November 26 – Happy Birthday Bob Johnson

Nicknamed “Indian Bob” because he was half Cherokee, Johnson was one of Baseball’s upper tier outfielders from 1933 until he retired in 1945. He spent most of his career with the Athletics, topping the .300 mark in average four times with Philadelphia. He also drove in 100 runs for seven consecutive seasons and exceeded the 20 home run mark in each of his first nine years in the big leagues.  When he slumped to 13 home runs and 80 RBIs during the 1942 season, the A’s traded him to the Senators. He did even worse in Washington the following year and was sold to the Red Sox after the ’43 season. Playing in Beantown seemed to rejuvenate Johnson as he led Boston with 106 RBIs in 1944 and hit a robust .324. But he was 38 years old by then and Father Time simply caught up with him. He managed to hit .280 in 1945 and drive in a respectable 74 runs but with Boston’s regulars all returning from military service, the Red Sox released Johnson that December. The Pryor, Oklahoma native wasn’t ready to quit just yet and continued playing minor league ball until he was 45. During his 13 seasons in the big leagues he hit 288 home runs, drove in 1,239 and averaged .296. His brother Roy was also a big league outfielder for ten seasons, who started for the Red Sox from 1932 until 1935. Roy Johnson matched his brother’s .296 lifetime batting average.

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