Sweet-swinging Stroughter dies at 65

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Visalia native Steve Stroughter emerged from Redwood High School to a 13-year career in professional baseball

@TheSunGazette

FRESNO – Another Visalia native involved in the sport of baseball has passed away. Outfielder Steve Stroughter died in Fresno earlier this month at the age of 65.

Born on March 15, 1952 Stroughter spent his childhood on the north side of Visalia. Quickly he grew to liking the game of baseball. It eventually grew into a love for the sport as he played on championship Little League teams. In 1970 he graduated from Redwood High School where he excelled in baseball, football, and basketball. Stroughter was also the school’s first African-American student body president.

After high school Stroughter played locally at College of the Sequoias. In 1971 he was drafted by San Francisco Giants, the first of four teams he played for in 13 seasons as a professional baseball player in the United States. He also played most of a full season in Japan for the Hashin Tigers in 1983. It was his last in a professional uniform.

Stroughter was primarily a minor league player. With the Giants he was only able to rise up to the AA level. While with the California Angles, and Seattle Mariners organizations he played AAA baseball. Finally in 1982 he played 26 games with the Mariners. In his debut season he had 47 at bats and one home run.

After his playing career ended Stroughter returned home to Visalia where he took on another role in the game he loved. He began to coach at the high school level, and gave private hitting lessons as well.

During his professional career he came to be known as Stevie Wonder. According to Indians’ manager, Rene Lachemann every time Stroughter hit the ball you were wondering what was going to happen.

Stroughter is survived by his wife Isabelle, a sister, and three granddaughters.

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