Steve Clevenger

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Steven Scott Clevenger

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Biographical Information[edit]

Catcher Steve Clevenger reached the majors with the Chicago Cubs in 2011, playing sparingly in parts of six seasons.

Clevenger grew up in Baltimore and played high school baseball 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 the seventh round of the 2006 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Keith Stohr for a reported $150,000 and began his 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 RBI in 65 games between the two clubs. Between Daytona and the AA Tennessee Smokies the following year, he hit .298 with 54 RBI over 113 games. Clevenger split 2009 between Tennessee and the AAA Iowa Cubs, hitting .290 in 94 games between the two levels. He spent the entirety of 2010 with Tennessee, hitting .317 with 5 home runs and 47 RBI and making the Southern League All-Star team. Steve 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 .407 in 25 games.

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, his second and final game of the season. 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 RBI. He only played 5 games at Iowa that year, hitting .462. He started the 2013 season with the Cubs but was injured after eight April games, in which he went 1-for-8. On July 2nd, Clevenger was included in a trade that saw him and Scott Feldman go to the Baltimore Orioles for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. The Orioles called him up in September and he played 4 games, 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 rehab assignments.

In 2014, with catcher Matt Wieters lost for the season in the early going, Steve ended up playing 35 games for Baltimore while sharing time with rookie Caleb Joseph and veteran Nick Hundley; he hit .225 with 8 RBI 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 Triple A, .305 in 75 games. He was called up again on August 15th and given an opportunity to play a bit more. On August 16th, he had a great day at DH against the Detroit Tigers, going 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. Steve ended the year with a .287 average in 20 games with 2 homers and 15 RBI.

On December 2, 2015, Steve was traded to the Seattle Mariners for outfielder/first baseman Mark Trumbo and pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser in a deal designed by Seattle to shed some salary, although the M's were also looking for catching help following a very difficult season by Mike Zunino. Steve was hitting .221 in 21 games in 2016 when, on June 29, he broke his right hand taking a foul ball off the bat of Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had been the sole backup 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 sent, commenting on riots taking place in Charlotte 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 and did not need an unwelcome distraction. The club announced that they were exploring their options for dealing with the situation. For his part, Clevenger issued a lengthy apology via reporter Ken Rosenthal, but the damage was done. The next day, the Mariners announced that he had been suspended for the remainder of the season without pay. Steve never played in the bigs again.

Unable to find a major league organization willing to give him a shot in 2017, he joined the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League. In 55 games, he hit .293 with 3 homers and 17 RBI. In 2018, he attended the special camp organized for unsigned free agents by the MLBPA as well as an open tryout open to everyone at Tigertown in Lakeland, FL, failing to catch on anywhere.

Related Sites[edit]

  • Bob Nightengale: "Mariners' Steve Clevenger should be released for insensitive tweets about protesters", USA Today Sports, September 23, 2016. [1]

Related Sites[edit]