Ken Johnson (left-handed pitcher)
Johnson's 1951 Bowman Gum baseball card
January 14, 1923|
|Died: April 6, 2004
|Batted: Left||Threw: Left|
|September 18, 1947 for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 15, 1952 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Earned run average||4.58|
|Career highlights and awards|
Kenneth Wandersee Johnson (January 14, 1923 – April 6, 2004), nicknamed "Hook" for his curveball, 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.
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. 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.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- 1947 St. Louis Cardinals game log
- Baseball Digest - 1950: when Philadelphia's Whiz Kids won the NL pennant