born in the Town of Snow Hill, Maryland
First African American to be admitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Johnson was born on October 26, 1899 in the Town of Snow Hill in Worcester County
on the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland.He died June 15,
1989 in Wilmington, DE.He
batted and threw with his right hand, played in the Negro League for the
Darby Daisies, Hilldale, Homestead Grays and thePittsburgh Crawfords.Hewas the first African American to ever be elected to Baseball’s
Hall of Fame.
played third base
where he was considered the top third baseman in the Negro League of the
1920’s and 1930’s. He was not a particularly fast runner, but he
carefully studied opposing pitchers and took every advantage on the base
paths.He often stole third
base.He played winters in
Florida or Cuba (where he compiled a .334 average in six seasons) but
never again set foot on a boat after his return voyage from Cuba in 1931.
had little power but was a skilled contact hitter who consistently batted
.300 or better.In the
inaugural Negro League World Series in 1924, he led the Hilldale club with
a .341 average. He was a smart, soft spoken and well-respected player and
later served as team captain of the 1930’s Pittsburgh Crawfords, perhaps
the Negro Leagues’ greatest dynasty.The Crawfords lineup included, catcher Josh Gibson and fellow Hall
of Famers Cool Papa Bell and Oscar Charleston.
exposed to baseball at an early age. As a child he moved to
Wilmington, Delaware and served as batboy for his father’s local team.He realized then that his “greatest ambition was to play
baseball.”he quit school
after tenth grade and went to work on the New Jersey docks during WWI.After the war, he caught on with the Chester Giants, playing on
weekends.He then signed a pro
contract with the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, who paid him $5 per
game.In 1919, he played for
the semi-pro Madison Stars of Philadelphia, which served as sort of minor
league team for the Hilldale club.While
with Hilldale, he acquired the nickname Judy, because he resembled a
Chicago American Giants player, Judy Gans.
the racial barriers were broken in American baseball, Johnson scouted and
coached for the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1954
Johnson became the first black coach in the majors when he accompanied the
Phillies to Florida for spring training. He worked for the
Phillies from 1959 to 1973, and in 1975, through the efforts of the
Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues, Judy Johnson was elected to the
Baseball Hall of Fame.