Born: November 13, 1928|
Died: March 7, 1978 (aged 49)|
|September 22, 1949, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 14, 1962, for the Los Angeles Angels|
|Run batted in||276|
Stephen Thomas Bilko (November 13, 1928 – March 7, 1978) was an American professional baseball player known for his home run hitting as a minor league player during the 1950s. He was 20 years old when he broke into Major League Baseball on September 22, 1949, with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Bilko was a home run-hitting first baseman of the 1950s and early 1960s, who enjoyed his greatest fame with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League from 1955–1957. His greatest year came in 1956, when he won the PCL's Triple Crown with a .360 batting average, 55 home runs and 164 runs batted in. He was inducted into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame in 2003.
He also played for several major league teams, including the Los Angeles Angels of the American League in 1961 and 1962, but never enjoyed the success he had had with the PCL Angels in the 1950s. As an original Los Angeles Angel (American League version), he became the first player to play for both Los Angeles MLB teams.
His two most productive major league seasons were with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1953 with 21 HR and 84 RBI, and the Los Angeles Angels in 1961 with 20 HR and 59 RBI.
Bilko was listed as 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) tall, and 230 lb (100 kg), and was nicknamed "Stout Steve" during his career because of his ample girth.
During his brief stay with the Cubs, announcer Bert Wilson placed Bilko at the end of what he hoped would be a soon-to-be-famous double play combination of Ernie Banks, Gene Baker and Bilko. His name for that trio was "Bingo to Bango to Bilko".
- The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 934. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
- "Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame". BR Bullpen. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
- "Steve Bilko Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- "Ohio State Buckeyes Official Athletic Site". Ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Retrieved February 4, 2014.