“Very glad you were able to get to Old Timers Day and have the crowd cheer you again” “RIP to a great catcher and even better human being”

Longtime New York Mets catcher and four-time All-Star John Stearns has passed away following a bout with cancer, the team announced on Friday morning. He was 71.

Stearns was the No. 2 overall pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1973 amateur draft. He was traded to the Mets in 1974 and three years later, he played his first full season in the major leagues.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Met John Stearns.” – New York Mets

@Mets Tough as nails player during a brutal era for the Metropolitans. Rest in peace.

@Mets Thanks John, for the hard work and the 100% effort. Great Met.

@Mets 🧡💙🧡💙RIP to a great catcher and even better human being. Just surreal I just saw him at OTD and now he’s gone. Wow. My condolences to his family…

Stearns enjoyed the best spell of his career between 1977 and ‘82, hitting .265/.345/.382 in over 700 games. He earned his four All-Star call-ups during that period (1977, ‘79, ‘80, ‘82).

Injuries cut his career short, following which, he embarked on a career as a coach, scout, and manager.

He went on to work for several organizations, including the Brewers, Yankees, Blue Jays, Mariners, and a return to his beloved Mets. Stearns served as the Mets’ bench coach in 2000 and third base coach the year after.

To my generation of Met fans, John Stearns will forever be linked to his iconic “The monster is out of the cage” exclamation about Mike Piazza in the 2000 NLCS.https://t.co/M8HPOzOUBh

“To my generation of Met fans, John Stearns will forever be linked to his iconic “The monster is out of the cage” exclamation about Mike Piazza in the 2000 NLCS.” – John DeMarsico

Mets fans from all over the world have taken to Twitter to pay homage and offer their condolences.

@Mets “The monster is out of the cage.” Gone too soon 💔🙏

@Mets Truly a sad day for me and the Mets Family. R.I.P Bad Dude 🙏🙏

@Mets R.I.P. He was the first Mets player I met in person. He was actually sitting in a Mezzanine Box next to us at old Shea watching a game while he was on the DL. I remember he had a cast on. He was very nice and spoke with us for a bit.

John Stearns was present at Mets Old Timers’ Day

John Stearns was present at the Mets Old Timers’ Day only three weeks ago. He even stepped in for a swing of the bat before the game got underway.

@Mets It was a blessing to him and for all of us that he was able to be at the Old Timers’ Day celebration last month. Rest in Peace, John. https://t.co/c7Qcca7ivt

@Mets RIP Bad Dude. Very glad you were able to get to Old Timers Day and have the crowd cheer you again one last time.

One OTD-attending fan shared a video of Stearns walking away to a roaring round of applause from the crowd.

@Mets I was lucky to tell John how all #Mets fans feel about him as he left the field one last time at @mets Old Timer’s Day three weeks ago. 🙏⚾️ https://t.co/8y1Oy679gR

Mets President Sandy Alderson released a statement, saying that Stearns “literally willed himself” to make it to Old Timers’ Day.

“No one played the game with more spirit or determination than John Stearns. 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.” – Sandy Alderson, President, New York Mets

Stearns is survived by his son, Justin, his two brothers – Richard and William, and his sister, Carla. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and numerous fans during this incredibly difficult period.

For more news and updates, go to the Sportskeeda Baseball page.


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