Ken Johnson (left-handed pitcher)

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For the right-handed pitcher who pitched a no-hitter in a game he lost in 1964, see Ken Johnson (right-handed pitcher).
Ken Johnson
Ken Johnson.jpg
Johnson's 1951 Bowman Gum baseball card
Born: (1923-01-14)January 14, 1923
Topeka, Kansas
Died: April 6, 2004(2004-04-06) (aged 81)
Wichita, Kansas
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 18, 1947 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
July 15, 1952 for the Detroit Tigers
Career statistics
Win-Loss record 12–14
Earned run average 4.58
Innings pitched 269⅓
Career highlights and awards

Kenneth Wandersee Johnson (January 14, 1923 – April 6, 2004), nicknamed "Hook" for his curveball,[1] was an American professional baseball player, a pitcher who appeared in 74 games pitched in Major League Baseball for three different teams between the 1947 and 1952 seasons. Listed at 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m), 185 pounds (84 kg), he batted and threw left-handed.

The native of Topeka, Kansas, served in World War II in the United States Army in the Pacific Theater of Operations,[2] where he was a tank commander.[3]

Johnson was a hard-throwing pitcher but lacked in control he made up for in velocity and movement. His wildness impeded his career, though he had flashes of brilliance.

He entered the Majors in 1947 with the St. Louis Cardinals, playing for them in part of four seasons (1947–1950) before joining the Philadelphia Phillies (1950–51) and Detroit Tigers (1952). In his first major league start, he pitched a one-hitter for the Cardinals against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field (September 27). He struggled with his control after that and was sent by St. Louis to the Phillies in exchange for outfielder Johnny Blatnik. He went 4–1 as a member of the famous Phillies Whiz Kids, on the way to the National League pennant. Although he did not pitch in the 1950 World Series, Johnson appeared as a pinch runner for Dick Sisler in the ninth inning of Game 4, and scored the Phils' last run of the Fall Classic on an error by New York Yankees leftfielder Gene Woodling.[4] New York won that game, 5–2, and the Series, four games to none. Johnson also pitched in nine games for Detroit in 1952, his last Major League season.

In a six-season career, Johnson posted a 12–14 record with a 4.58 ERA in 74 appearances, including 34 starts, eight complete games, four shutouts, and a 1.32 walk-to-strikeout ratio (195-to-147) in 269⅓ innings of work. Johnson died in Wichita, Kansas, at the age of 81.


  1. ^ Spink, J.G. Taylor, Rickart, Paul A., and Abramovich, Joe, The Baseball Register 1952 Edition. St. Louis: The Sporting News, 1952, p. 172
  2. ^ Baseball in
  3. ^ Historic
  4. ^ Retrosheet

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