1991 NOBODY BEATS THE WIZ BOB W. JOHNSON
Card of the Week: Return of the Revenge of the Beyond the Valley of the Escape from the Card of the Week: Episode 1: Bob Johnson
Well, it’s been over seven years since I’ve written one of these thingamabobs, so forgive the rust…
In the intervening years I lost a job, found a job, visited Notre Dame six months before the fire, picked up Covid at the 74th Frankfurter Buchmesse, and took three or four trips to Japan in search of starting pitching (and OK, convenience-store snacks and exotic varieties of soda). But mostly I thought about Bob Johnson.
No, not that Bob Johnson—the other one.
Much like the Mets sought to corner the Bob Miller market in the early ‘60s, the team went after all the Bob Johnsons they could find later in the decade.
The Bob Johnson we’re not interested in today was a right-handed hurler who came up through the system and appeared in two late-season miracle-year games for the big club. He logged a total of 1.2 innings without allowing an earned run, and picked up a save against the Cubs on October 1.
The Bob Johnson we’re not interested in today was then included with Amos Otis in the ignominious December trade that brought Joe Foy to the Mets. Bob pitched to an ERA+ of 121 for the 1970 Royals, striking out 206 in 214 innings.
Our Bob Johnson was a utility infielder and pinch hitter extraordinaire. The Mets purchased the 31-year-old journeyman from the Orioles in early May of 1967, and Bob spent the remainder of that season (his only one with the club) inking his name into the team’s record book.
I defy you to go into any non-Bob Johnson affiliated bar/pub in the world and get a correct answer to the following question: What player has the highest lifetime batting average as a Met (minimum 200 at bats)?
Johnson comma Bob.
Our Bob hit .348 in 230 Summer-of-Love at bats, with some decent pop resulting in an OPS+ of 145.
And as if to balance out the stupid Bob Johnson trade to come, the Mets turned this lighting-in-a-bottle half season of Our Bob Johnson into Art Shamsky, in a one-for-one trade with the Reds that winter.
So really, both the Bob Johnson we’re not interested in today and Our Bob Johnson had a role in that fateful championship season…