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Mark Landon Johnson

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[edit] Biographical Information

Mark L. Johnson was a catcher who played eight years in the majors. He last played for the Chicago Cubs affiliate at Iowa in 2010.

Standing at 6'0" and weighing 185 pounds, Johnson attended Warner Robins High School in Warner Robins, GA.

In the 1993 World Junior Championship, Johnson hit .300 as the backstop for the Silver Medal winners.

Batting left-handed but throwing right-handed, Johnson was drafted by the Chicago White Sox 26th overall in the 1994 draft. The first two seasons of his professional career were modest with the bat - in 1994 he hit only .241 in 32 games, while in 1995 he hit .182 in 107 games.

In 1996 he hit .257 in 67 games but in Class-A advanced ball that year, he hit .241. Great at drawing walks, he walked 106 times and struck out only 85 times in 1997, hitting .252. In 1998, he had a good year in the minors, batting .283 with 105 walks and only 72 strikeouts.

That prompted his promotion, and on September 14, 1998 at the age of 22, he made his big league debut. He went 0-for-1 at the plate. In the majors that seasons he collected two hits in 23 at-bats for a .087 batting average. He made the best out of his two hits, though - they were both triples. His first came off of Pedro Martinez on September 19, and his second came off of Scott Service on September 25.

He spent his entire 1999 season with the White Sox, backing up Brook Fordyce. In 73 games that season, he hit .227 with four home runs and 16 RBI.

He hit .225 in 2000, this time as the White Sox's main starting catcher on a division-winning team. In 75 games, he hit three home runs with 23 RBI.

2001 was a career year for Johnson. Even though he spent 55 games in the minors, his Major League season would be the best of his career. He hit .249 with 10 sacrifice hits - good for fourth most in the league.

He hit only .209 in 2002, and that may have prompted his trade. On December 3, 2002, he was traded with Keith Foulke, Joe Valentine, and cash to the Oakland Athletics for Billy Koch and two players to be named later (who would end up being Neal Cotts and minor leaguer Daylon Holt).

He spent most of his season in the minors in 2003, hitting .228. In the thirteen games he played in in the Majors that year, his batting average was .111.

After the 2003 season, he was granted free agency and signed by the Milwaukee Brewers. Like the season before, he spent most of his time in the minors that year, breaking the .250 mark and hitting .259. His time in the Majors was again unimpressive - in eleven at-bats, he collected only hit, for a .097 batting average.

After 2004, he was granted free-agency but was re-signed by the Brewers, who then traded him to the Chicago Cubs for Travis Ezi. He spent 2005 entirely in the minors, hitting .266 in 60 games. After the 2005 season, he was granted free agency and picked up by the Brewers again. He spent all of 2006 in the minors, hitting .203 there.

He was a non-roster invitee in 2007 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He went on to hit .320 for the Diamondbacks' affiliate at Tucson that year. In 2008, he hit .264 for the Memphis Redbirds. He returned briefly to the majors that year, hitting .294 in 17 at-bats for the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2009, he hit .169 in just 22 games for the Iowa Cubs. He wrapped up his career in 2010, hitting .500 in two at-bats for Iowa.

During 14 seasons in the minors, he hit .252, while in eight seasons in the majors he hit .218. Other than a scattering of appearances at DH, he never played any other position in the majors than catcher.

One source described him as this: "He has decent gap power, resulting in his share of doubles, as well as a good eye at the plate. Defensively, he calls a good game and gets the ball quickly down to second base."

Although he never quite lived up to the "gap power," he showed a fairly good eye at the plate, with 123 walks and 195 strikeouts so far in his career. His was also reliable defensively - his career fielding percentage was .993.

The teammate Johnson spent the most professional seasons with was eight - he has spent that much time with Carlos Lee. Statistically, he compares most to Larry Cox.

He wore multiple numbers in his career: 57 in 1998, 10 in 1999 and 2000, in in 2001, 2002 and 2004, 7 in 2003 and 53 in 2008.

At last check he lived in Warner Robins, Georgia.

[edit] Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
2011 Boise Hawks Northwest League 36-40 5th Chicago Cubs Lost in 1st round
2012 Boise Hawks Northwest League 37-39 4th Chicago Cubs Lost League Finals
2013 Kane County Cougars Midwest League 55-80 15th Chicago Cubs
2014 Kane County Cougars Midwest League 91-49 1st Chicago Cubs League Champs

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