But he made it, and he soon proved his worth, posting a sub-2 ERA by early June, doing it by getting his breaking pitches over the plate, The Journal-World wrote.
"That's what I've been doing all year," Mingori told The Journal-World. "And that's why I've been successful."
Mingori ended up being successful enough to get himself into a total of 10 major league seasons, making the playoffs in three of them with the Royals.
He also was successful enough for a brief career in coaching, one where he didn't return to the bigs.
Mingori's career in baseball began in 1965, signed by the Reds as an amateur free agent out of Pittsburg State University in Kansas. He went to Pittsburg out of Kansas City's Rockhurst High School.
Mingori played his first two seasons largely at single-A Peninsula. In his second year there, he got to see the final pro start of Hall of Famer Satchel Paige. Mingori was the starter who was bumped, according to The Newport News Daily Press.
"I was in awe of Satchel Paige," Mingori told The Daily Press years later. "I remember watching him warm up, following him around, just watching everything he did before the game. I never saw a guy who could hit spots like that. Even at his age, he could hit a dime on home plate."
Mingori's career steadily progressed, making AAA Indianapolis for 1968. He moved to the Indians for 1970 in a trade, then made his major league debut that August.
In 21 outings for the Indians that year, Mingori posted a 2.66 ERA. He was even better in 1971, getting into 54 games, with a 1.43 ERA.
Mingori stayed with the Indians until into 1973, traded that June to the Royals. Returning to Cleveland in late-May, Mingori set down 12 in a row in a relief outing. He also got some boos from the Cleveland fans, The Associated Press wrote.
"I was hurt at first when I heard the crowd booing, " Mingori told The AP. "I got mad and it makes you pitch better."
Mingori ended up pitching six more seasons with the Royals, pitching in the playoffs in 1976, 1977 and 1978. He had three appearances each in the 1976 ALCS and he 1978 ALCS, giving up a single earned run. His only outing in the 1978 ALCS saw him go 3.2 innings, giving up three earned.
His playing career over, Mingori later started a coaching career. By 1987, he was coaching in the minors with the Blue Jays. For 1990, he served as pitching coach at single-A Myrtle Beach.
Mingori moved to AA Knoxville for 1991 and is last recorded as coaching there in 1993. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 64.
- Lawrence Journal-World, June 1, 1974: Booing doesn't bother Mingori
- Lawrence Journal-World, June 10, 1976: Steve silences talk of exodus as Royal
- Newport News Daily Press, Aug. 21, 1994: The Day Satchel Paige Pitched On The Peninsula
Made the Majors: 720 - 54.0%
Never Made Majors: 614-46.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 312
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 184