Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Thursday, December 2, 2010

1976 Topps #633 - John Stearns

  • John Stearns was the second player taken in the 1973 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. The first player drafted was David Clyde and the next two were Robin Yount and Dave Winfield. John played in the minors in 1973 and 1974 and got into one game (0 for 2) with the Phillies at the end of the 1974 season.
  • The Phillies had Bob Boone coming up, so they packaged Stearns in a trade for Tug McGraw after the 1974 season. Stearns played for the Mets for the entire 1975 season as Jerry Grote's backup and batted .189 in 59 games. John started the 1976 season with the Mets but wasn't getting much playing time and asked to be sent to AAA Tidewater in mid-May in order to have an opportunity to prove himself. Stearns came back to the Mets in September and ended up batting .262 in 32 games for the Mets in '76.
  • Stearns became the starting catcher for the Mets in 1977 and had his two best years in 1977 and 1978. John made the NL All Star team in 1977 (he was behind the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning) and batted .251 with 12 HR and 55 RBI. In 1978 John batted .264 with 15 HR and 73 RBI. He also set a  major league record for catchers by stealing 25 bases.
  • John was an All Star again in 1979 but didn't get in the game. The NL had a total of five catchers on the team that year, but only Bob Boone and Gary Carter played in the game. Johnny Bench and Ted Simmons were also on the team but were probably replaced due to injury. Stearns played in 155 games in 1979 (121 behind the plate) and batted .243 with 9 HR and 66 RBI. John Stearns: Good and He's Getting Better - August 1979 Baseball Digest
  • Stearns had his finger broken by a foul tip on July 26, 1980 and the injury ended his season. John had stopped hitting for power in 1980 and batted .285 with no home runs. Stearns also made the NL All Star team again and was 0 for 1 in the game.
  • In 1981 Stearns batted .271 with 1 HR in 80 games. John was an NL All Star for the fourth and final time in 1982 (he caught in the top of the 9th inning). Stearns batted .293 with 4 HR in 98 games in 1982, but he didn't appear behind the plate after mid-August due to elbow tendonitis. 
  • John was unable to throw in 1983 (he had elbow surgery in June) and made only four pinch running appearances during the season. Stearns played in only eight games in 1984 and batted .176 in 17 AB. After the 1984 season the Mets acquired Gary Carter and Stearns became a free agent. John attempted a comeback with the Cincinnati Reds in 1985 but retired in mid-May after being hit by a pitch. He tried out with the Texas Rangers in 1986 but was cut in spring training.
  • Stearns worked for several teams as a scout and as a coach after his playing career. John is now managing in the Washington Nationals system.
  • John had the nickname "Bad Dude" and he lived up to that nickname several times:
  • Liked to face: Randy Jones (.522 in 23 AB); Jim Bibby/Bruce Sutter (.400 in 25 AB)
  • Hated to face: Al Holland (.000 in 11 AB); Vida Blue (.045 in 22 AB); Mike Krukow (.074 in 27 AB)


1 comment:

  1. I liked Stearns. He was awesome ... and a bad dude. I always wondered why he posed with his fingers out like that on the bat.