Ciccarone, Stefero head picks for Hall

SIDELINES

September 24, 2000|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Odenton's John Stefero, a former Orioles catcher, St. Mary's and Johns Hopkins lacrosse luminaries Brian Wood and Henry Ciccarone, record-setting Northeast softball coach Lynn Pitonzo and Meade's Donnie Miller, a big-time jockey, make up the 10th class of the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame.

They will be inducted Oct. 18 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, bringing the roster to 49 members since the first banquet in 1991.

Stefero, a native of Sumter, S.C., who played at Mount St. Joseph, is the fourth big-leaguer and second Odenton catcher to be inducted, joining former National League player Babe Phelps (1991).

Nicknamed "Stump," the 5-foot-8, 185-pound Stefero was a left-handed hitter with power and a strong arm. He became a catcher after high school in 1978 with Mike's Auto Mart amateur team.

After an all-region season at Motlow State (Tenn.) Community College, Stefero signed as an undrafted free agent with the Orioles.

In his first pro season at Bluefield (W.Va.), Stefero was named MVP. His best minor-league season was in 1981 at Hagerstown when he had 25 homers and 82 RBIs in 111 games.

After hitting 17 homers in his first of two seasons at Double-A Charlotte (N.C.) in 1982, Stefero was leading the Southern League in homers (16) and batting .312 with 35 RBIs when the Orioles called him up June 21, 1983.

Stefero got his first two major-league RBIs at Yankee Stadium on a game-tying double in the ninth off Goose Gossage. Later optioned to Triple-A Rochester, he returned to the Orioles on Sept. 1 during a pennant race and delivered game-winning hits on Sept. 18 and 19.

Ineligible to play in the '83 World Series won by the Orioles, Stefero received a ring.

Stefero's career ended on an injury at Montreal in 1987. He hit .235 and had a fielding percentage of .979.

An All-MSA second baseman at St. Joe, Stefero played summers on state and national champion teams with North Glen, Brooklyn Optimist, Mike's Auto Mart and Johnny's.

Wood, The Sun's Anne Arundel County Player of the 1980s, set a state career record for points (324, 1980-83) and led the Saints to a 51-6 record and three No. 1 rankings before becoming a four-time All-American attack at Hopkins.

With 178 career points, Wood led Hopkins to three national titles and was named to the Blue Jays' all-time team. Wood, currently vice president of the Annapolis Youth Lacrosse Association, also played on the 1986 U.S. world championship team.

Ciccarone, who died of a heart attack at age 50 in 1988, is a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a player and coach. After a standout three-sport career at St. Mary's, Ciccarone became a three-time All-American midfielder at Hopkins and led the Jays' football team in rushing two seasons.

As Hopkins lacrosse coach from 1977-83 with a 105-16 (.868) record, Ciccarone made the national final seven straight years, winning four titles, three in a row from 1978-80.

Pitonzo's coaching record (255-60, .810) is unmatched in Maryland softball history. The Northeast coach from 1979-92 and again in 1997 owns Maryland records for state (8) and region (10) titles, and most consecutive state crowns (4). She won nine county titles, had a 64-game winning streak and three undefeated seasons in 1984 (22-0), 1989 (21-0) and 1991 (21-0).

She produced 12 Division I players, and in retirement has been serving as state tournament director since 1995.

In a 17-year career (1973-91) as a pro jockey, Miller, the second from his sport to be inducted (King Leatherbury the other in 1996) mounted 2,800 winners. He earned $38 million over 19,900 rides with his 1983 Preakness victory aboard Deputed Testamony the highlight.

Miller, a two-time Eclipse Award winner, often rode in the Kentucky Derby and was Little Bold John's jockey in 26 wins, including the Breeders' Cup.

Have a note or idea for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499 or reach him via e-mail at patomalleysports@aol.com.

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