Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
And see inside for a special Batter's Box Hall of Names challenge!

As promised in yesterday's main thread, it's time for another trip to Baseball's Hall of Names, courtesy of Batter's Box. This time, after scratching together recent All-Smith and All-Jones teams, we turn our attention to what is likely to be a much better team, but also likely to draw out the fourth-grade humour in people ... that's right, it's time for the All-Johnsons team.

There have been exactly 100 Johnsons to make it to the big leagues so far, if you're counting Johnson Fry, and non-player but Hall of famer Ban Johnson. There have also been nine Johnstons, but these were not included.

This team has arguably the best 1-2 righty-lefty punch possible in the history of the game at the front of its rotation, has eight All-Stars and two additional Hall of Famers on the squad -- it's clearly better than both the Jones and Smith teams -- and yet, it doesn't seem quite as powerful as one might have reasonably expected.

Can you help this team out?

As noted, there has been one player in MLB history who had "Johnson" as a given, rather than family name. That would be the aforementioned Johnson Fry, a RHRP, threw 3 2/3 IP of six-hit, five-run relief in one appearance for the 1923 Indians at age 21 and never made it back to the bigs. he's not quite Allen Travers, but poor Mr. Fry did go to his eternal reward in 1959 hauling that career ERA of 12.27 with him. However, to balance that, he singled in his only big league trip to the plate, so he also (was) retired with a career batting average of an even 1.000 and a nice round OPS of 2.000.

There are plenty of multi-Johnson names, including Abe and Abbie, two Arts and a Bart, three Bills and a Billy, four Bobs, a Charles and a Charlie, two Daves and a Davey, two Dons, two Ernies, John, John Henry. Johnny and Jonathan, two Kens, three Marks, two Mikes, three Randys, two Rankins (what are the odds?), Ron, Rondin and Rontrez, three Roys, and a Walt who wasn't Walter.

For the oddity names, well, they can't hold a candle to the plethora of bizarre monikers we encountered with the Smith and Jones teams, but the Johnsons have sent forth Ban, Caleb, Chief, Dane, Jing, Footer, Lamar, Si, Spd, Syl and Youngy.

Footer? What the hell is that all about?

Anyway, here's one hack's whack at the best possible team of Johnsons; of course, we expect them to wear the uniform of the Appalachian League's ... Johnson City Cardinals.

Front Office
There can be only one:
Ban Johnson, founder of the American League
How would Pete Rose have fared against a commissioner named "Ban," anyway?

Manager & Coaches
Okay, six Johnsons have managed in the MLB ranks, including one that Jay fans know all too well. We'll give the skipper's job to potential future Hall of Famer Davey Johnson (1148-888, five leage flags, one world championship); his bench coach is the irascible Darrell Johnson (472-590, one AL title with the Carlton Fisk '75 Red Sox); your pitching coach is Walter Johnson (a fine 529-432 in parts of seven years with WSH, CLE, though he never finished higher than third). The base coaches are Roy Johnson (0-1 with '44 CHC) and Toronto's own Tim Johnson (88-74 for '98 Jays)

Starting Lineup
* indicates at least one All-Star appearance
** indicates member of Baseball Hall of Fame

CF Lance Johnson* (327 SB, six straight seasons with 12+ triples)
3B Judy Johnson** (HOF Negro League star)
LF Alex Johnson* (won 1970 batting title with CAL, .288 career hitter)
DH Cliff Johnson (196 homers, and he looked so damn mean)
SS Howard Johnson* (30/30 guy played 273 career games at short)
RF "Indian Bob" Johson* (career comps include Bernie Williams, Moises Alou)
1B Nick Johnson (Hyped? He's averaged about 80 games/year and career OPS+ is 111)
C Charles Johnson* (167 homers, four gold gloves)
2B Davey Johnson* (our player-manager hit behind Aaron, F. Robinson and S. Oh!)

C Mark L. Johnson (part-time regular for '99-'02 CHW, .217, no power)
MID IF Russ Johnson (.264, can also play 3B)
COR IF Deron Johnson (.244, 245 homers)
OF OF Sweet Lou Johnson (started for LAD in '66 WS; comps to Alvis Woods, Jacob Brumfield)
PH Billy "Bull" Johnon* (NYY; 288 HR, comps include Roy Howell, Barry Bonnell)

LHSP Randy Johnson* (54 wins away from 300)
RHSP Walter Johnson** (117 wins past 300)
Then a prety steep dropoff to ...
LHSP John Henry Johnson (11-10 as 21-year-old rookie with '78 A's; 26-33 lifetime)
RHSP Hank Johnson (won at least 13 three times for '28-'31 NYY)
RHSP Ken T. Johnson (91-106; comp to Chris Bosio)

Bullpen by Committee
RHRP Ernie T. Johnson (40-23, 19 saves, mostly for BOS/MIL Braves in '50s)
LHRP Earl "Lefty" Johnson (40-32, 17 saves, mostly for Bosox in '40s)
RHRP Don R. Johnson (27-38)
RHSP Bart Johnson (43-51, but out of baseball at age 27)
RHSP Jason Johnson (44-73 so far)

There are a few other athletes who could probably cross over to play for this team ... if Ben Johnson can beat the new drug testing system, for instance, we can lock him in as a pinch runner. Tennessee Titans quarterback Doug Johnson has displayed a big arm at times, so he might hook on with the bullpen. And if we're looking for an extremely rich, athletically-savvy owner who could double as the PR face of the franchise, there's this Magical Johnson named Earvin ...

