He and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters, Alexa (Aug. 31, 1993) and Chloe (March 30, 1999), and a son, Blake (Feb. 2, 1996), and make their home in Sugar Land...attended Sam Houston State University...during the offseasons while in the minor leagues he waited tables and served as a substitute teacher.2005Split the season between Triple-A Portland and Triple-A Sacramento...signed by the San Diego Padres as a free agent on Jan. 20 and re-assigned to Sacramento on April 2...granted his release on April 26...signed by Oakland to a minor league contract as a free agent on May 14 and made his first start with the River Cats on May 15 vs. New Orleans...finished 5-5 with a 6.95 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts) with Sacramento...pitched 7.0 shutout inning on May 21 vs. Omaha for the win...while with Portland, he went 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three starts...tossed 8.0 innings with one earned run on April 20 vs. Fresno.2004Began the year in rotation before shifting to the bullpen when club wanted to give younger pitchers opportunities...Pitched just nine times in Arizona's final 66 games...Made 18 starts and was 2-7 with a 6.00 ERA in that role.2003Steve was used exclusively in relief for the first time in his career, after making 164 big league starts and just 26 relief
appearances prior to 2003...his 107.0 innings led all Major League relievers, the most since Cincy's Scott Sullivan tossed
113.2 frames in 1999...Sparks began the season with Detroit but he was released on August 27 and signed a minor league
contract Oakland on August 30...he was assigned to Midland (AA) but did not report and joined the A's on September 2...he
appeared in 9 games with the A's, posting a 5.71 ERA...he tossed a scoreless inning on September 9 against Anaheim in an
8-1 Oakland victory, marking the first time he appeared in a game that his team won since May 22 at Cleveland while pitching
for Detroit, a span of 31 consecutive appearances in which his club lost...he spent the first 5 months of the season with
the Tigers and was 0-6 with 2 saves and a 4.72 ERA in 42 appearances...Sparks lost his last 5 decisions of 2002 and entered
2004 with an 11-game losing streak dating back to his last win on August 16, 2002...he led A.L. relievers in most grounded
into double plays (18), while first batters faced hit just .143 (6 for 42), the fifth lowest mark among relievers...he had two
outings over 5.0 innings, including 6.2 innings on April 4 at Chicago and 7.2 innings on June 1 against New York, the two
longest relief outings of his career...he tied a career relief best with 4 K's on June 1 vs. the Yankees...posted a 3.09 ERA
(11 earned runs in 32.0 innings) over his first 16 outings through May 25, recording both of his saves on the season during
that stretch: May 5 at Baltimore and May 22 at Cleveland, the second and third saves of his career.2002
Inconsistent in his third season with the Tigers, but still managed to tie for the lead on the pitching staff with eight wins, 30 games started and three complete games.
Second on the staff in innings pitched (189.0) and strikeouts (98).
Second in the American League with 238 hits allowed, tied for second with 16 losses and 134 runs allowed and third with 116 earned runs allowed.
His 5.52 ERA, .306 batting average against, .486 opponents slugging percentage and 15.1 baserunners per nine innings were highest among all league pitchers...his .366 opponents on-base percentage was second-highest.
Fanned 4.67 batters per nine innings, second-lowest among pitchers in the American League...struck out 1.46 batters per walk, second-worst in the league...tied for fifth in the league with 12 hit batsmen.
Threw the seventh-most pitches per batter faced in the American League, 3.55.
His 5.93 ERA on the road was the worst in the American League, while his 5.05 ERA at home was third-worst.
Second among league pitchers with 55 doubles allowed and third with 86 extra-base hits surrendered...16 of his 23 home runs allowed came on the road, tied for sixth-most in the American League.
Third among league pitchers with 2.76 chances per nine innings.
Fired a two-hitter on April 30 versus Kansas City, his first complete game of the season -- the two hits allowed in a complete game effort established a career-low for Sparks...retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced, carrying a one-hitter into the ninth inning before allowing a solo home run to Carlos Beltran.
