Thursday, November 10, 2016

no. 595 - dave johnson

Who is the man: Davey Johnson had completed his third straight All-Star season and second straight Gold Glove season when this card was released.

Can ya dig it: I can spot the "D" initial on the back of Johnson's uniform. That must mean there was another "Johnson" in the Orioles' organization at the time, although I can't find one studying the Orioles' 1970 roster.

Right on: Topps referred to Johnson as "Dave" throughout his playing career although he was called "Davey" more often. It wasn't until the 2000s when Johnson was a veteran manager that "Davey" began to appear on his cards.

You see that cat Johnson is a bad mother: Johnson tied the major league record for home runs by a second baseman when he hit 42 in 1973 (he actually hit 43 that year, but one was as a pinch-hitter).

Shut your mouth: When Johnson was playing second for the Orioles, he once visited pitcher Dave McNally on the mound to talk about "unfavorable change deviation theory," telling McNally, who was wild that game, to aim for the middle of the plate so he would miss his spot and hit the corner.

No one understands him but his woman: Johnson was the first American baseball star to play in Japan when he joined the Yomiuri Giants in 1975.

(A word about the back): It's a little difficult to find a photo of Johnson with his mouth closed on a baseball card. This is one of the few.


  1. Don Newcombe played in Japan in the early 60s.

    1. Got it from SABR, which perhaps meant "first active star player." Newcombe had been in the minors when he went to Japan.