Friday, June 12, 2015
no. 421 - john stephenson
Who is the man: John Stephenson played a mere 23 games for the San Francisco Giants in 1970, batting a dismal .070. He was picked up by the Angels in the Rule 5 draft in November 1970.
Can ya dig it: Stephenson is wearing a Giants uniform in this photo.
Right on: Thanks to the blacked-out cap, Stephenson looks like your friendly neighborhood milkman.
You see that cat Stephenson is a bad mother: Not a lot of badness to be found in Stephenson's career. I guess the fact that he lasted 10 years in the majors despite a career .216 batting average and not being known as a particularly standout defensive catcher is pretty bad ass.
Shut your mouth: Stephenson, a backup catcher for the Mets for three years in the mid-1960s, caught Nolan Ryan after Ryan was first signed during a workout. Yogi Berra, Warren Spahn and a scout were there with Stephenson. "They told (Ryan) to throw a fastball, but they didn't tell me," Stephenson said. "He hit me on the left side of my collarbone and I had to miss a week."
No one understands him but his woman: Stephenson was also the catcher for Ryan's first major league strikeout.
(A word about the back): The write-up mentions Stephenson was the final batter to face Jim Bunning during his perfect game, but doesn't have the heart to tell you what happened in the at-bat. Stephenson struck out.