Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Tale of Five Johnsons

A Tale of Five Johnsons (Not a dirty story).

Starting in 1965, The Baltimore Orioles employed David Allen Johnson (aka Davey Johnson) as a second baseman and sometimes shortstop. Davey proved to be a good employee by making the All-Star squad and leading his team into first place three years in a row and into the World Series twice. After the 1972 season, the Orioles decided to trade Davey to the Atlanta Braves.

Was it a good move for the O's? I guess not. Davey proceeded to whack 43 home runs, only one behind Willie Stargell who topped the NL with 44.

How did the Orioles deal with Davey's success after the 1973 season? They introduced a rookie player named....Dave Johnson. David Charles Johnson pitched for Baltimore for two years before being sold to the Mariners.

Fast forward to 1986. Our old friend Davey Johnson, as manager of the New York Mets, led his team to a World Series victory. In 1988, he again lead his Mets into the NLCS where they lost a heartbreaker four games to three to the Dodgers.

Can anyone guess what player move the Baltimore Orioles pulled off following that 1988 season? "No they didn't," you say. Well, yes they did. Those clever Orioles extracted a pitcher from Houston by the name of Dave Johnson. David Wayne Johnson labored for three years as an Oriole, actually winning thirteen games in 1990. He also sat atop the leader board in homers allowed in the AL (30). Too bad Davey wasn't around anymore to hit one of those thirty homers.

Okay. That takes care of three Johnsons, but what about the other two. We turn to our beloved Phillies to finish our tale.

In 1934, the Phillies made a pretty savvy trade with the Cincinnati Reds and picked up veteran pitcher Syl Johnson. Johnson had won 36 games in a three-year span for the Cardinals. He performed well enough for the woeful Phillies to stick with the team through 1940.

Prior to the start of the 1940 season, the Phillies brass assessed the team and concluded that they did not have enough "Johnson-power." The answer, of course, was to pick up Si Johnson from St. Louis in the Rule V draft. So Si and Syl went to the hill for the Phils in 1940.

How good was that staff? Hugh Mulcahy's name appeared in the newspaper so many times as Losing Pitcher that he gained the sobriquet, Losing Pitcher Mulcahy. And Walter Beck heard so many of his pitches bang and boom off the metal right field wall, that he became known as Boom-Boom Beck. You can look it up.

1 comment:

  1. Makes you appreciate The Phillies of 2007,08,09.
    The story's of the poor phillies team no matter what era of the 10000 losses is not pretty. I hope to ride the current phillies for a long time. Hopefully there will be no Boom-Boom Beck's(Adam Eaton) in are future.