Howard Johnson

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1995 Upper Deck Electric Diamond #316 Howard Johnson

Howard Michael Johnson

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Biographical Information[edit]

Howard Johnson played 14 years in the majors, was a two-time All-Star, and led the 1991 National League in home runs and RBI. He played on two World Series-winning teams: the 1984 Detroit Tigers who won 104 games, and the 1986 New York Mets who won 108 games.

Johnson was born in Florida and drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the secondary phase of the 1979 amateur draft. He had started out as a pitcher but was converted to a position player in the minors. Playing for the Lakeland Tigers, he led the Florida State League with 28 doubles in 1980.

In 1982, Johnson was up in the majors for 155 at-bats, hitting .316 for the Tigers. To start his career, he wore uniform #5, which he was forced to give up in 1983 when it was retired by the team in honor of Hank Greenberg. Johnson then switched to #20. By 1984, he became a semi-regular third baseman (platooning with Tom Brookens) for Detroit en route to a world championship season.

After the 1984 season, the Tigers traded him to the New York Mets, for whom he would play nearly a decade. At first, he and Ray Knight fought for playing time at third base, but Knight became a free agent after the 1986 season.

Johnson came into his own in 1987, getting over 400 at-bats for the first time, and hitting 36 home runs. He repeated the feat in 1989, hitting 36 home runs again, this time good for second in the National League, and making the All-Star team for the first time. He was also third in the league in doubles. In 1991 he led the NL with 38 home runs and 117 RBI. It was his last season with over 400 at-bats and his last season hitting over .240.

In 1992, with the Mets, and 1994, with the Colorado Rockies, he was primarily an outfielder. In 1995 he finished out his major league career with the Chicago Cubs as the oldest position player on the team. Todd Zeile was the regular third baseman.

Johnson was also a good base-stealer, stealing 231 bases in his career, and making the 30-30 club (steals and homers) three times. The similarity scores method shows two contemporaries who are on the most-similar list: Doug DeCinces and Dean Palmer.

His son, Glen Johnson, was drafted by the New York Mets in the 36th round of the 2007 amateur draft.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NL All-Star (1989 & 1991)
  • 2-time NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1989 & 1991)
  • NL Runs Scored Leader (1989)
  • NL Home Runs Leader (1991)
  • NL RBI Leader (1991)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 5 (1987-1991)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1987, 1989 & 1991)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1989 & 1991)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1989 & 1991)
  • Won two World Series with the Detroit Tigers in 1984 and the New York Mets in 1986

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
2016 High Desert Mavericks California League 82-58 1st Texas Rangers League Champs
2017 Down East Wood Ducks Carolina League 62-77 9th Texas Rangers League Co-Champs

Further Reading[edit]

  • Howard Johnson (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, September 1993, pp. 73-74. [1]
  • Rick Sorci: "Baseball Profile: Howard Johnson, New York Mets",Baseball Digest, September 1989, p. 35. [2]
  • David Raglin: "Howard Johnson", in Mark Pattison and David Raglin, ed.: Detroit Tigers 1984: What A Start! What A Finish!, SABR Publications, Phoenix, AZ, 2012, pp. 94-99. ISBN 1933599448

Related Sites[edit]