Former New York Mets catcher John Stearns, a four-time All-Star, died Thursday night in Denver after a battle with cancer. He was 71.
Stearns batted .260 with 46 homers and 312 RBIs in 810 career games from 1974-84. He was a National League All-Star in 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1982.
“No one played the game with more spirit or determination than John Stearns,” read a statement from Mets president Sandy Alderson. “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.”
Stearns played one game in 1974 with the Philadelphia Phillies, who drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick in 1973 before trading him to the Mets on Dec. 3, 1974.
Stearns was also drafted by the NFL’s Buffalo Bills in the 17th round in 1973 as a defensive back out of the University of Colorado.
After a playing career shortened by elbow injuries, Stearns worked as a scout for several teams and as a coach with the New York Yankees (1989), Baltimore Orioles (1996-97) and Mets (2000-01).
Stearns is survived by his son, Justin; brothers Richard and William; and his sister, Carla.
–Field Level Media