Wednesday, June 30, 2010
#242 - Jay Johnstone
Card fact: Jay Johnstone returns to Topps' set after being featured from 1967-72 but not in 1973 and 1974.
What I thought about this card then: Never saw it. The first Johnstone card I saw was the following year, 1976.
What I think about this card now: It's appropriate that Candlestick Park is tilted on the card of a known "flake."
Other stuff: Johnstone is another one of those flakey baseball characters from the 1970s and 1980s. Johnstone played nearly 20 years and bounced around between eight teams, but he received much of his publicity during the three-plus years he spent with the Dodgers. As part of a goofball foursome that included Rick Monday, Jerry Reuss and Steve Yeager, Johnstone was the head prankster on L.A.'s teams of the early 1980s.
Johnstone was known for harrassing manager Tommy Lasorda -- he once replaced all of the photos of celebrities in Lasorda's office with pictures of himself, Reuss and reliever Don Stanhouse. He seemed to enjoy dressing up in goofy costumes, and the first time I remember hearing about a teammate nailing another teammate's cleats to the floor, Johnstone was the perpetrator.
Johnstone also made an impact on the field. He was a solid-hitting role player who enjoyed several above .300 seasons. He delivered a pinch-hit homer in Game 4 of the 1981 World Series against the Yankees that helped the Dodgers rally to win that game. Johnstone later worked as a baseball announcer.
Johnstone also appeared in a couple of movies, including a short appearance in "The Naked Gun." Personally, I think he would have been a dead-ringer for Murdock in "The A-Team" movie.
Back facts: I'm not sure what happened with Johnstone in the 1973 and 1974 seasons. He played very sparingly in 1973 with Oakland after being released by the White Sox. The Cardinals purchased him in the winter of 1974, then released him, and Johnstone was signed by the Phillies in April. But the write-up on the card says he joined the Phillies in July. Perhaps he was in the minors? I'm too sleepy to research it.
Other blog stuff: A good day for the Orioles on this date in 1975. Catcher Dave Duncan hit four consecutive doubles to tie a major league record in an 8-2 victory over the first-place Red Sox. In the same game, a liner off the bat of Tony Muser broke the cheek bone of Red Sox pitcher Dick Pole. Meanwhile, the Brewers rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Yankees 5-4.