Saturday, July 27, 2013

MISSING IN ACTION- 1976 ALEX JOHNSON

I have always taken an odd interest in former batting champ Alex Johnson over the years.
I have no idea how it started. But by about 1982 I was borderline obsessed with this guy who managed to win a batting championship in the middle of all these superstar batting champs in the A.L.
I mean, it wasn't like he was a scrub or anything. But look at the names of the American League batting champs from 1963 through 1979: Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Oliva, Frank Robinson, Rod Carew, Alex Johnson, George Brett and Fred Lynn. Now what name really doesn't belong? We're talking six BIG names in baseball through those years, and Alex.
Anyway, during this odd interest in Johnson I realized that he never had a card in the 1976 set, my favorite set of all-time. Odd when you think about it, because he actually had a card issued in the 1977 set, yet he never played that year! But for 1976, his actual last year in the big leagues, nothing.
To a nerdy kid obsessed with baseball and baseball cards this was big…and annoying. (I'm sure SOME of you out there know exactly what I'm feeling here, correct?).
Well, to finally make it right, I have designed a nice 1976 Topps Alex Johnson card, showing him in his Tiger uniform.
He appeared in 125 games for Detroit that year, who he signed with in January of '76, and batted .268 with 6 homers and 45 r.b.i.'s. Not too shabby a swan song. Yeah, I know I'm pushing it a bit, since Topps would have never been able to get a Tiger card of him out for that set. But for once I went with where he would have been playing THAT year instead of the previous year. And to be honest, I have no idea why, especially since Johnson played with my favorite team in '75, the Yanks.
But here you go. The "missing" 1976 Alex Johnson. Former batting champ. Former headache. And former mystery to me for so many years.
Former A.L. batting champ in 1976.

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