By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

On May 9th of this year we posted a story about lifelong Cleveland Indians fan Steve Sparks from the Houston Hardball League, who was also a many time MSBL World Series veteran and known by many around the country. Steve was one tough Texan who was diagnosed with cancer late last year yet kept his spirits up with a hope for a return to the field and the ability to play again alongside his compatriots in Houston. It is with deep regret that I inform you that Steve lost his battle with cancer on June 8th. Below is Steve’s obituary along with some comments from his closest friends:

Steven D. Sparks, 72, of Spring, Tx passed away Thursday morning, June 8th, 2017. At the time of death he was residing at Vitas Healthcare Inpatient Hospice in Shenandoah, Tx. Steve was born on January 26, 1945 in New York City to Charles and Jean Sparks. He later moved to Metairie, LA and then finished High School in Connecticut. He attended college in Defiance, OH before transferring to the University of Houston.

He served in the United States Army from 1968 to 1971, including tours in Thailand and Saigon. He attained the rank of Specialist Six and, after receiving the Meritorious Service Medal, finished out his tour of duty in Hawaii. He held positions at Leopold, Price, and Rolle, Browning Ferris Industries, and retired from CBRE in 2015. He was a proud member of the Men’s Senior Baseball League since 1992 and played until November of 2016.

He is survived by his wife Kaye Sparks, his children Mark Hayes and his wife Ashley, Kandice Kaye, and Justin Sparks and his wife Christine, his grandchildren Kennedy and Haley Hayes, Jakob Guerrero, and Hunter Sparks, first wife Gail Hood, his brother Paul Sparks and his wife Linda and their children Frank and Kim Sparks, and his cat Norma Jean. He is preceded in death by his parents Charles Paul Sparks and Thedis Jean Sparks. Donations may be given to Vitas Healthcare or Cancers of America in his name.

“The Indians win it…Oh My God the Indians Win It!” – Major League

Here are a few comments from his closest friends and teammates:

“I came back to baseball after being out for nearly 3 years. First game back, I was walking past the opponents’ dugout, and Steve piped up, “Hi Warren, welcome back!” 3 things: One, he remembered my name, and he wasn’t even on my team! How did he do that? Two, he noticed I had been out and was concerned as to why. Three, he made me feel welcome. He cared and he made me feel glad I came back. He personified what our league is all about when we are at our best.”

“Yes, it’s a sad day but let’s also celebrate Steve as a great guy, a great friend and a great ballplayer who’s now starting at first base for one of the teams in the GSBL (God’s Senior Baseball League).”

“Even though we all knew Steve was in an enormous battle, it is still a huge shock. He was an amazing guy, amazing man of Baseball. A true Baseball Player. Great team player, and had a love for the true game of baseball, the way it was intended. A true gentleman playing a gentleman’s game, with class and camaraderie. I will miss him. We will all miss him. Baseball will miss him. But we will always remember Steve Sparks. A great friend.”

To read Steve’s complete story from May 9th click on his locker room picture above.