The 1970’s, A To Z: Davey Johnson to Tim Johnson

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


1974 Topps #45

Played 1963 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Orioles, Braves, Phillies, Cubs

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the starting All-Star 2nd baseman in 1970; Was named the 1973 National League Comeback Player of the Year; In 1973 he broke Rogers Hornsby’s record for most home runs by a second baseman in a season (43); Won Gold Gloves in 1970 and 1971; After being cut by the Braves in April, 1975, Davey played in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants that season and the next, then returned to the US to play for the Phillies and Cubs

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Mets HOF in 2010; Named the 2nd baseman on the 1966 Topps Rookie All-Star team; Managed the Mets, Reds, Orioles, Dodgers and Nationals and won two Manager of the Year awards (1997 with the Orioles and 2012 with the Nationals); Won 2 World Series as a player and one as a manager

Fun Stuff:
Played with two home run kings – Hank Aaron and Sadaharu Oh; Played Little League baseball with future Falcons linebacker Tommy Nobis

Card Stuff:
Appeared in 1979 Topps with the Cubs, but in 1979 he was a player/manager with the Miami Amigos of the ill-fated Inter-American League (which folded on June 30th of it’s first and only season)


1971 Topps #490

Played 1960 – 1976
1970’s Teams: Phillies, A’s, Brewers, Red Sox, White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Had a career-high 34 homers in 1971; When the A’s traded for him in early 1973, he became one of the first players acquired to be primarily a designated hitter; Won a World Championship with the 1973 A’s

Career Highlights:
Lead the NL with 130 RBI in 1965; Got MVP votes in 3 different seasons but was never an All-Star

Fun Stuff:
Came up through the Yankees system and was one of many labeled as the “next Mickey Mantle”; coming out of high school he turned down several football scholarships, including one from Notre Dame

Card Stuff:
Appeared on three Topps cards as a Yankees prospect (all three using the same photo), but only played 19 games for the Bronx Bombers before being shipped off to the Kansas City Athletics; His stops with the Brewers (49 games) and White Sox (148 games) were never shown on a baseball card


1972 Topps #36

Played 1968 – 1977
1970’s Teams: Cardinals, Giants, Indians, Astros, Padres, Blue Jays

1970’s Highlights:
Had 12 wins and 18 saves with the 1971 Giants, which got him votes for both the Cy Young and MVP awards; Was the first pitcher to win a game for the Blue Jays, pitching 2.2 innings of relief of starter Bill Singer in the Jays’ 9-5 opening day win over the White Sox

Fun Stuff:
Started as a 3rd baseman in the Mets system

Card Stuff:
Although he made 39 appearances for the Indians in 1973, he did not appear on a 1974 Topps card; Appeared on a 1978 Topps card with the Blue Jays but was cut in 1978 Spring Training

Because I’m an impulsive fool with poor time management skills…
…and because nobody like When Topps Had Balls had already made a 1974 custom of Jerry Johnson with the Indians, I whipped one together.  Usually when I get an idea to create a “card that never was”, someone has always beaten me to the punch.  That wasn’t the case here, so I couldn’t resist.

I feel I should note that since he was traded to Houston that offseason for Cecil Upshaw, who was in the 1974 Traded set, Johnson could’ve theoretically also been in the 1974 Traded set… but I’m not so foolish as to create a Traded custom…

… at this moment…


1979 Hostess #39

Played 1978 – 1987
1970’s Teams: A’s, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Originally a Giants prospect, John Henry Johnson was shipped to Oakland in the March 1978 8-player trade which sent Vida Blue across the bay to San Francisco; That season, Johnson beat the Mariners in his Big League debut and had a winning record (11-10) for a 93-loss A’s team; Was named to the 1978 Topps All-Star Rookie team

Card Stuff:
Is one of the fairly rare players to have a Hostess rookie card; Although he pitched in 33 games in 1980, Johnson did not get a card in 1981 Fleer or Donruss.

Bonus card of an unrelated Football HOFer with the same name:


1977 Topps #406

Played 1973 – 1979
1970’s Teams: Brewers, Blue Jays

1970’s Highlights:
Was the Brewers starting shortstop in 1973 before being replaced by teenaged Robin Yount in 1974;  After his rookie season he was used as a utility player, appearing at all four infield positions plus 2 games in left field;  Has no Major League home runs despite appearing in 516 games with 1408 plate appearances

Career Highlights:
Managed the Blue Jays to an 88-74 3rd place finish in 1998, but was fired before the next season when it became known that he’d lied about having military service in Vietnam

3 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Davey Johnson to Tim Johnson

  1. Davey Johnson didn’t just play with Hank Aaron and Sadaharu Oh – he batted sixth in the lineup in the games that both of them tied and passed Babe Ruth in home runs (April 4th and 11th 1974 for Aaron and October 10th and 11th 1976 for Oh).

    He signed with the Giants to replace the legendary Shigeo Nagashima at third and was the team’s first non-Japanese American foreign player. So, no pressure or anything.

  2. I wonder how many other guys can say they were teammates with Aaron and Oh. Gotta imagine it’s a pretty short list. As for Hostess rookie cards… it’s kind of a shame there weren’t more. Kellogg’s too.

  3. Davey Johnson was on a Braves team where he & 2 teammates hit over 40 homeruns in the same year. I remember Deron Johnson, the Phillies called him big D. The Phillies to this day still have a bad habit of getting players past there prime hoping to get something out of them.

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