Steve Renko III
Steve Renko III
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 225 lb.
- School University of Kansas
- High School Shawnee Mission South High School
Steve Renko III pitched for 12 seasons as a pro; his father Steve Renko Jr. played in the majors. Peaking at AAA, he pitched for 17 different teams in his career.
Renko III was 6-7 with a 3.77 ERA for the University of Kansas in 1990 and made all-Big Eight Conference. The Montréal Expos took him in the 23rd round of the 1990 amateur draft, one pick after Tom Wilson. Renko split the summer between the GCL Expos (1-0, 1 R in 5 IP) and Gate City Pioneers (3-4, 3.92, 68 K in 59 2/3 IP). He was 4th in the Pioneer League in strikeouts behind Mark Mimbs, Gene Mirabella and a kid named Pedro Martinez. In 1991, he was with the Rockford Expos (4-5, 3.18, 102 K in 99 IP) and West Palm Beach Expos (0-1, 8 R in 9 IP).
Moving to the Boston Red Sox chain, Renko was with the Winter Haven Red Sox (3-5, 3.96) and Lynchburg Red Sox (1-1, 3.93) in 1992. He spent 1993 with the Toronto Blue Jays' Hagerstown Suns (4-2, 5 Sv, 3.40) and Knoxville Smokies (1-3, 3.63). Continuing to wander, he was with the San Diego Padres' Wichita Wranglers in 1994 and struggled (3-8, 2 Sv, 5.03). Going to his fifth organization in five years, he was with the California Angels as a replacement player for the 1995 strike. He made it to AAA that summer, which he spent with the Midland Angels (3-5, Sv, 4.81) and Vancouver Canadians (2-5, 4.21). He tied for third in the Angels chain in losses behind Geoff Edsel and Jeff Schmidt.
Renko split 1996 between the Salinas Peppers (4-3, 3.75) and the Chicago Cubs' Iowa Cubs affiliate (2-0, 2.57 in 3 G). With the 1997 Madison Black Wolf, the veteran turned in a 8-10, 4.05 record. He was among the Northern League leaders in wins (tied for 8th), losses (tied for first with Randy Tomlin), innings pitched (160, 1st), hits allowed (159, 2nd to Jeremy McGarity), runs allowed (93, 1st), earned runs (72, 2nd, two behind Rodney Pedraza), strikeouts (110, tied for 4th with Allen Halley) and wild pitches (13, tied for first). In 1998, he was with the Bridgeport Bluefish (6-6, 2.41) and (briefly) the Chinatrust Whales (0-1, 5.40). He was second in the Atlantic League in ERA, .08 behind Mark Zappelli. Zappelli beat him out as the league's All-Star right-handed pitcher while Chris Eddy won Pitcher of the Year honors.
With Bridgeport for all of 1999, his 10th year in pro baseball but the first time he spent two summers with the same team, he was 12-6 with a 3.69 ERA. He then beat the Somerset Patriots in the league finale to give Bridgeport the title. He was among the Atlantic League's leaders in wins (tied for 4th with Justin Jensen) and ERA (6th, between Ray Davis and Alan Sontag). The Atlantic League named two All-Star right-handed starters this time, but went with Darrin Babineaux and Sontag. His third summer with Bridgeport was not nearly the same as the first two; Renko fell to 7-10, 7.34 with 171 hits in 117 2/3 innings. He tied for 6th in the loop in losses and was 5th with 111 runs allowed. He ended his career with the 2001 Somerset Patriots at a revived 4-2, 4.07.
Overall, Renko had pitched 272 minor league games (179 starts) and had gone 68-76 with 8 saves and a 4.17 ERA. In 1,232 1/3 IP, he allowed 1,317 hits and 425 walks while striking out 899.