And now ... The Batter's Box Baseball Hall of Names Reader Challenge:
You've seen the Smiths, the Joneses and the Johnsons. What last name would provide the best possible Hall of Names team (remember, you have 25 positions to fill!) ... don't just speculate, your challenge is to build the team and send it my way so we can publish it as a special Batter's Box Pinch-Hit. You'll have the glory and honor associated with being a Box-published author, plus you can show me up by coming up with a better team than the All-Johnsons. C'mon, who's first to jump on the Robinsons or Millers?
Hall of Names: Johnson & Johnson (& Johnson & Johnson & ...) | 22 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Matthew E - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 12:35 PM EST (#2626) #
A little translation magic could qualify Mike DeJean for the bullpen.
_Greg - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 12:36 PM EST (#2627) #
Where's Reed Johnson?

_Mick - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 12:48 PM EST (#2628) #
Greg, I almost included Reed over Lou, but Lou Johnson was a natural CF so a better bench guy.
_csimon - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 12:58 PM EST (#2629) #
In the Globe this morning, there is a very full obituary of Connie Johnson. He was a star in the Negro Leagues who pitched for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the mid-fifties before going to the Majors. He is on my "All Johnson" team becuase he was one of the first players that I can actually remember seeing play. Stan, if you're out there, you might remember him too

Sorry--I don't do the "COMN" thing. If you're interested , you'll have to access the Globe itself
_Chuck Van Den C - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 01:00 PM EST (#2630) #
Greg, I almost included Reed over Lou, but Lou Johnson was a natural CF so a better bench guy.

Suddenly, Googlers looking for "Lou Reed" will find another hit.
_Lee - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 01:04 PM EST (#2631) #
The Big Unit as the ace for the All-Johnson team...There's a joke in there somewhere... ;-)
_Mick - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 01:15 PM EST (#2632) #
csimon, was Connie a righty or a lefty?
_csimon - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 01:19 PM EST (#2633) #
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 01:32 PM EST (#2634) #
Lance Johnson is your everyday CF, but player-manager Davey knows his lineup-construction well, and so will not let him near the top of the order. Judy Johnson hit .300 but I don't have a source for his plate discipline record or speed. Is it possible that this team would run out Davey and Nick at the top of the order? I might, depending on what Judy can do. I do know that Lance Johnson makes a fine #9 hitter.

Indian Bob Johnson is probably the best hitter on the team, and should be hitting higher than sixth. Alex needs to be moved down.
_Kevin Pataky - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 02:26 PM EST (#2635) #
Howard Johnson at short? Please and no thank you. Johnson played mostly at third. He was moved because he couldn't play short very well.
Mike Green - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 02:39 PM EST (#2636) #
I agree, Kevin, but the Johnson shortstop pickings are mighty slim, and you've got Judy and Howard at third.

Actually, HoJo was a third baseman when he came up with the Tigers, and then was traded to the Mets who moved him to short.
_Mick - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 02:48 PM EST (#2637) #
That was exactly my thinking, Mike, assuming young Russ Adams will get in the game at SS in the seventh inning a lot of days.
_Lefty - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 04:02 PM EST (#2638) #
csimon, good eye. I also just saw the Connie Johnson obit in the Globe. It is a very very good piece.
Craig B - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 04:18 PM EST (#2639) #
Um... good pickup on Judy Johnson, who would hit cleanup for this club, or third ahead of Indian Bob. But you missed a couple of others.

Home Run Johnson (real name Grant), possibly the very best middle infielder of his era, save for Pop Lloyd and Honus Wagner. A shortstop and second baseman for the very best black teams of his era, he hit .412 against the Detroit Tigers in the famous 1910 winter series in Cuba. A legend who won multiple batting titles against the top Negro and white competition in the Cuban Winter League. Everywhere he goes, his teams win championships - Page Fence Giants, Cuban X Giants, Philadelphia Giants, Lincoln Giants of Chicago. One of the first true middle-infield power hitters. This guy is light-years ahead of Howard Johnson or Davey Johnson. Could quite easily be a player-manager, though he was not a manager of Davey Johnson's calibre.

Heavy Johnson (real name Oscar), a huge slugging outfielder and sometime catcher from the 20s and 30s for the Kansas City Monarchs. Not much of a fielder, but as a hitter he was miles ahead of Alex Johnson. From 1922-24, he hit right around .400 with 32 triples and 30 home runs for the Monarchs in Negro National League play only. (That's in 244 games the Monarchs played... so the equivalent of 21 triples and 20 homers per 162-game season). Won the NNL batting crown in 1922 with a .389 average, and the home run crown in '23 with 18 in 77 games, leading the Monarchs to the pennant. One of the biggest players of his day.

