Tuesday, May 1, 2012
no. 44 - johnny edwards
Who is the man: Johnny Edwards was 33 years old in 1971 and had been in the league since 1961. That's a lot of crouching. So 1970 was Edwards' last season of more than 500 at-bats and 110 games. His playing time started to decline after 1970.
Can ya dig it: Edwards is shown in batting stances in his early cards, but is in a catcher's crouch in his later cards. I'm thinking that Edwards' reputation as an excellent defensive catcher led to more "defensive" poses as the years went on.
Right on: Edwards is known for catching no-hit performances, although his first attempt, with the Reds' Jim Maloney, didn't pan out. Edwards caught 10 innings of no-hit ball from Maloney, but Maloney gave up a hit, a run and the game in the 11th. But Edwards and Maloney combined again a couple of months later for a actual 10-inning no-hitter. Edwards also caught a no-hitter by the Cardinals' Ray Washburn in 1968.
You see this cat Edwards is a bad mother: Edwards holds the record for most putouts in a season by a catcher with 1,135 in 1969. Of course, it helped that the Astros had three starters that struck out at least 200 batters that season -- Larry Dierker, Don Wilson and Tom Griffin. The other starter, Denny Lemaster, struck out 173.
Shut your mouth: Edwards wasn't around to see Maloney lose that no-hitter the first time. He was removed in extra innings for a pinch-hitter. "Boy, was I mad," he said.
No one understands him but his woman: Richard Kendall, for SABR's research journal, named Edwards as the second most dominant defensive catcher in MLB history.
(A word about the back): "Was with Reds & Cardinals" is kind of an odd, out-of-the-blue sentence. The Astros aren't good enough for Edwards?