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Friday, February 26, 2010

Steve Lankard, Wouldn't Quit - 152

Check out the revisited Steve Lankard feature: Steve Lankard, His Personality, 5/30/11

Drafted out of Long Beach State in the 20th round by the Rangers in 1985, Steve Lankard made it to AAA Oklahoma City by 1989.

In a feature story that July, Lankard told the Los Angeles Times about life in the minor leagues, and, the ultimate goal of making the majors.

"No way am I going to quit," Lankard told The Times. "I can taste it now."

Sometimes, quitting isn't the issue. The relief pitcher threw in 10 games for the 89ers that year, posting a 7.41 ERA. By the time 1990 came around, Lankard didn't do much better. In 26.1 innings, he posted a 5.13 ERA, not the mark a team wants in a relief pitcher and sometime closer.

Lankard made AA in 1988, having spent time as a closer at lower levels, sometimes not working out so well. In 1987, he took the loss in one July game, giving up three runs in the ninth to the Marlins, the old Florida State League Miami Marlins, Lankard was with the Charlotte Rangers.

Still, earlier that summer, he had been the only member of his team named to the Florida State League All Star Game, according to a Sarasota Herald-Tribune story.

That same story described Lankard has having hair so blond that it almost glowed. In his CMC photo, that hair almost looks gray, helping mak him look a good 15 years older than his real age of 27.

1990 proved his last recorded time in the minors. But, he would take another shot, in 1995, as a replacement player for the Phillies. Again, quitting wasn't the issue. The then-31-year-old was cut two days before the strike ended.

In the 1989 Times article, Lankard told of advice he would give to younger players, how talent isn't always enough to survive the minors.

"I would say, 'You've been told ever since you started playing the game, to have fun. If it's not fun, then get out of the game,' " he told the Times. "Work your butt off and strive for your goals."

Read the 1989 Times article: They Could Provide Some Major League Advice ... Just Ask

1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed: 62/880 - 7.1%
Made the Majors: 37 - 60%
Never Made the Majors: 25 - 40%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 16
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 20

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