(October 23, 1920 – November 3, 1968) played in 1720 games as a shortstop in the major leagues for 15 seasons. This is the most seasons and games played by any major league player born from New Mexico. He played in the American League for four different teams – St. Louis Browns, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles. A native of a very small farming town of McAlister, New Mexico, Stephens batted and threw right-handed. He was also nicknamed “Pop-up Stephens”, “Junior”, and “Buster”.
One of the strongest-hitting shortstops in major league history, Stephens compiled a .286 batting average with 247 home runs and 1174 RBI in 1720 games. Breaking with American Major League baseball, Stephens signed a five-year contract with the Mexican League in 1946. He had been in Mexico only a few days when his father, a minor league umpire, and the Browns scout Jack Fournier drove down and brought him back to the United States.
In August 2008, he was named as one of the ten former players who began their careers before 1943 to be considered by the Veterans Committee for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.
8-time All-Star (1943–44, 1945 [non-official game], 1946, 1948–51)
Six times in the Top 10 in MVP voting (1942–45, 1948–49)
Led the American League in home runs during 1945
Three times led the American League in RBI (1944, 1949–50)
Collected 440 RBI within three consecutive seasons (1948–50)
Three times in the Top 10 in batting average (1942–43, 1946)
Twice led the American League in games played (1948–49)
Was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2006
Only man to play for 1944 American League Champion St. Louis Browns and the Baltimore Orioles, the team the Browns franchise became after it moved to Baltimore in 1954
Holds the Major League Baseball record for RBI in a season by a shortstop, with 159 in 1949.
Vern Stephens died of a heart attack in Long Beach, California at 48 years of age.