Arleene Johnson

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Arleene Johnson
Third base / Shortstop
Born: (1924-01-01)January 1, 1924
Ogema, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died: March 14, 2017(2017-03-14) (aged 93)
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • Three postseason appearances (1945, 1947–1948)
  • Three-time best season fielding average at third base (1946–1948)
  • Women in Baseball – AAGPBL Permanent Display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (since 1988)

Arleene Johnson [Noga] (January 1, 1924 – March 14, 2017) was a Canadian infielder who played from 1945 through 1948 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Listed at 5 feet 4 inches, 137 lb., she batted and threw right-handed.[1]

Born in Ogema, Saskatchewan Johnson was one of the 57 players born in Canada to join the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in its twelve-year history. She grew up on a farm and graduated at Ogema High School before moving to Regina, capital city of Saskatchewan, in search of stable employment. She joined the work force in 1944, while playing in the Ladies Intercity Softball Senior A League.[2]

Johnson entered the AAGPBL in 1945 with the Fort Wayne Daisies, playing for them one year before joining the Muskegon Lassies for two and a half years (1946–1948) and returning to Fort Wayne (1948). She divided her playing time between third base and shortstop, and made three trips to the playoffs.[1]

Best known for her fielding abilities, Johnson was the top fielder at third base for three consecutive years, compiling a .928 fielding average in 1946, .942 in 1947 to set a single-season record, and .933 in 1948. Her .942 mark was still intact until 1952, when Ernestine Petras of the Battle Creek Belles recorded a .965 average.[3]

Following her AAGPBL career, Johnson played organized softball in Regina from 1949 to 1979. In that period, she was member of nine provincial softball championship teams and helped them win five Western Canada championship titles. She also was named Most Valuable Player twice, was the league batting champion twice, and made the first All-Star team. In addition, she served as player-coach, assistant coach, and coach in latter years of participation.[1]

Johnson married Ron Noga in 1963. The couple raised two children, Carol Lee and Robert, and had six grandchildren. She was widowed in 1994.[1]

A vigorous grandmother, she served twelve years on the Board of Directors of the AAGPBL Players Association, and was involved in baseball clinics for girls with the Saskatchewan Baseball Association (1998–1999) and for Major League Baseball in the City of Halifax (1999).[1]

Johnson has been widely recognized for her playing and coaching skills and by opening doors for women in sports. She is part of Women in Baseball, a permanent display based at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York which was unveiled in 1988 to honor the entire AAGPBL rather than individual baseball personalities. Since then, the Hall of Fame has organized a series of special programs and events to honor the historic role of women in baseball.

In 1988, she gained induction into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and was inducted in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 1989.[4] In addition, she was honoured in her home town of Ogema, when the Sports Complex of the city was declared a municipal heritage property and the historical grandstand in the fairgrounds was dedicated as the Arleene Jobnson-Noga Grandstand.[5]

In 1998, Johnson and all Canadian AAGPBL players gained honorary induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.[6] She also was inducted in the Regina Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 as a member of the 1954 Regina Govins.[7] The same year, she was recognized by SASK Baseball for her dedication in building and promoting amateur baseball in Saskatchewan.[1]

Johnson died on March 14, 2017 at the age of 93.[8][9]

Career statistics[edit]

Batting

GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB TB BB SO BA OBP SLG
354 1119 91 183 14 13 3 103 123 232 117 104 .164 .240 .207

Fielding

GP PO A E TC DP FA
343 465 870 95 1430 50 .934

[10]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Official Website – Arleene Noga (Johnson) entry". 
  2. ^ The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: A Biographical Dictionary – W. C. Madden. Publisher: McFarland & Company, 2005. ISBN 0-7864-3747-2
  3. ^ All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Record Book – W. C. Madden. Publisher: McFarland & Company, 2000. ISBN 0-7864-3747-2
  4. ^ Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum website
  5. ^ Town of Ogema – Heritage Grandstand Dedicated to Arlene Johnson Noga Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum website
  7. ^ Regina Sports Hall of Fame – List of Inductees
  8. ^ Obituary of Arleene Noga
  9. ^ Arleene Johnson Noga (1924 – 2017)
  10. ^ All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Record Book