Steve’s professional career spanned 13 years and included numerous leagues and countries. Former teammates include Ken Griffey, Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Tony Fernandez and Dave Stieb among others. He was the 10th Canadian-born player to play for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Steve grew up in Victoria BC where he started his baseball career at Fireman’s Park. He then went on to play at Carnarvon Park, Henderson Park and Lambrick Park. During his minor league days, Steve played on several All Star and select teams (including Team BC.) In 1990/91 he was selected to play for the National Baseball Institute (NBI) as one of the top players from across Canada. This team was coached by John Harr, both a Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and BC Sports Hall of Fame inductee.
His breakthrough year came in 1991 when he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 28th round of the Major League draft. His career started in the Pioneer League in Medicine Hat, Alberta. During his career, Steve also had stops in the Gulf Coast League (Florida), South Atlantic League (Hagerstown, Maryland), Florida State League (Dunedin, Florida) and the International League (AAA Ball) at Syracuse, New York.
Steve briefly retired from baseball in 1996 after pitching for the Dunedin Blue Jays. While playing Senior Men’s League in Victoria at Lambrick Park, Steve got the itch to play professionally again and contacted the Blue Jays for another opportunity to make the team. He pitched well during spring training and once again returned to Dunedin. After experiencing a substantial increase in velocity almost overnight, he moved into the closer role for the team.
In early August, Steve was promoted to AAA Syracuse to finish the season. That winter, Steve went to Mexico City to pitch for Canada in the Olympic qualifier. That year, he also travelled to Venezuela where he ended up playing four seasons from 1997-2000. Steve played a key role in winning the Championship in 1997/98 as a player with Lara Cardenales. Steve currently holds the record for saves as a left-handed reliever with 15 saves in the 1997/98 season. It was during that winter ball season at the Caribbean World Series that he was added to the 40-man roster and invited to major league spring training.
Steve made his major league debut pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Chicago White Sox on April 25, 1998. That season, he posted his best result with a 3.60 ERA in 15 innings as a situational left-handed reliever. In 1999, Steve had his best minor league season posting a 3-2 record with a 2.18 ERA and 18 saves. That year he was chosen to play in the AAA All-star game in New Orleans, LA. He also played for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs in the minor leagues. Steve was traded to the Seattle Mariners on July 28, 1999. Unfortunately he injured his elbow in the first game and was unable to recover from the injury.
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A true "diamond" on the diamond, Bill Prior was one of the greatest baseball players to come out of Victoria. He was a lanky pitcher who could throw a hot ball from the mound began playing senior amateur ball with Pitzer & Nex at the tender age of 16. The Second World War prevented him from turning pro but he threw for the Army team during the war and he wasn't bad with the bat either. He hit a remarkable .773 for the soldier's team in 1944 and in the following year, Bill helped lead the Canadian Army team in Europe to the overseas league title as a star reliever. At age 25 he started a nine-season career of pro ball with the Victoria Athletics and Tyees franchises at Royal Athletic Park from 1946 to 1954. He was a crowd favourite and was instrumental in helping the Tyees win the Western International League pennant in 1952. After his years as a player, Bill continued his love affair with the sport by becoming a yeoman coach and fund-raiser for youth baseball in Victoria.