Last week’s version of Top Hitters in Milwaukee Brewers Minor League History featured Steve Stanicek and his 1987 season at Class AAA Denver. Stanicek will make a repeat performance with his season the year before at Class AA El Paso in this week’s edition of Top Hitters.
#12 Steve Stanicek, 1986 El Paso (AA)
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Stanicek lost points for being a bit older than league average (24 vs 25) and also because of playing at the hitter-friendly Dudley Stadium. But his season was still spectacular.
He played first base and third base, but his best body of work was while at the plate.
Stanicek led the league in several categories: runs (116), hits (167), doubles (40), walks (88), on-base percentage (.448), OPS (1.031), and total bases (284). He was second with 25 home runs and a .583 slugging percentage. His 93 RBIs were good for third, as was his .343 batting average.
For that performance, Stanicek earned Texas League Player of the Year honors for the league champion El Paso Diablos.
Stanicek would be called up for a cup of joe in 1987 and played the entire 1988 season at Denver, which consisted of only 27 games, due to spring knee surgery. He was released after the 1988 season and was signed as a free agent in early 1989 by Philadelphia. He played 103 games at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, hitting .285/.337/.443 in 406 plate appearances, including 25 doubles.
He was called up to the majors for the second time in September and played in nine games, going 1-for-9 with an RBI. His last at-bat was a 1-3 ground-out against the Montreal Expos’ Rich Thompson.
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Steve’s brother Pete also played in the majors, logging 113 games in the 1987-88 seasons for Baltimore.
Stanicek said later, in a 2014 interview with the Journal Online website, “As I look back on it, it was a great accomplishment for both of us to make it to the Major Leagues. However, Pete and I had been playing baseball together since we were kids, so we were having the same conversations about baseball games for 20 years, it was just at different levels.”
The following year (1990), Stanicek played a second season in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and slashed .282/.369/.407 in 493 trips to the plate. He also pitched for the first and only time in his professional career, tossing two and one-third innings in a pair of games, allowing three hits while striking out a single batter.
He hung up his spikes after that season but would later become a high school baseball coach in Illinois, both at Lockport and Glenbrook South.