Wednesday, November 13, 2013

#106 Howard Johnson

About the Front: I'm a big fan of the thick orange and blue piping down the sides of the Mets' uniform, as modeled here by Howard Johnson. It can't be a coincidence that the Mets haven't won a World Series in the years since they ditched it.

About the Back: Given the offensive explosion of the late 1990s and early 2000s, it shouldn't be surprising that Johnson's 117 RBI now put him in a fourth-place tie in Mets history. Mike Piazza and David Wright share the current team record with 124. HoJo and Darryl's 108 runs scored don't even place in the top ten any more; Carlos Beltran's 127 is the new mark to beat.

Triple Play:

1. Howard originally wore #5 as a young player in Detroit, but switched to #20 in 1983 when the Tigers retired #5 to honor Hank Greenberg.

2. As you can see above, Johnson had three 30-homer, 30-steal seasons. The only players to go 30-30 more often than that were Bobby and Barry Bonds and Alfonso Soriano.

3. HoJo coached in the Mets' organization for a decade, including four years (2007-2010) on the big league staff. As of 2013, he was the hitting coach for Seattle's AAA Tacoma Rainiers club.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Like any good young baseball fan, I knew of Howard Johnson the slugger before I had ever heard of Howard Johnson the hotel and restaurant chain.

Bill James Said: "There's no reason he shouldn't be Comeback Player of the Year." Sadly, even a move to the friendly confines of Mile High Stadium couldn't revive Howard's career. He batted just .211/.323/.405 with 10 homers in 93 games for the Rockies in 1994, and a similarly poor performance for the Cubs in 1995 signaled the end of the line.

On This Date in 1993: November 13. President Clinton gave a speech at the Church of God in Memphis, TN, the site of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last sermon. The president's speech touched upon the need for effective crime legislation.


  1. Actually, I am working on the Curse of WFAN for the Mets. They haven't won the world series since they began broadcasting games on the first all sports station in 1987. But in 2014, the Yankees are switching to WFAN and the Mets are moving to WOR radio, which was also the call letters of the TV station they were on in 1986. I know it is convoluted, but what curse theory isn't? Perhaps I will work the piping into it somewhere...

  2. I distinctly remember the WOR TV station being part of our cable package, but I think it was only during the 1995 season. It coincided nicely with my "gotta soak up as much baseball as possible" phase. I'll always think of the '95 Mets as Ricky Otero and Rico Brogna's team.