Results tagged ‘ billy johnson ’

August 30 – Happy Birthday Billy Johnson

Joe McCarthy first laid eyes on Billy Johnson in the spring of 1943, during a snowy morning at a Newark Bears’ training camp in Asbury Park, NJ. Marse Joe evidently liked what he saw because just a few short weeks later, the 24-year-old native of Montclair, NJ opened the 1943 season as the starting third baseman for McCarthy’s Yankees.

The “Bull” justified his manager’s faith in him by putting together a great rookie season at the hot corner. He played in every single game that season and drove in 94 runs, hit .280, played great defense and actually finished fourth in that year’s AL MVP voting. He followed that up with a strong performance in the 1943 World Series. He hit .300 against the Cardinals and his three run triple in the eighth inning of Game 3 erased a 2-1 St. Louis lead, as the Yanks went on to beat the Red Birds in five games.

Johnson then entered the armed services and did not play another big league game until the middle of the 1946 season. By 1947, he was an AL All Star. That year he hit .285 and drove in a career high 95 runs. That fall he won his second ring, when New York beat Brooklyn in a seven-game Fall Classic. He would end up winning a total of four rings during his seven seasons in pinstripes.

Johnson was one of the many ex-Yankees who did not play himself out of a job but was instead pushed out by the constant influx of high quality prospects produced by baseball’s best minor league system. It also didn’t help that Billy was constantly haggling with the Yankee front office about his contract. In 1948, then Yankee skipper, Bucky Harris began platooning Johnson at third with a young Bobby Brown. Brown was a better hitter than Bull was but he was also a terrible fielder. When Gil McDougald was ready for the big leagues a couple of seasons later, New York traded Johnson to St Louis. I’d compare Johnson’s career as the Yankee starting third baseman with that of Scott Brosius. It didn’t last long but it was very good while it lasted.

Billy shares his birthday with this former Yankee outfielder and this former Yankee starting pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1943 NYY 155 655 592 70 166 24 6 5 94 3 53 30 .280 .344 .367 .710
1946 NYY 85 335 296 51 77 14 5 4 35 1 31 42 .260 .334 .382 .716
1947 NYY 132 545 494 67 141 19 8 10 95 1 44 43 .285 .351 .417 .768
1948 NYY 127 493 446 59 131 20 6 12 64 0 41 30 .294 .358 .446 .805
1949 NYY 113 383 329 48 82 11 3 8 56 1 48 44 .249 .348 .374 .722
1950 NYY 108 372 327 44 85 16 2 6 40 1 42 30 .260 .346 .376 .722
1951 NYY 15 48 40 5 12 3 0 0 4 0 7 0 .300 .404 .375 .779
9 Yrs 964 3659 3253 419 882 141 33 61 487 13 347 290 .271 .346 .391 .737
NYY (7 yrs) 735 2831 2524 344 694 107 30 45 388 7 266 219 .275 .349 .395 .743
STL (3 yrs) 229 828 729 75 188 34 3 16 99 6 81 71 .258 .339 .379 .718
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/31/2013.