The Wasted Baseball Career of Steve Howe

Very few of us have the talent required to play major league baseball. Steve Howe did and threw it all away. I was saddened to read that he had died recently when his truck rolled over in Coachella, CA.

You may not remember the name Steve Howe, but I do. You heard his name a lot in the 80s – sometimes for good reasons, but mostly for bad. He was a promising young pitcher drafter in the first round by the prestigious Los Angeles Dodgers. And, he performed well for them his first year, earning 17 saves and being named National League Rookie of the Year. He was named to the All-Star team in 1981.

But, by 1982, his drug usage had become a problem and he entered rehab. In June 1983, he was fined a month’s salary ($53k) and place on probation for admitting to using drugs. In July 1983, he was suspended again for reporting late to a game. He missed a team flight to Atlanta in September 1983 and was suspended indefinitely by the Dodgers for cocaine use. He was suspended by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn in 1984 for testing positive for cocaine use. By July 1985, the Dodgers had had enough. The team released him two days after missing a game against Atlanta.

Baseball still thought Steve was a hot commodity and the Minnesota Twins quickly picked him up in August of 1985, only to release him a month later for missing three games due to his drug addiction. He went to the California League in 1986 and was suspended a mere two months later for testing positive for cocaine. The Texas Rangers purchased his contract in July of 1987 and he agreed to a two year, $1.2 million dollar contract with them in November of that year. That lasted six months until Texas released him for violating an aftercare program by using alcohol. His contract was purchase by the New York Yankees in May 1991 and by December 1991; he was arrested on cocaine charges in Montana. In June 1992, Commissioner Fay Vincent suspended him from Major League Baseball permanently, although he was later reinstated in November 1992.

Overall, Steve was suspended seven times from Major League Baseball. Given plenty of second chances, he wasted them all and seemed to symbolize the problem cocaine had become in the 80s. Friends say he finally seemed to have his life together lately. He was the owner of an energy drink company and was returning from business when he was killed on April 28, 2006 at the age of 48.

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