Earned Tigers Pitcher of the Month honors for April, going 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA (42.0IP/14ER) in six starts.
Took the loss in his second complete game of the season May 6 at Minnesota, allowing three runs on 11 hits in eight innings of work.
Failed to work out of the second inning May 11 at Texas, allowing seven runs on eight hits in 1.1 innings for the loss...was the shortest start of his Tigers career and the shortest of his major league career since he lasted just one inning on July 16, 1998 versus Tampa Bay while with the Anaheim Angels.
Struggled in May and June, losing six of his seven decisions...posted an 8.53 ERA (50.2IP/48ER) and allowed the opposition to hit .374 (86x230) with him on the mound during his 10 appearances (nine starts).
Made his first relief appearance since June 17, 2001 at Arizona on June 5 against Boston, allowing two runs on five hits in four innings...moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen following his start June 9 versus Philadelphia due to upcoming off days, although he did not appear in relief during the stretch before returning to the rotation on June 21 at Florida.
Matched a career high with seven walks allowed in a win over the White Sox at Comiskey Park on July 4.
Fanned a season-high nine batters July 21 versus Minnesota, taking the loss after allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits in 6.2 innings.
Won four of his five starts July 27-August 16, including three straight starts August 6-16...over the five-start stretch, he posted a 2.70 ERA (36.2IP/11ER).
Tossed his third complete game of the season August 6 versus Texas, striking out eight batters and allowing two runs on seven hits in nine innings.
Lost each of his final five decisions August 21-September 18, establishing a career-long losing streak ...over his final seven outings (six starts), he allowed 32 runs (29 earned) on 49 hits in 35.1 innings (7.39 ERA).
Sent to the bullpen after his start on September 5 versus New York at Yankee Stadium, he appeared in relief on September 11 at Minnesota and worked 4.1 scoreless innings.
Returned to the starting rotation to make two more starts, September 18 against Minnesota and September 25 at Kansas City, after Mark Redman was shut down for the remainder of the season with a tired arm.
Enjoyed a career year in 2001 as he was named the
Tigers Player of the Year by the Detroit Chapter of the
Continued to showcase his durability, pitching a major-league
best eight complete games (all of them
wins)...fourth in the AL and ninth in the majors with a
career-high 232.0 innings pitched.
Paced Tigers starters with a 3.65 ERA, his lowest
Ranked eighth in the ALwith 3,554 pitches thrown and
fourth with an average of 107.21 pitches per start.
Took the loss in his first start for the Tigers this season,
April 9 at Minnesota -- threw 132 pitches in 5.2 innings
and allowed eight runs (four earned)on nine hits includ-ing
two home runs.
Rebounded with a shutout in his next start, April 14
versus Cleveland...allowed only four hits and fanned five
Did not pitch more than 6.1 innings in his next three
starts...walked four and allowed three runs (one earned)
on seven hits in 5.1 innings April 20 at Cleveland.
Walked a career-high seven batters and took the loss
April 24 versus Baltimore (6.0,4,5,5,7,2).
Did not factor in the decision in his next four appearances
(three starts) May 1-13.
Went eight innings and allowed two runs on only three
hits May 6 at Anaheim...issued four walks.
Gave up nine hits and allowed five runs and a wild
pitch in 4.2 innings in his start May 11 versus Anaheim.
Made his first relief appearance since August 12, 2000
on May 13 against Anaheim, retiring one of the two batters
Earned his first win since April 14 on May 17 at
Baltimore, giving up five runs on eight hits including four
Allowed two home runs but got the win May 28 versus
Cleveland, tossing 6.1 innings.
Carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed
just one hit through seven before giving up four runs on
four hits in the eighth inning of a 9-6 extra-inning loss at
Comiskey Park against theWhite Sox on June 3.
Fanned five and allowed just one earned run in seven
innings June 9 at Milwaukee...struck out 17 in a four-game
span May 23-June 9 (27.0IP) with only five walks
in that span.
Made his first career start against the Pirates on June
14, earning his fourth win despite giving up 11 hits in six
Appeared in relief for the second time this season on
June 17 at Arizona, allowing a hit in one inning of work.
