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.


  1. Check out the teeny Angels logo on the hat on the back.

  2. 3 hits in 43 at bats. must be some kind of record for a non-pitcher

  3. Based on my own research it is not a record - the lowest batting average for any non-pitcher since 1901 with >= 43 at bats and <= 3 hits was .054 by Lyn Lary, who went 3 for 54 as a shortstop/2nd baseman for the 1940 St Louis Browns, his last season in the majors. Lary also played for the Yankees, and Babe Ruth called him “Broadway” because Lyn Lary loved the theater in New York, and Lary’s obituary in The Sporting News said he “tried his best to live up to the nickname the Babe hung on him. He was one of the best dressers in the majors and drove a big eight-cylinder car that had a silver nameplate on the door.”

  4. Damn Lucky he was not Kilked by that Nolan Ryan Fastball! Ouch!,,,