Bob Johnson (Pitcher) 1969 World Champion Mets September Call Up (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. 

Motorcycle Accident: While riding a motorcycle in Virginia, his bike skidded on a sheet of gravel, Johnson fell & broke his leg pretty badly where doctors first recommended amputation for part of the limb. A third doctor suggested surgery which saved 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.

Mets Career: 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, which was the Mets 100th win of the year. He was not eligible for the post season.

A Terrible Trade: In December 1969 he was traded away with Amos Otis to the Kansas City Royals for third baseman Joe Foy. Foy was a disaster & gone after just one season. Otis went on to an All-Star career in Kansas City & Johnson would be a solid journeyman reliever.

Johnson went 8-13 for the Royals with a 3.07 ERA getting traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the season. 

1971 World Champion Pirates: In 1971 he was third on the Pirates staff (behind Steve Blass & Doc Ellis) with 11 wins, going 11-7 with a 4.11 ERA. He struck out 101 batters walking 55 in 174.2 innings of work. He made 27 starts throwing a shutout against the Phillies on August 8th.

1971 Post Season- NLCS: 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.

1971 World Series: In the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Johnson started Game #2, giving up four runs & getting removed in the 4th inning, taking the loss. He appeared in relief of Game #6 pitching two innings in the 3-2 Pirate loss.

In the 1972 season he was used mor as a reliever making 31 appearances & just 11 starts. He was 4-4 with three saves posting a 2.96 ERA.

1972 Post Season -NLCS: Johnson returned to the NLCS in 1972, making two relief appearances in the loss to the Cincinnati Reds. 

In his last season with the Pirates in 1973 he was 4-2 with four saves posting a 3.62 ERA. He finished off 11 games, making 50 appearances & only two starts.


T
hat December he was traded to the Cleveland Indians, but was released by July. 

Drama: In 1977 he admitted he had a drinking problem that began in 1970. On a 1974 flight from Detroit to Dallas he got angry when the flight was delayed. He later argued with a stewardess over seating & walked off the plane. The Indians fined him & released him shortly after. He stopped drinking in 1975.

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.

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

Retirement: After baseball he started his own construction company in Oregon. He also coached & umpired in American Legion baseball.

Honors: He was o hand for the Pirates 50th Anniversary of the 1971 Championship season in 2021.

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