Needed only 85 pitches to dispose of the Yankees on
June 19 in a 7-1 complete game win...gave up just three
hits and faced only 28 batters without leaving any runners
Snapped a four-game winning streak and a string of
10 straight starts without a loss on June 24 versus
Minnesota...allowed seven runs (five earned) on nine hits
in 5.2 innings as the Tigers lost 14-5...was the longest
streak without a loss since David Wells went 13 starts in
Established a season high with seven strikeouts June
29 at Minnesota...was named Tigers Pitcher of the Month
for June as he finished with a 2-1 record and a 3.32 ERA
(43.1IP/16ER) in seven games (six starts).
Gave up only one run on five hits in eight innings July
5 versus Kansas City...allowed only one run in his next
start as well, July 13 at St. Louis as he notched his third
Posted a 1.50 ERAover three starts June 29-July 13,
allowing only four earned runs over 24.0 innings with 15
strikeouts and two walks.
Took the loss in the day game of a day-night double-header
on July 18 versus the Yankees, giving up two
runs on three hits in the first inning.
Allowed a season-high 12 hits, his most allowed since
July 7, 1999 as he took the loss July 24 at New York
Twirled his fourth complete game in his next start, July
29 versus Cleveland (9.0,5,3,2,1,7).
Struggled in his shortest start of the season, August 4
versus Oakland...gave up eight runs on seven hits in 4.1
innings in a 10-1 Tigers loss.
Faltered again in his start August 9 at Texas...lasted 4.2 innings and allowed six runs on 11 hits (four doubles).
Allowed only one run on seven hits but did not get the
decision in start August 15 versus Anaheim (seven strike-outs).
Held the Mariners to one run on five hits and fanned
seven for the second strai ght start August 20 at
Seattle...was his fifth complete game effort of the season
Took the loss at Oakland on August 25 as he went 6.1
innings and gave up five runs (three earned) on eight
Set a career high with his 10th win, August 31 at
Toronto...tossed 8.1 innings and allowed three runs.
Made his career-high 28th start but took the loss
September 5 at Comiskey Park versus the Whi te
Sox...walked five and allowed three doubles
Set a career mark with his 97th strikeout on September
10 versus Minnesota, one of six strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
Rang up his sixth complete game September 19 at
Minnesota, allowing just one earned run on a solo homer.
Tossed three complete games over his last four starts
and went a combined 35.0 innings in that span with a
Picked up his 12th win with an eight-inning effort
September 24 at Kansas City (8.0,8,2,2,3,5).
Pitched his seventh complete game September 29 ver-sus
Boston, giving up two runs on eight hits.
Finished the 2001 season with his eighth complete
game performance October 6 versus Kansas City...
allowed just one run -- a solo homer -- on 10 hits.
Earned Tigers Pitcher of theMonth honors for his outstanding
efforts in September and October.
Pitched eight-or-more innings 12 times in his 33 starts,
and went seven-or-more innings 16 times.
Was extremely consistent, posting a 3.65 ERA in 17
home games and a 3.64 mark on the road...had a 3.56
ERAin day games and a 3.68 ERAat night...held a 3.77
mark before the All-Star break compared to a 3.53 afterward.
The Tigers purchased his contract fromTriple A Toledo
June 20, 2000...made his Tigers debut that same day,
tossing a scoreless inning of relief at Toronto.
Made his first start for the Tigers June 24 at
Cleveland in the day game of the day-night doubleheader,
taking the loss...allowed eight runs on nine hits in innings.
Recorded his first major league save June 28 versus
the New York Yankees, allowing two runs on four hits three innings.
Appeared in relief July 4 at Tampa Bay before being
optioned to Toledo July 6.
Recalled from Toledo to start the night game of the
day-night doubleheader against Kansas City July
22...did not figure in the decision, tossing five innings,
as the Tigers rallied late for a 10-6 win.
Earned his first win with the Tigers August 5 against
Minnesota, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings.
