Saturday, August 28, 2010

How to Make The Major Leagues

For many years now I have known the secret to making it as a player in Major League Baseball.  In fact, this secret is so potent that I actually believe that it could be the key to creating the first woman big leaguer.  I've kept this under wraps for quite some time, hoping to use it myself, but in the spirit of sharing I've decided to go public.

Obviously there are certain things that will help a player achieve success in baseball.  You could be a genetic freak like Barry Bonds (son of former star Bobby Bonds and cousin of Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson) or Ken Griffey, Jr. (whose father was a key member of the 1970's "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds).  You could work hard to overcome size and speed limitations, like Pete Rose, David Eckstein, or my boyhood hero Larry Bowa.  Regardless of which route you take, it is expected that a future pro will hit thousands of balls each year, practice fielding for hours every day and follow a detailed workout and diet regimen.

Or you could do it my way...

According to, there are 44,385 people named John Smith in America.  This is unquestionably a popular name.  Since 1876, three people with this name have played major league baseball.  According to the same source, there are 50 people named Ethan Lewis at this point in time (we are a rare breed), and nobody with my name has ever played in the bigs.  The website also reveals that there are only 17 people in America named "Steve Ontiveros".   With such a miniscule number of people, it would be natural to assume that no Steve Ontiveros ever made the Show.  But that would be wrong. From 1973-2000, TWO DIFFERENT MEN calling themselves "Steve Ontiveros" played in the majors.

The first Steve Ontiveros (SO1) played 8 seasons for the Giants and Cubs from 1973-1980.  This Steve Ontiveros was a third baseman and utility player with a weedy mustache and a thin build. He was born in 1951 in Bakersfield, California. I remember him from when I was young, but he didn't stand out in any particular way.  I mean, it's not like the 9 year old me had an epiphany about the significance of Steve Ontiveros.  No.  That came later...

The second Steve Ontiveros (SO2) to make the majors pitched 10 seasons for the A's, Phillies, Mariners and Red Sox between 1985 and 2000, earning approximately $2 million for a 34-31 record and an ERA of 3.67. This Steve Ontiveros was a right handed pitcher with a weedy mustace and a thin build. When he first showed up on the scene, I thought it was a miraculous late-career position switch for SO1.  Even when I saw him on tv, I thought it was the same guy (just with different facial hair).  But soon I learned that SO2 was born in 1961 in Tularosa, New Mexico.  That was when I realized the key:

If you are named "Steve Ontiveros" you will make the major leagues!

If my wife and I ever  have children, I wil change my last name to "Ontiveros" immediately. Clearly naming a son "Steven" or and this is key a girl "Stephanie" is a must (obviously her nickname of "Stevie" will be on her baseball card).  Or, you could scour the various state departments of youth services and try to find a foster child already named "Steve Ontiveros".  Then all you need to do is buy the kid a glove and a bat and call some scouts.  The rest will take care of itself.  Remember, SO2 became a millionaire despite a very hittable fastball.  In today's big money game, imagine what SO3 could earn.  It goes beyond the dreams of avarice.  So good luck, Mr. or Ms. Ontiveros.  I look forward to watching your career!

1 comment:

  1. The only flaw in all this is that the website is not accurate. I know this because I checked my name (I know of at least three other "me"s currently alive) and got the result "1 or fewer"; my father's name (one he shares with a cousin) got a similar result. YMMV.

    On the other hand, changing your name can't hurt ;)