With 12 Days Until Pitchers And Catchers Report, we honor former #12 John Stearns.
Why Stearns? If you are a loyal MetsToday reader, you know I have a special place in my heart for all catchers. Stearns in particular was one of my favorite players growing up; I tried emulate him, Jerry Grote, and Thurman Munson in my time behind the plate (and still do). You have to love his nickname, too — “Bad Dude”. And then there was the time he chased down and tackled Chief Noc-A-Homa prior to a game in Atlanta … how can you not love someone who brought the Braves’ mascot to the ground?
Stearns, in fact, was a tremendous athlete and a tough S.O.B. After leading the country in homeruns, he was the second overall pick by the Phillies in the 1973 draft (right behind high school phenom hurler David Clyde) and was also a 17th-round pick of the Buffalo Bills (he played in four bowl games as a defensive back for Colorado). Interestingly, Stearns was picked ahead of