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Jerry Stephenson, 66, pitcher for ‘Impossible Dream’ Red Sox

Associated Press And Globe Staff / June 8, 2010

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jerry Stephenson, who pitched for the Red Sox in the 1967 World Series, has died. He was 66.

Family spokesman Steve Brener said yesterday that Mr. Stephenson died of cancer Sunday at his home in Anaheim.

Mr. Stephenson was 8-19 with Boston, the Seattle Pilots, and the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven-year career. His best season was 1967, when he went 3-1 with one save for the “Impossible Dream’’ Red Sox. He then made one relief appearance against St. Louis in the World Series, which Boston lost in seven games.

Mr. Stephenson scouted for the Dodgers for 25 years and spent the last 14 years scouting for the Red Sox. He retired in October and had been a consultant for Boston since then.

The righthander was signed by Boston out of Anaheim High School as an amateur free agent in 1961 and made his Major League debut two years later at age 19.

He was part of a remarkable resurgence by the Red Sox. Fewer than 500 fans bothered to show up at Fenway Park on Sept. 16, 1965, when Mr. Stephenson’s teammate, Dave Morehead, no-hit Cleveland. Boston finished 62-100 that season, 40 games behind Minnesota, the American League champion.

“A lot of players thought it was funny,’’ Mr. Stephenson recalled in 1992. “And to guys like [pitcher] Dennis Bennett, it was funny.’’

Two years later no one was laughing at the Red Sox, who were on their way to the World Series, with Mr. Stephenson earning a victory in a game at Chicago in late August that put Boston in first place.

Mr. Stephenson spent five years with the Red Sox and pitched in Game 4 of the 1967 World Series, allowing two runs and three hits in two innings.

After being released in 1969, Mr. Stephenson signed with the Pilots, who became the Milwaukee Brewers. Before the 1970 season, he was traded by Milwaukee to the Dodgers and spent one season with them.

He was the son of former Major League catcher and longtime Red Sox scout Joe Stephenson. Mr. Stephenson was one of more than 50 major league players signed by Joe Stephenson.

Mr. Stephenson leaves his wife of 43 years, Yvonne; a son, Brian; a daughter, Shannon Smaldino; and three grandchildren. Brian, who spent five years pitching in the minors, is West Coast supervisor of amateur scouts for the Dodgers.

Funeral services will be Friday in Anaheim. The family said that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.

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