats to Coach Michael Crossland, Athletic Director Bobby Hudson and all of the folks who work so hard to make Pioneer baseball such a hard-playing and competitive program.
Here's a link to the ESPN story mentioning Vol State: http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=3515&DateTime=7%2F11%2F2013+8%3A27%3A23+PM&Term=Volunteer+State+Community+College&PlayClip=TRUE
Here's a story we did back in 2001, when he was signed to the Seattle Mariners. Steve does have an incredible story:
College athletes may dream of the day they get a call from a professional recruiter. Vol State alumni Steve Delabar got that call twice and the latest is providing a big second chance with the Seattle Mariners. It's a story right out of the movies.
Delabar pitched for the Pioneers ten years ago. He blew out his elbow in the 2001-2002 baseball season and there were grave concerns about his major league hopes. In 2004, he finally made it to the San Diego Padre's minor league team and spent the next five years working through his injury in single A ball. The final straw came after he broke his elbow. Doctors wired it together using screws and a plate. Delabar left baseball and returned to his home of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. He worked as a substitute teacher and coached baseball for the local high school. All the while, he never stopped chasing the dream of pitching in the majors.
"I'm telling you, when it comes to baseball he is obsessed. Whether playing, working, or watching it on TV, it is all he thinks about," said Joel Lynn, assistant baseball coach at Vol State. "He had already blown his elbow out before I got here. He was good, but he was not what he is now. During rehab he struggled throwing strikes, and by the fifth inning he was out of the game. If you watch him now. . . he pounds the strike zone, and I would attribute that to maturity."
"When he was here his velocity was probably 91-93 mph, but now he is pitching in the big league at 97-100 mph," said Vol State Baseball Coach Mike Crossland.
If it all sounds familiar, it should be. The story mirrors that of Jim Morris who was the subject of a 2003 movie called "The Rookie".
The 28 year-old Delabar was signed by the Seattle Mariners in 2001 and made his major league debut in September of that year. The broadcast announcers talked breathlessly about the amazing second chance for Delabar as he took to the mound for the first time. The real moment came a few minutes later as Delabar blew 96 mile per hour pitches past the Kansas City Royals, retiring the side.
"He's a good kid from a good family," said Crossland. "This is good for him and his wife Jamie."
For more information about Pioneer Baseball visit: www.volstate.edu/athletics
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