The pitching representative for this ‘Phillies 50’ series on the least impactful player with each Phillies team from 1971-2019 is right-hander Steve Fireovid.
In October 1983, Fireovid was sent by the San Diego Padres to the Phillies as the player to be named later in completion of a deal between the two teams just two months earlier.
In that swap, outfielder Sixto Lezcano had been dealt to the Phillies to help bolster the lineup of a club that was competing for a division crown. The Phillies were to send players to be named, and had ultimately sent four prospects to the Padres on September 20.
Fireovid had already appeared in eight big league games on the mound with San Diego, including four starts among five appearances in 1981 and then another three in relief in 1983.
He did not pitch well while spending the 1984 campaign with the Phillies Triple-A affiliates at Portland, but received a promotion when rosters expanded in September anyway.
Over a half-dozen appearances that month, all in relief, Fireovid pitched well. He surrendered just one earned run on four hits over 5.2 innings pitched, striking out three opposition batters and walking none. And hey, he got to appear in the same lineup as future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.
A highlight of his time with the Phillies would come on the final day of the season. On that Sunday, September 30, 1984 he got to pitch in relief in both ends of a doubleheader, allowing two hits over 1.2 shutout innings against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates at Veterans Stadium.
The Phillies ended up releasing him at age 27 in November of 1984 and he would bounce through seven different MLB organizations over the next several years. The Chicago White Sox used him in relief for four games in 1985. In 1986, the Seattle Mariners used him 10 times, including what would be his fifth and final start in Major League Baseball.
While pitching for the Montreal Expos Triple-A affiliates at Indianapolis in 1990, Fireovid composed a journal of his experiences which in 1991 became a book titled “The 26th Man: One Minor League Pitcher’s Pursuit of a Dream” co-authored by Mark Winegardner.
After years in the minors, Fireovid resurfaced for one final big-league shot with the Texas Rangers in 1992, pitching in his final three games at age 35. That year, Fireovid earned the final win of his career in a relief appearance on Opening Day in a game started by a pair of legends, Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. He would hang on for one final season at the Triple-A level in the Rangers system before retiring.
In retirement, Fireovid would become a financial advisor in his hometown of Bryan, Ohio. “In 2000, I formed Fireovid Financial Group, Ltd,” he told the Johngy’s Beat blog back in 2011. “It’s a far cry from baseball, but I imagine most any occupation would be. I am involved in the community in areas I feel strongly about, but enjoy being a homebody for the most part. I certainly do not miss the travel associated with baseball.”