Bats: Right , Throws: Right
Born: November 13, 1928 in Nanticoke, PA
Drafted 29th as a minor league selection by the Los Angeles Angels from the Detroit Tigers in the 1960 expansion draft.
Entered game in the 7th as a pinch hitter for Fritz Brickell and doubled scoring Ted Kluszewski at Boston on April 17, 1961.
Steve Bilko was a slugging first baseman who played parts of ten seasons in the majors but is best remembered for being a huge star in the minors.
Bilko began his pro career with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. From 1949 to 1952, he was primarily with the Rochester Red Wings, seeing limited playing time in the majors each year as well. With Rochester in 1949, he .310 with 34 homers and a league-best 125 RBI. He became the Cardinals regular first baseman in 1953 and hit .251 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI but struck out 125 times. He was sent to the Chicago Cubs the next season before returning to the minors for several years.
With the Los Angeles Angels, he led the Pacific Coast League in home runs each year from 1955 to 1957. In 1955, he hit .328 with 37 homers and 124 RBI. The next year, he did even better, winning the PCL Triple Crown with a .360-55-164 line. In 1957, he batted .300 with 56 home runs and 140 RBI. In 2003 he was elected to the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame.
Following stints in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Detroit Tigers, Bilko was selected by the expansion Los Angeles Angels in the expansion draft in 1960. He hit 20 home runs and had a slugging average of .544 in 294 at-bats for the team in 1961 and succeeded in drawing fans to the stands. After playing for the Angels again in 1962, he returned to the Rochester Red Wings for 1963, his last year in pro ball.