Ex-Mets catcher Stearns named manager of Clippers
Sunday, December 10, 2006
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
John Stearns, who is familiar with players in the Washington organization, will manage the Clippers in their first season as a Nationals affiliate.
Stearns, a four-time All-Star catcher for the New York Mets in the late 1970s and early ’80s, is being promoted from double-A Harrisburg (Pa.) of the Eastern League after he led the Senators to a 67-75 record in his first season. Stearns has managed more than 600 minor-league games, including the Mets’ triple-A team in Norfolk, Va., in 2004.
"I’ve heard a lot of good things about him," Clippers president Ken Schnacke said. "I don’t know him as well as some others in the organization other than seeing him when the Tides came through Columbus. I know the Nationals think highly of him."
Stearns, 55, replaces Dave Miley, who remained with the New York Yankees organization after they moved their farm team to Scranton, Pa. Miley will manage the Red Barons.
The Clippers signed a two-year player development contract with the Nationals in September after ending a 28-year relationship with the Yankees. Washington’s previous triple-A affiliate in New Orleans played in the Pacific Coast League and the Zephyrs were 72-71 under manager Tim Foli last season. He is expected to take a roving position in the Nationals system. Former minor-league field coordinator Scott Little will manage Harrisburg.
Schnacke said the remainder of the staff could be named this week. Kevin Long, the Clippers’ hitting coach last season, took the same position with the Yankees and Neil Allen, the 2006 pitching coach, in November was named the pitching coach for Tampa Bay’s double-A team in Montgomery, Ala.
Stearns was a two-sport star at the University of Colorado and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills of the NFL but chose to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1973. He played one game for the Phillies in 1974 before being traded to the Mets. He stayed with the club until 1984 and ended his career after a brief stint with the Cincinnati Reds the next season.
His post-playing career began in 1986 when the Milwaukee Brewers hired him as a scout and minor-league instructor. Since then, he has had stops in the Toronto, Yankees, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Mets organizations. He joined Harrisburg in 2005 after six seasons with the Mets, the last as a roving catching instructor. He also was a broadcaster for ESPN in 1993.
Details of the Nationals’ exhibition in Columbus could be announced this week. The game is scheduled for late March, possibly the 29 th or 30 th. Baltimore is a possible opponent. … Shortstop Andy Cannizaro has been named Clipper of the Year and will be recognized at the ClippersFest on Jan. 25 in the Arena Grand Theatre. … Schnacke said there would be some alterations to the uniforms to incorporate the Nationals’ red, blue and gold scheme.