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?


  1. I'd be impressed, but Kendall's list doesn't even put Bench in the top 10.

    I read Bill James years ago and have a newfound interest in him since I'm currently reading Moneyball which champions James. It's reminded me how upside down defensive appraisal has been through the years.

    Give a team a backstop who's average behind the plate and above average when holding a bat and the team will do well. (Or in Bench's case: great and great, the stuff dynsasties are made of.)

  2. This card...well, another copy of it, made an appearance on my blog the day after this one posted. Great minds? Great mind is more like it.