Tied a career high with a six-game winning streak
August 5-September 1, posting a 2.01 ERA
(44.2IP/10ER) in seven outings.
Hurled 19.1 scoreless innings August 10-21, the second
longest scoreless innings streak on the Tigers staff
(Todd Jones - 21.2IP).
Did not allow a home run in eight consecutive
appearances August 12-September 15, tossing 51.0
innings during that span.
Tossed the first shutout of his major league career,
limiting Seattle to five hits August 15.
Struck out a season-high seven batters in a win over
Oakland August 21, allowing one unearned run on four
hits in 6.2 innings.
Named the American League Pitcher of the Month
and the Tigers Pitcher of the Month for August...posted
a 5-0 record with a 1.69 ERAin six appearances,
allowing eight runs (seven earned) in 37.1 innings...lim-ited
opponents to a .188 batting average (25x133).
Led all American League pitchers with a 1.69 ERA
that month and tied with teammate Brian Moehler and
the Yankees Andy Pettitte for the league lead with five
Lost three straight decisions September 6-19, posting
a 4.63 ERA(23.1IP/12ER).
Matched a season high with seven strikeouts in his
loss at Toronto September 10.
Defeated the Yankees September 25, allowing four
runs on 10 hits in eight innings.
In 15 starts with the Tigers, he posted a 7-5 record
with a 4.16 ERA(97.1IP/45ER)...finished with a 2.70
ERA(6.2IP/2ER) in five relief outings.
Limited the opposition to a .263 batting average
(108x411)...opponents hit .269 (25x93) with runners in
Posted a 5-11 record with a 5.42 ERAin 28 games (26
starts) for Anaheim in 1999.
Tied for third in the American League by limiting the
lead-off hitter in an inning to a .275 on-base percentage.
Did not pitch after September 5 due to a torn right
Led the team in hit batters (9) and tied for lead in
Tied a major league record on May 22 at Tampa Bay
by hitting four batters in a nine-inning contest and three
consecutive batters in one inning.
Struck out a season-high seven batters on April 13 at
Longest outing of the season was May 29 versus
Kansas City, tossing 8.1 innings in a 4-3 win.
Collected his first major league hit, a two-run double,
on June 8 at San Francisco.
Relief appearances came on July 11 at Colorado (1.0
IP, 1 SO) and September 5 versus New York (1.2 IP, 3
H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB).
Base stealers were successful on 10-of-14 attempts
(71 percent)...recorded three pick-offs, one as a pick-off
Allowed three earned runs-or-less in 16-of-26 starts.
Limited opponents to a .214 batting average (3x14)
with the bases loaded...opponents hit .282 (42x149)
with runners in scoring position.
Had his contract purchased by the Angels on June 15,
Finished 9-4 with a 4.14 ERAas a starter and 0-0
with a 7.71 ERAin two relief appearances.
Won his first three starts, June 15-25, posting a 3.60
Posted a career-best six-game winning streak July
Pitched into the seventh inning-or-later in 14-of-20
starts...allowed three earned runs-or-less in 14-of-20
Limited opponents to a .229 batting average (27x118)
with runners in scoring position.
Twelve of 14 home runs allowed were solo.
Recorded five pick-offs, one as a pick-off caught
stealing...base stealers were successful on 10-of-14
attempts (71 percent).
Did not pitch in 1997...underwent bTommy Johnb surgery
on June 12 to repair a soft tissue tear in his right elbow.
Posted a 4-7 record with Milwaukee in 20 appearances
during the 1996 season.
Earned his first win of the season April 18 at Kansas
City...lasted seven innings, allowing one run on seven
Tossed seven shutout innings to earn a 2-0 win over
the Tigers on July 1.
Made his major league debut on April 28, 1995 versus
Oakland...tossed two innings, allowing one hit, one run,
two walks and striking out three batters.
Led the Brewers with 202.0 innings and 96 strike-outs.
Made his first start on May 19 at Texas...earned a 1-0
win, not allowing a run on five hits in 7.1 innings.
Struck out a career-high 10 batters at Detroit on
September 14, tossing 7.1 innings.