Former Yankee Steve ‘Bye Bye’ Balboni
Steve "Bye Bye" Balboni with Matheny
student Jameir Warren-Treadwell.
When a Matheny School student asked Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni who his favorite baseball player was, the answer was an unexpected one, since Balboni spent much of his career with the New York Yankees. “I grew up in New Hampshire,” he said, “so I rooted for the Red Sox. My favorite player was Carl Yastrzemski.”
Balboni’s son, Daniel, is a behaviorist at Matheny, and he invited his father to come and speak to the elementary school students. “I’ve heard that you’re reading a baseball book (The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John Ritter),” Steve Balboni told the students. “It’s great to be here,” he added. “I have heard all about you from my son.”
Emphasizing the importance of teamwork and the close bonds that develop among players at both the major and minor league levels, Balboni, nicknamed “Bye-Bye” for all the home runs he hit, quickly traced his career as a first baseman and designated hitter. He played a total of five seasons with the Yankees, but, in between, spent four-plus seasons with the Kansas City Royals and part of a season with the Seattle Mariners. He finished his career with the Texas Rangers, retiring in 1993, and now lives in Watchung, NJ, and scouts for the San Francisco Giants.
Balboni was on the 1985 Kansas City Royals team that won the World Series, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals. In the 1985 season, he batted .243, hitting 36 home runs and driving in 88 runs.
During the Matheny visit, he was asked about his most memorable home run. “I loved them all,” he said, “but I guess my favorite was the first one, against the Oakland As in Oakland. Hitting home runs was a lot of fun; striking out wasn’t. I did both.”
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