Friday, November 7, 2014

#38 - Bob Johnson of the Baltimore Orioles.

 Up next is Bob Johnson of the reigning world champion Baltimore Orioles. Bob Johnson is a generic name. You'll find 4 on Baseball Reference's webpage. Johnson had a long career in the minors before finding his way to the Athletics then the Senators. He was on the Orioles from 1963 through to half of '67. Then he went to the Mets, Reds, Braves, Cardinals and ending his Major League career with the Oakland Athletics in 1970 at the age of 34. Johnson was a career .272 hitter.  That's a decent batting average for a utility infielder.A batting average like this is also laudable for even pinch hitters. Johnson played all infield positions save only for Pitcher and Catcher. I can't say whether or not this remains something common for utility infielders in the Majors. Back then, the guys who could do the most jobs at least had a shot at playing on the major circuit. Bert Campaneris made history in the mid 60's by playing every position in a single game for the KC Athletics. Being an avid Yankee fan in the late 80's and early 90's, the last utility infielder I remember was Jim Leyritz who played catcher, third base and outfield.

Johnson's card is a good representation of how the typical Orioles card looked like in this set. The palm trees lined the outfield wall in many of the backgrounds. Same bright blue Florida sky. I suspect all of these pictures were taken the same day either by Topps or an Orioles photographer who then sold the pictures to the company. This is something I have noticed in older Bowman cards. Player pictures featured in team yearbooks showed up on the Bowman cards from the same year or the following year.

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