The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

A look back at New Mexico's baseball players

 

October 23, 2019



The World Series began this week in Houston with the Astros hosting the Washington Nationals.

That makes today a good day to look at eastern New Mexico ballplayers who appeared in the Fall Classic.

This won’t be a long story.

The Baseball Almanac reports 29 Major League Baseball Players have been born in New Mexico.

That list includes Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, who was born and grew up in Albuquerque.

But only four MLB players have been born in eastern New Mexico, and only two — Cody Ross and Vern Stephens — appeared in a World Series.

Neither player had longtime ties to this region.

Ross’ family moved to Texas soon after he was born in Portales in 1980, though he played high school baseball in Carlsbad and played against local teams.

The Society for American Baseball Research tells us Stephens was born “prematurely” in the Quay County community of McAlister while his parents were moving from Arkansas to California. Stephens, who died in 1968, was born Oct. 23, 1920 — 99 years ago today.

Still, we will claim them. And both were worth claiming.

Ross played in all five games of the San Francisco Giants’ 4-1 Series win over the Texas Rangers in 2010. He hit .235 with a home run and two runs batted in.

Stephens, a shortstop, played all six games for the St. Louis Browns in their 4-2 Series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1944. He hit .227 with just one extra-base hit — a double — in 22 at-bats.

Both Ross and Stephens enjoyed long big-league careers.

Ross played 12 seasons, hitting .262 with 132 career home runs. His best year was 2009 when he hit .270 with 24 home runs and 90 runs batted in as an outfielder with the Florida Marlins. His last season was 2015 with Oakland.

Stephens played 15 seasons, hitting 247 home runs with a lifetime batting average of .286. He was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2006.

David Stevens writes about regional history for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]

 
 

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