Johnny Edwards (baseball)
June 10, 1938 |
|June 27, 1961 for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 2, 1974 for the Houston Astros|
|Runs batted in||524|
|Career highlights and awards|
John Alban Edwards (born June 10, 1938 in Columbus, Ohio) is an American former professional baseball player. Known for his excellent defensive skills, he played as a catcher in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds (1961–67), St. Louis Cardinals (1968) and Houston Astros (1969–74).
Edwards graduated from Ohio State University where he led the team in hits (24) in 1958 and became a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the Cincinnati Reds in 1959.
He made his Major League debut at age 23 on June 27, 1961 in a 10-8 Reds' win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. In his first at-bat he pinch-hit in the seventh inning for Reds' starting catcher Jerry Zimmerman, drawing a walk against reliever Barney Schultz and later scoring on a triple by Jerry Lynch. In his next at-bat, in the ninth inning, he got his first hit and first RBI, driving in Gordy Coleman with a single against reliever Joe Schaffernoth. 
During Edwards' rookie season, he backed up Zimmerman and helped the Reds win the 1961 National League pennant. In the 1961 World Series Edwards had 4 hits and 2 RBIs in a losing cause, as the New York Yankees defeated the Reds in 5 games.
He put up solid offensive numbers from 1962 to 1965, earning three MLB All Star appearances. His offensive numbers diminished after he suffered a broken finger on the last day of spring training in 1966, but he continued to be one of the best defensive catchers in the National League. On June 14, 1965, Edwards was the Reds catcher when pitcher Jim Maloney went 10 innings against the New York Mets without allowing a hit. Edwards left the game in the 10th inning for a pinch runner with the game in a scoreless tie, as the Mets went on to break up the no-hitter and score a run to win the game in the 11th inning. A little more than two months later, on August 19, 1965, Edwards was once again the catcher as Maloney threw another 10 innings without allowing a hit. This time the Reds scored a run, securing the victory and the no-hitter for Maloney.
With the arrival of Johnny Bench, the Reds traded Edwards to the St. Louis Cardinals for Pat Corrales and Jimy Williams on February 8, 1968. With the Cardinals, he played backup catcher to Tim McCarver, helping them win the National League pennant, however, they would subsequently lose to the Detroit Tigers in the 1968 World Series. He caught another no-hitter with the Cardinals on September 18, 1968 with Ray Washburn pitching. On October 11, 1968 Edwards was traded with minor league player Tommy Smith to the Houston Astros for Dave Giusti and Dave Adlesh. After playing his first season for the Houston Astros in 1969, he finished 36th in voting for the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
His final game played, at age 36, was a 5-4 10-inning Astros' loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Astrodome on October 2, 1974. In his final plate appearance, pinch-hitting in the 10th inning for Skip Jutze against the Dodgers' Eddie Solomon, Edwards drew a walk.
In 14 seasons Edwards played in 1,470 games, producing 1,106 hits in 4,577 at bats for a .242 batting average along with 81 home runs and 524 runs batted in. He was voted to three National League All-Star teams in 1963, 1964 and 1965. A solid defensive player, he won the National League Gold Glove Award for catchers in 1963 and 1964, and led National League catchers in fielding percentage four times in 1963, 1969, 1970 and 1971. He also led the league four times in assists and three times in putouts. In 1969, Edwards set single season records for catchers with 1135 putouts and 1221 total chances. Richard Kendall of the Society for American Baseball Research devised an unscientific study that ranked Edwards as the second most dominating fielding catcher in major league history. As of the end of the 2009 Major League Baseball season he ranked 79th on the All-Time Intentional Walks List.
During the off-seasons while with the Reds, Edwards worked as an engineer for General Electric in research and development for nuclear fuel elements. He was inducted into the Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame in September 2008. He also earned a degree in Engineering from Ohio State.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Johnny Edwards in Baseball Digest, September 1962
- Johnny Edwards in Baseball Digest, June 1965
- Johnny Edwards at Baseball Reference
- At Times It's Smart To Be Dumb, Says Cincy's Edwards, by Ritter Collett, Baseball Digest, June 1965, Vol. 24, No. 5, ISSN 0005-609X
- 1961 National League Team Statistics and Standings at Baseball Reference
- Johnny Edwards post-season statistics at Baseball Reference
- 1961 World Series at Baseball Reference
- June 14, 1965 Mets-Reds box score at Baseball Reference
- August 19, 1965 Reds-Cubs box score at Baseball Reference
- Johnny Edwards Trades and Transactions at Baseball Almanac
- 1968 St. Louis Cardinals Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistics at Baseball Reference
- 1968 World Series at Baseball Reference
- September 18, 1968 Cardinals-Giants box score at Baseball Reference
- 1969 National League Most Valuable Player Award voting results at Baseball Reference
- National League Gold Glove Award winners at Baseball Reference
- Baseball Digest, July 2001, Vol. 60, No. 7, ISSN 0005-609X
- Fielding Records at The Encyclopedia of Catchers
- Dominating Fielding Catchers at The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers
- Career intentional walks at Baseball Reference
- Baseball Digest, May 1964, Vol. 23, No. 4, ISSN 0005-609X