Sure handed with good range and a strong arm, Judy Johnson was an all-around great third baseman. The 5’11”, 145 lb. Johnson was a good instinctive base runner, which offset his lack of outstanding speed. A righthanded line-drive hitter with an excellent batting eye, he hit for good average but not with exceptional power.
Playing with the great Hilldale clubs of the 1920’s, he had batting averages of .391, .369 and .392 in 1923-25 to help them win pennants in the Eastern Colored League’s first three years of existence. In the first World Series against the Kansas City Monarchs in 1924, he led the team with a .341 batting average in a losing cause.
Always a smart baseball player, afer leaving Hilldale he became the playing manager of the Homestead Grays, perhaps the greatest collection of talent in black baseball history. In 1932, after joining the third superteam of his career, as captain of the Pittsburgh Crawfords he continued his steady hitting with averages of .332, .333 and .367.
The superb fielder’s .349 lifetime batting average over a 19-year career in the Negro Leagues qualified Judy for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.
Darby Daisies, Hilldale, Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords
Pie Traynor, George Kell