Remembering Mets History: (1980) John Stearns Tackles A Fan On the Playing Field

Thursday June 12th 1980: A crowd of 19,501 fans came out to Shea Stadium, for this series finale. They were eager to see Joe Torre's fourth place Mets (26-27) sweep Tommy Lasorda's second place Los Angeles Dodgers (32-24). 

The Mets sent John Pacella to the mound to go up against L.A's Dave Goltz. It was a wild series that already had had a bench clearing brawl two days earlier.

Starting Lineups

In the top of the 2nd inning Dusty Baker singled & scored on a Mike Scoscia RBI double. In the 3rd, Bill Russell doubled & Reggie Smith drove him in with a single. Steve Garvey also singled & Baker hit a three run HR making it 5-0 L.A.

But the Mets bounced back, in the 5th inning John Stearns & Eliott Maddox both singled.

Goltz attempted to pick off Maddox at first, but Steve Garvey's error advanced the Maddox & Stearns from third. After Ron Hodges walked, Lee Mazzilli singled home Maddox making it 5-2. Frank Tavares then singled, bringing in Hodges. Another Dodger error scored Mazzilli to bring the Mets within a run.

In the home 6th, Mike Jorgensen & John Stearns both walked. Eliot Maddox then sacrificed to the pitcher & got himself an infield hit. Jorgensen scored on a wild throw by new Dodger pitcher; Bobby Castillo. 

The throw went all the way to the backstop & Stearns scored all the way from first base. It was all the Mets needed for the 6-5 win, as Neil Allen came on & got the save. 

But there was more excitement during the game when two fans jumped onto the field & ran across the outfield. Security guards chased the fans but weren't able to track them down & the game was delayed.

Mets catcher; John Stearns saw enough, the former college football defensive back (University of Colorado) left his catchers spot & ran into left field after the fans. He managed to tackle one of the fans & hold him down until the police came over to arrest the individual. 

 John Stearns was certainly a tough guy, he had been known for brawls & head on collisions at home pate. One famous one was with Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Dave Parker & another with Montreal Expos star (& future Mets All Star) Gary Carter. Stearns even once attacked the Atlanta Braves mascot; Chief Nocahoma after he had been heckling him.


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