May 3, 2015

1969 World Champion Mets September Call Up: Bob Johnson (1969)

Robert Dale Johnson was born April 25th, 1943 in Aurora Illinois. The six foot four left handed hitter, threw right handed & was signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1964.

Johnson went 10-9 in the New York Penn. League in 1964 & then had a great 7-1 start to the 1965 season before getting promoted to AA Williamsport. In 1966 he was 8-3 at Williamsport getting promoted to AAA Jacksonville where he fell to 1-3. In 1967 he was back at Williamsport having a good year, going 301 with a 1.02 ERA in just 13 games. Johnson would suffer from arm trouble that would haunt him for the rest of his career.

After missing the 1968 season, he returned to pitch at AA Memphis in 1969, where he was the clubs top pitcher. He went 13-4 with a 1.48 ERA striking out 129 batters in 134 innings. He was promoted to up to AAA Tidewater appearing in 14 games going 0-1 with three saves.

Johnson was called up to the Mets team that September, arriving just before the Amazing's clinched the NL East. Johnson debuted on September 19th, finishing off a 8-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would make just one more appearance, earning a save in a 6-5 win at Wrigley Field on October 1st. He was not eligible for the post season.

In December 1969 he was traded away with Amos Otis to the Kansas City Royals for third baseman Joe Foy. 

Johnson went 8-13 for the Royals with a 3.07 ERA getting traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the season. In 1971 he was third on the World Champion Pirates staff (behind Steve Blass & Doc Ellis) with 11 wins, going 11-7 with a 4.11 ERA.

Post Season: In the 1971 NLCS he pitched eight innings of one run ball against the San Francisco Giants. He earned the Game #3 win striking out seven batters walking three.

In the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles he started Game #2, giving up four runs & getting removed in the 4th inning, taking a loss. He appeared in relief of Game #6 pitching two innings in the 3-2 Pirate loss.

He returned to the NLCS in 1972, making two relief appearances against the Cincinnati Reds. From now on, Johnson turned into more of a relief pitcher over the next couple of years, staying with the Pirates through 1973.

That December he was traded to the Cleveland Indians, but was released that July. He would pitch in the minor leagues over the next three seasons, spending time with the AL New York club, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals & Atlanta Braves organizations.

He reappeared in the majors pitching 15 games for the 1977 Atlanta Braves before his career ended.

In a seven year career, he was 28-34 with 12 saves in 183 games (76 starts). He struck out 507 batters, walking 269 in 692 innings of work.

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