Chappie Johnson (real name George) invented (or at least popularized) shin guards for catchers, and was one of the premier defensive catchers of his time. Also played first base for a very good team, the Columbia Giants. Later a legendary manager and owner and had his own touring team, Chappie Johnson's All-Stars, for several years in the 1920s. Probably not as good a player as Charles Johnson, he would be light years ahead of Mark L.

If you don't like Chappie, there's Wise Johnson )real name Bill) who was a longtime catcher in the 20s and 30s.

For comic relief, or even seriously in the pen, there's Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, who pitched for the Indianapolis Clowns in '54, the first female pitcher in pro baseball history. She could throw too... she had a 33-8 (some say 33-6) record on the barnstorming circuit. Her best pitch was a curve that was probably a knuckle-curve, from the descriptions. She later became a nurse (graduated NYU). Peanut could hit, too... she had a career mark around .270. She now runs the Negro Baseball Leagues Memorabilia Shop in Maryland.

Other good additions to this team's pen would be Dan "Shang" Johnson or Smokey Johnson (real name John) who both had long Negro League careers as starting pitchers. The best blackball Johnson pitcher was "Connie" Johnson (real name Clifford) who spent ten years in the 40s with the Crawfords and Monarchs, the two best teams in the Negro Leagues.

Umpire? We need an umpire. How about Tommy Johnson, who was a pitcher for several years before 1920 before becoming a regular NNL umpire.

There's George "Dibo" Johnson, a centerfielder of the 20s, and Hooks Johnson, a fine defensive infielder of the 20s. In fact, if you give me all the Johnsons who played in the Negro Leagues, I think can beat your team of Johnsons who didn't - Walter Johnson and all. (Sweet Lou Johnson, incidentally, did play one season in the Negro Leagues - in 1955, after washing out of the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League, before climbing back up the ladder to the majors).

Some more backups? Ok. Tom Johnson. Bubbles Johnson. Tubby Johnson of the Baltimore Black Sox. Louis "Dicta" Johnson. Itinerant pitcher Johnny Johnson (seven teams from 1939-1946!) Even the legendary first baseman/prizefighter "Topeka Jack" Johnson, who fought legendary heavyweights like Sam Langford and the original Jack Johnson. "Monk" Johnson. "Schoolboy" Johnson. "Mex" Johnson. "Sampson" Johnson.

Need I say more? Johnson is by far the most common, and most renowned, name in the history of black baseball.
_Mick - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 04:31 PM EST (#2640) #
Craig, take Judy (I hate to lose him) and can I assume you believe an all-Negro-League All-Johnson team would beat the living hell out of an all-MLB All-Johnson team?
_gv27 - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 04:52 PM EST (#2641) #
Wave the flag for Mike Johnson, formerly of the Orioles and Expos, and a native of Sherwood Park, Alberta. Gave up his first big league home run to Mickey Tettleton in Texas before settling down and striking out Domingo Cedeno for his first MLK.
_Stan - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 04:53 PM EST (#2642) #
Yes I remember Connie Johnson. I saw him win 3 games in a doubleheader one Sunday afternoon. He was the starting pitcher in a suspended game that was to be finished before the doubleheader. He finished that one for the win. Pitched the first game of the doubleheader and won that one. Then he came on in relief in the second game and got the win. Has it ever been done before or since?
_DaveInNYC - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 05:23 PM EST (#2643) #
Not that only cares, but Mickey Tettleton was my favorite player of all-time. BEST. BATTING STANCE. EVER!
_DaveInNYC - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 05:32 PM EST (#2644) #
Only? Where did that come from? For those who want to get technical, I meant to say "not that anyone cares."
Craig B - Tuesday, January 25 2005 @ 05:43 PM EST (#2645) #
you believe an all-Negro-League All-Johnson team would beat the living hell out of an all-MLB All-Johnson team?

Hard to say. The MLB All-Johnsons have the supreme advantage of two of the top ten pitchers of all-time. That's a tough thing to get over. In a seven-game series, the MLB Johnsons have just enough hitting (Bob, Cliff, Howard and Nick) to get things done, given their two studs at the front of the rotation.

In a pennant race, I think the superior hitting and defense of the Negro Leagues Johnsons would eventually prevail, but it would be tight.

I think the bottom of your rotation isn't quite right either. Both Si Johnson (ignore the 101-165 record, which was compiled for some horrible teams) and Syl Johnson were probably better. Also, you're missing Ernie Johnson, your best infield reserve. With Si, Syl and Ernie, the balance of power might swing some. Or Ernie could start at short with Howard at third (if you don't have Judy). Or Deron Johnson could slide in at third. Plus Bob Johnson's brother Roy, is probably too good an outfield reserve for you to pass up.
_Kevin Pataky - Wednesday, January 26 2005 @ 11:41 AM EST (#2646) #
Howard Johnson first played short for the Tigers in 1984. Overall, he played 1031 games at third and 273 at short.
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 26 2005 @ 11:57 AM EST (#2647) #
Craig, thanks for the Negro League lesson. The depths of my ignorance is shameful. Time to hit the books.
Hall of Names: Johnson & Johnson (& Johnson & Johnson & ...) | 22 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.