No. 274 Bob Johnson (Number 27 Left Field)

Bob Johnson was consistent as a batter. Sometimes he would do better or worse in a category for a year but go back to normal in the category the next year. In his first 9 years in the National League he scored between 90 and 115 runs every year. It was the same with RBIs except one year he had 121 RBIs. He started to fade a little after that, but still was an above average hitter. In part because he drew a good number of walks. He never had 100 but had 99 one year and 98 another.

Bill James as an A- in consistency using win shares. Actually, with win shares he is between 18 -23 every year except for three years with 31, 29 and 26. He probably would have made the hall of fame is he played longer or played on a better team.

Bob Johnson only played 13 years. He didn’t play in the majors until age 27 and retired after age 39 even though he had a decent year. Bob didn’t start off wanting to be a ballplayer. He played in an organized league for fun and almost became a firefighter. However, his older brother Roy signed with the Tigers and Bob said he was better than Roy and it took him years, but he eventually proved that he was. Looking at the stats was a way better hitter, Roy looks to be a slightly better fielder, but Bob looks to be a slightly better baserunner.

There was struggles though for Bob to get to the major. He couldn’t get try outs, failed a try out and finally signed with Wichita in 1929. The next year the As signed him and because they had a great outfield Bob went to Portland where he stayed 3 years. Then with the depression, Simmons was sold to the White Sox opening up space in the outfield. Bob Johnson was then a full-time starter with the Athletics. He spent the next 9 years being a consistent great player, especially in the hitting department.

The Athletics were a decent team even without Simmons in 1934. They still had Cochrane, Foxx, and Lefty Grove. But soon Mack had to get rid of those players. From 1935 to 1943 the Athletics came in either seventh or eighth in an eight-team league. I’m sure that was frustrating for such a good player.

In 1943 he was traded to the Senators, who sold him to the Red Sox in 1944. Bob must have liked Fenway Park as he had a really good year that year, leading the league in on-base percentage. That was the year he had 31 Win Shares. He faded some in 1945 then was released by the Red Sox.

Bob kept playing in the minors, including going back to the Pacific Coast League. He later managed a year at Tacoma.

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