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Who was the former New York Mets legend and catcher John Stearns?

From All-Star catcher, to coach, to manager, John Stearns was a respected man who saw all sides of MLB and the league will remember him for it.

Who was the former New York Mets legend and catcher John Stearns?
Brad PennerUSA TODAY Sports

MLB has lost another legend, as reports have confirmed the passing of former New York Mets catcher and four-time All-Star John Stearns. The “Bad Dude” was 71.

Former Mets catcher John Stearns passes away

According to reports, former New York Mets catcher and icon John Stearns passed died on Thursday night in his hometown of Denver, Colorado, following a long battle with cancer. Stearns, who was 71 years old at the time of his death, had most recently been seen at the team’s Old Timers’ Day ceremony on August 27th.

“No one played the game with more spirit or determination than John Stearns,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said. “He literally willed himself to attend Old Timers’ Day last month so he could visit friends and old teammates. Despite his illness, he even managed to step into the batting cage to take a few swings. His nickname, ‘Bad Dude’ couldn’t have been more appropriate. A four-time All-Star, John was one of the most complete catchers in Mets history. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.”

Who was John Stearns?

It was back in 1973 in the amateur draft, that the Phillies selected Stearns with the No. 2 overall pick. As fate would have it, Stearns was then traded to the Mets in a six-player trade, which involved notorious reliever Tug McGraw moving to Philadelphia in December of 1974. Stearns would play his first full MLB season in 1977 and go on a prolific six-year run, during which time he batted .265/.345/.382 across 700 games. The Mets catcher would be selected to the All-Star team in 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1982, but unfortunately it wouldn’t be long before injuries would end his career.

Interestingly, Stearns would return to the game of baseball in various capacities such as a scout, coach, and then finally as a manager. In his role as a coach, he served as Yankees bullpen coach in 1989. Later, in 2000, Stearns would serve as the Mets bench coach and then as the team’s third base coach in 2001. There were also a number of minor-league assignments on his CV. Regarding his managerial roles, Stearns served with the Mets, Brewers, Yankees, Blue Jays, Reds, Nationals and Mariners. Additionally, he was occasionally involved in broadcast work for ESPN. John Stearns is survived by his son, Justin, his brothers, Richard and William, and his sister, Carla.


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