The Steve Blass Syndrome


Steve Blass was a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates who helped them win the World Series in 1971 and was an All Star in 1972. Then suddenly, he lost his ability to pitch and it never returned. What happened to Blass isn’t an anomaly. Other elite athletes have experienced the same loss of ability. In this article from Mental Floss Magazine, Jason (an intern) investigates other top athletes who were inflicted with Steve Blass Syndrome. It’s an interesting read along the lines of an earlier post of ours that explored The Sports Illustrated Jinx.

5 thoughts on “The Steve Blass Syndrome

  • July 31, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I lived in Pgh. during Blass’ good (and bad) years. There is a story that made the rounds regarding his problems. It went something like this: Dave Cash, the second baseman was messing with Blass’ wife. Take a look, and see if you remember how suddenly and without apparent reason Cash was traded to the Phillies.

    If someone was messing with your wife, that could put a whole lot of trouble into your head, and affect your mojo to the point that you, too, could not throw a strike.

    • October 25, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      There are all kinds of traumas that can interfere with focus and concentration. The margins for pitchers are extraordinarily small – not just in terms of the fine motor coordination involved, but in the ability to focus on the target…much less the kinesthetic awareness required to feel the “adjustments” with different kinds of pitches. This was truly one of the saddest cases in baseball. But there are positives too. Remember a couple of years ago when Jared Saltalamachia couldn’t get the ball back to the pitcher. He’s Boston’s ace-in-the-hole in the world series right now. Brainspotting is a very effective method and remedy for trauma induced neuromotor problems. Somatic experiencing, and EMDR methods show promise as well. Traditional CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) has limitations. These other methods can be most helpful. Thanks for the input,
      Stephen Walker, PhD

  • September 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    The Dave Cash with Karen Blass story is true.In addition,other cowards were involved..former Pirates such as Wilbur Stargell .
    Steve Blass did nothing to end it,but Manny Sanguillen did stop it all.

  • October 28, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    pirates of that era were a rogue team,hitters team,suspect pitching,ashamed what happened to steve blass


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