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John Stearns, Baseball & Football

  • 1973 All-American
  • 1973 NCAA Home Run Leader
  • 1972 Big Eight Batting Champion
  • Second Overall Pick by Philadelphia Phillies in 1973 Draft

A first-team All-Big Eight performer as a senior in 1972, Stearns was the team’s most valuable player that same season... Known as “Bad Dude,” he was one of the fiercest hitters in the old Big Eight and made a name for himself as one of the more colorful players in CU history... He set the career record for interceptions at Colorado with 16, a number that still stands some 36 years later, with his 18 pass deflections good for third at the time of his graduation... Pulled off perhaps the “gutsiest” play in school history, when he ran for a 12-yard gain out of the punt formation, from the Buff 10-yard line no less, on a 4th-and-9 play with CU nursing a 23-17 lead in the fourth quarter of the ’71 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl versus Houston’ CU went on to win and finish as the No. 3 team in the nation... In baseball at CU, he put up the most prolific numbers ever by a catcher in a Buff uniform, and was the 1972 Big Eight batting champion (.492), the 1973 NCAA home run leader (15) and an All-American as a senior in '73... Career baseball numbers: batting (.366), hits (169), runs scored (137), home runs (26), runs batted in (101), steals (48)... He was drafted in two sports: Buffalo snared him in the 17th round of 1973 NFL Draft, late on purpose because he was going to go the baseball route; two months later, Philadelphia selected him as the second overall pick, behind David Clyde, in the June baseball draft (Oakland had drafted him in the first round and ninth overall out of high school)... He spent less than two years in the minor leagues and ascended to the majors by the end of the ’74 season, playing for the first time on Sept. 22, 1974... Traded to the New York Mets during the off-season, he would spend the next 10 seasons with the Mets in becoming one of their most popular players of all-time... In 810 career big league games, he batted .260 (696 of 2,681), with 46 home runs and 312 runs batted in... He had 91 career steals and a .984 fielding percentage... After he retired from baseball, he has spent time as a coach and scout in the majors, working for the Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, and managed several years on the triple-A level... Currently the manager of the Washington Nationals AA team in Harrisburg, Pa. ... A member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

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