July 17th, 2012

July 17 – Happy Birthday Deron Johnson

There were many in the Yankee organization who honestly thought this big right hand hitter would not only be the team’s third baseman of the future, they predicted he would also take over from Mickey Mantle and become New York’s biggest home run hitter. That’s how good an athlete Deron Johnson was back in the late fifties. He set all kinds of baseball and football records at San Diego High School and had scholarship offers from all the top football universities.

He chose baseball instead and signed with the Yankees. He was both an All Star and a league leader in home runs on just about every stop of his four-year climb up the Yankee farm system. But instead of replacing Gil McDougald with Johnson, New York traded for the A’s Clete Boyer to play the hot corner. The Yankees had enough home run hitters in their lineup already and Boyer’s great glove gave him the edge over the poor-fielding Johnson. Instead, the Yankees traded their top prospect to the A’s with Art Ditmar for reliever Bud Daley in 1961, after Johnson appeared in just 19 games in pinstripes. He played with eight different teams during the next 16 seasons, hitting 245 lifetime home runs along the way. He was born on July 17, 1938, in San Diego. He died of lung cancer when he was just 53 years old.

Johnson shares his birthday with this former Yankee team co-owner.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1960 21 NYY AL 6 4 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .750 1.250
1961 22 NYY AL 13 22 19 1 2 0 0 0 2 0 2 5 .105 .182 .105 .287
16 Yrs 1765 6619 5941 706 1447 247 33 245 923 11 585 1318 .244 .311 .420 .731
PHI (5 yrs) 563 2161 1897 213 477 82 8 88 304 4 235 468 .251 .333 .442 .775
OAK (4 yrs) 281 1043 940 109 211 27 7 34 146 1 87 205 .224 .289 .377 .665
CIN (4 yrs) 549 2142 1959 269 518 97 15 90 343 5 150 386 .264 .316 .467 .783
BOS (3 yrs) 29 82 73 5 14 1 1 1 5 0 7 17 .192 .259 .274 .533
NYY (2 yrs) 19 26 23 1 4 1 0 0 2 0 2 5 .174 .231 .217 .448
ATL (1 yr) 127 383 342 29 71 11 1 8 33 0 35 79 .208 .285 .316 .600
CHW (1 yr) 148 608 555 66 129 25 1 18 72 0 48 117 .232 .292 .378 .671
MIL (1 yr) 49 174 152 14 23 3 0 6 18 1 21 41 .151 .253 .289 .542
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/16/2013.