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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

John Stefero signed with his hometown team, then hit back-to-back game-winners

John Stefero signed with the Orioles in June 1979 out of Motlow State Community College. For Stefero, the signing was more than just turning pro. He turned pro with for his hometown team, the Orioles, The Baltimore Sun wrote.

"Growing up, I always wanted to be a pro baseball player, and I always hoped I might get that chance with the Orioles," Stefero told The Sun. "Now it's like a dream come true. I'm still trying to come down to earth."

Four years later, Stefero was back home in Baltimore, winning back-to-back games for the Orioles.

Stefero's career began that year in 1979, signed by the Orioles as an undrafted free agent out of Motlow in Tennessee.

Stefero started with the Orioles at rookie Bluefield. He hit .275 in 59 games. He then moved to single-A Miami for 1980 and single-A Hagerstown for 1981.

Stefero made AA Charlotte for 1982. He hit .230 in 115 games. At Charlotte and at AAA Rochester for 1983, he hit .272. 

Stefero also got a mid-summer look at Baltimore, and another in September. In nine total appearances, he went 5 for 11. On two nights that September, Sept. 18 and 19, Stefero hit game-winners in both. He first hit a bottom-of-the-ninth run-scoring single, then, on the next night, a bottom-of-the-11th run-scoring single.

"I'm pumped up," Stefero told The Sun after the second game-winner. "It's kind of a one-in-a-million chance to get to do something like this ... to come up here, and help a team like this ... in front of my family and friends. It makes it very special."

Stefero played 1984 and 1985 back in the minors. He then returned to Baltimore for 1986. He got into 52 games and hit .233.

The Orioles then sent Stefero to the Expos in a trade. He got into 18 games and hit. 237 to round out his major league career.

He then played 1988 with the Indians at AAA Colorado Springs. He didn't play in 1989, then saw 57 final games at AA Charlotte in 1990.

His playing days over, Stefero returned to the Baltimore area and got into car sales. He continues in 2021 as general manager at Brown's Toyota of Glen Burnie.

"I have a team concept," Stefero told the local Pasadena Voice in 2016. "It took me a while to get the right people in place. What's different here than some of the other dealerships is that everyone works together instead of against one another. And when I address people, I say 'us' instead of 'I' or 'me.'"

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,584
Made the Majors:1,243-34.7%-X
Never Made Majors:2,341-65.3%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:517
10+ Seasons in the Minors:305

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