Stephen Thomas Ridings
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 8", Weight 220 lb.
- School Haverford College
- High School St. Anthony's High School (South Huntington)
- Debut August 3, 2021
Pitcher Stephen Ridings was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 8th round of the 2016 amateur draft, out of Haverford College. He pitched two seasons in the Cubs' system, in 2017 and 2018, with ERAs of 4.09 and 4.15 for the AZL Cubs and Eugene Emeralds respectively. On March 8, 2018, he was sent to the Kansas City Royals in a minor league trade for Donnie Dewees and went back down a level, to the Rookie Class Pioneer League with the Idaho Falls Chukars, where he was 4-3, 5.91 in 13 games, including 11 starts. He hadn't done much up to that point, and when major league clubs began to trim their farm rosters as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic that wiped out the 2020 minor league season, and the Minor League Reorganization that eliminated a number of minor league teams before the 2021 season, he was one of those who paid the price, being released by the Royals on November 4th.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that being released by the Royals was the best thing that could have happened to Stephen. He had been working as a substitute teacher to make ends meet when on January 18, 2021, he was signed by his hometown team, the New York Yankees, as a free agent and was given a chance to start afresh. He impressed in spring training, and as a result was skipped a number of levels to start the season in AA with the Somerset Patriots where he was lights out in 14 games out of the bullpen, going 4-0, 0.47 with 2 saves and 30 strikeouts in 19 innings. That earned him a promotion to AAA and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders where he continued to pitch great. On July 21st, he combined with Luis Gil and Reggie McClain in no-hitting the Rochester Red Wings, 8-0. Two weeks later, on August 3rd, he was called up to the Bronx when the Yankees had to place a number of pitchers on the COVID-19 list. His teammate in both Somerset and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Gil, started the game against the Baltimore Orioles in place of Gerrit Cole, and after he had pitched 6 scoreless innings, Stephen took over and struck out the side while allowing just one hit in the 7th as the Yankees went on to win easily, 13-1. He was the first alumnus of Haverford College to reach the major leagues.
- Matt Monagan: "The substitute teacher who throws 100 mph: He was overseeing classes in Florida. Now he's employed by the Yankees", mlb.com, August 27, 2021.