Byron Johnson

From BR Bullpen

Byron Waldo Johnson
(Mex, Jew Baby)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 160 lb.
  • School Wiley College

Biographical Information[edit]

Byron Johnson was a Negro League infielder.

Johnson enjoyed cowboys as a kid; his father brought him a sombrero, which got him the moniker "Mex". At Wiley College, he played quarterback in the same backfield as Henry Milton and Pat Patterson, both future All-Stars in the Negro Leagues.

Byron joined the Kansas City Monarchs in 1937, backing up Willard Brown at shortstop and being reunited with Milton, one of the team's outfielders. He saw regular action in an exhibition series against white major leaguers Lou Fette, Bob Feller, Lon Warneke, Mike Ryba, Jim Weaver and Mace Brown and did well, going 4 for 11 with a home run.

Johnson became Kansas City's starting shortstop in 1938 as Brown moved to the outfield but the speedy gloveman hit only .212. He was still third in voting for the 1938 East-West Game at shortstop, trailing Chester Williams and Leroy Morney with 50,132 votes. He started at shortstop for the West and went 1 for 4, playing the whole game, a 5-4 victory over the East.

He toured with Satchel Paige's All-Stars in 1939-1940 and then worked in education.

In 1943, Johnson entered the Army's Quartermaster Corps and spent 13 months in England preparing for D-Day. He landed in Normandy on June 11, 1944.