The next Negro League legend to have the spotlight in my on-going series is the great Judy Johnson, one of the greatest third baseman in Negro League history:
Between 1918 and 1936 Johnson played for the Hilldale Club, the
Bacharach Giants, Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords, and compiled
a career .293 average, though he batted as high as .389 (1925) and .376
(1929, when he was also named MVP of the Negro Leagues).
Beyond his playing field performance, he is also credited with
discovering and mentoring the great Josh Gibson, just as Negro League
legend John Henry Lloyd did for him when he first came up.
By then a player-manager for the legendary Homestead Grays, the squad
featured no less than five future Hall of Fame players: Johnson, Cool
Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson.
Post Negro leagues, Johnson became a scout in the Major Leagues for the
Philadelphia Athletics before moving on to the Braves, Phillies and
From 1971 through 1974 Johnson was also on the Baseball Hall of Fame’s
Committee on the Negro Leagues, helping to find a rightful place in
Cooperstown for inductees like Paige and Gibson before being elected
himself in 1975.
A wonderful baseball life that spanned decades, and to a greater extent,
worlds in respect to how American baseball evolved between 1918 and the