Tuesday, November 13, 2012

550 - Dave Johnson

About This Player
Davey Johnson played 13 years in the big leagues and three of them with the Atlanta Braves.  Johnson began his playing career and spent the majority of it with the Baltimore Orioles.  During his tenure with the O's, Johnson started at second base for four American League pennants and two World Series Championships. He also made three of his four All-Star appearances as an Oriole and won three Gold Glove Awards.

Johnson, after a poor 1972 season, was traded to the Atlanta Braves and responded with the best offensive numbers of his career.  Johnson had career numbers in 1973 in runs (84), hits (151), home runs (43) and RBI (99).  He earned his fourth All-Star selection that year.  Johnson tied Rogers Hornsby's single season record for home runs for a second baseman with 42; one on Johnson's home runs came as a pinch-hitter.  The 1973 Atlanta Braves also featured the first trio of teammates to hit 40 home runs in a season; Darrell Evans hit 41 and Hank Aaron hit 40.

After getting a hit in his only at bat in 1975, Johnson was released by the Braves.  He spent 1975 and 1976 playing in the Japanese league.  He returned to the play in the U.S. in 1977 with the Philadelphia Phillies and finished his playing career with the Chicago Cubs in 1978.  In the 1978 season, Davey Johnson became the first player to hit two grand slams in pinch-hit at bats.

Johnson is probably more profilic for his career as a manager.  Johnson has spent 16 seasons as a manager at the Major League level with division pennants with the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals and a World Series Championship with the Mets in 1986.  Johnson was selected as American League Manager of the Year in 1997 with the Orioles. 

Johnson is the current manager of the Washington Nationals.

About This Card
To reflect many of the trades that had taken place during the offseason and current season, Topps often airbrushed the new uniforms on a player.  Davey Johnson appears in this photograph in a Braves uniform at the end of the first turn of a double play with New York Yankees' Felipe Alou having slid through second base even though the Braves did not play the Yankees.

This play took place, with Johnson as an Oriole, on September 17, 1972.  Alou hit a single in the bottom of the second inning.  Thurman Munson followed by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.

In addition to Johnson having been airbrushed into a Braves uniform, Topps also airbrushed over the first half of the scoreboard on the right field wall in Yankee Stadium.

Special thanks to Chris Stufflestreet and his 1973 Topps Photography blog.

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