From last Sunday's Daily Oklahoman: Johnson, who turns 29 on July 16, is one of the friendliest players in Oklahoma City’s baseball history. Last year, after the likeable lefty was briefly sent down to Double-A El Paso, he had a day game in Tulsa, so he drove to The Brick (Oklahoma City's ballpark) that night. As RedHawk teammates, J.J. and pitcher R.A. Dickey founded a non-profit organization, Honoring the Father Ministries. J.J. was scheduled to be the RedHawks’ starting pitcher in their first game at The Brick, but a back injury ruined those plans in April 1998. This year, Johnson was 5-4 with a 3.92 ERA in 13 starts for New Orleans. He earned a promotion to the major leagues in late May, going 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA in three starts for Houston. Johnson said retiring from baseball had been on his mind since last season, when he was 1-6 for four different teams and bothered about being away from his wife Kristin and their two sons, Tucker, 5, and McKade, 21 months. “It was a real roller-coaster year,” Johnson said. “It’s really how my whole career has been.” J.J. was a first-team All-American with a 34-5 career record at Florida State. One of those wins was over Oklahoma at the 1995 College World Series. He was the Rangers’ first choice, the seventh player picked overall, in the ’95 amateur draft. Johnson’s first game for the old 89ers was a two-hit shutout over Louisville on July 23, 1996. It would be his only complete-game shutout in pro ball. J.J. had a 20-25 record in 90 games for Oklahoma City teams. Overall, he was 2-4 in the major leagues and 48-55 in the minors. “It’s a very frustrating and humbling game,” Zephyrs pitching coach Jim Hickey told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “When you’re used to performing at a certain level and you’re unable to perform at that level, and you really can’t figure out why, things can really go haywire.”
posted by bitstop at 11:37 AM on July 11
I'm a bit late to this slam-fest, but I must rise to the defense of Bryant Reeves. Big Country didn't look like much of a ballplayer, but he wasn't a stiff. In his rookie year, he put up 13.3 pts, 7.4 rb with 46 pct FG pct. Year two: 16.2 pts, 8.1 rbs, 49 pct. Year three: 16.3, 7.9, 52 pct. Then he got hurt and was out of the league three years later. And I would also mention Danny Ferry as a can't-miss pick who really missed (and who had a great seat at the NBA finals).
posted by bitstop at 01:46 PM on June 18
Good sports cartoons at The Sporting Press with an emphasis on Dallas-area teams.
posted by bitstop at 04:10 PM on May 07
Favorite baseball movie -- and I'm surprised no one has mentioned it yet -- "Bang the Drum Slowly." A very young Robert DeNiro plays a dull-witted, dying journeyman catcher for a professional New York baseball team. It also includes an introduction to the card game TEGWAR (the exciting game without any rules).
posted by bitstop at 05:07 PM on March 24
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