Vernon Decatur “Junior” Stephens (October 23, 1920 - November 3, 1968) was one of the great power hitting shortstops of the 1940s and 1950s, but also possessed a superior glove that rivaled his contemporaries Phil Rizzuto, Johnny Pesky, Marty Marion, Pee Wee Reese and Lou Boudreau. Vern followed in his brother Harry’s footsteps, signing with the Browns at 17 and became an everyday player in 1942 at the age of 21. (His brother abandoned his career after an injury.) In his first full season at short for the St. Louis Browns, he batted .294 with 169 hits including 14 home runs and drove in another 92 finishing fourth in Most Valuable Player voting. Vern would garner consideration for the MVP award nine times in his 15-year career and he was named to eight National League All-Star teams. He failed his medical exam twice to enter the service during World War II and thus he became one of the great wartime players. However, his skill at short and at the plate remained constant even after the stars returned from war. In 1944, Stephens led the league in RBI for the first of three times during his career and led the Browns to their one and only World Series against cross-town the rival Cardinals. The Cards won in six. In 1945, he led the AL in home runs with 24. Seeking more money from the Browns as one of the elite players in the American League, Vern nearly derailed his career when he signed with the outlaw Mexican League as they attempted to poach big name players from the Major Leagues in 1946, to which Major League Commissioner Happy Chandler instituted a five-year ban on any player who did not return to the US within ten days. Stephen’ father and Browns’ scout Jack Fournier, unwilling to let Vern throw his career away, drove to Monterey, Mexico and returned the shortstop to the United States. Vern Stephens played 15 years in the Majors with the Browns (1941-1947, 1953), the Boston Red Sox (1948-1952), the Chicago White Sox (1953, 1955) and the Baltimore Orioles (1954-1955). Vern Stephens finished his career with a .286 batting average, 1,859 hits including 247 home runs, 1,001 runs scored and 1,174 RBI in 15 seasons with four Major League clubs. He is the only player to have played for both the St. Louis Browns American League pennant winning team and the Baltimore Orioles, after the Browns team relocated to Baltimore to become the Orioles.