d

Monday, February 19, 2007

Alex Johnson

Here is the third 1975 Yankee card in a row to be featured on Cardboard Gods, the fourth if you include the upper-left section of the Bobby Bonds Man of Constant Sorrow collage. Prior to this current streak, I’ve posted images of Yankee players just twice, once to hurl obscenities at Reggie Jackson and the other time to admit (not without some guilt and shame) that as a young child I reacted gleefully to the news of Thurman Munson’s death. It may then seem strange that I have been spending the last week or so meditating on Yankee players to such a level of autohypnosis that I eventually went so far as to imagine the infamous Yankee cap insignia as being a doomed couple’s last perfect dance. In general, the interlocking NY insignia has an effect on me akin to that of Beethoven on Alex DeLarge after he undergoes his "treatment" in A Clockwork Orange. But the truth is I wasn’t born with this revulsion. Not until 1976, when Graig Nettles and Mickey Rivers ganged up on Bill Lee and maimed his pitching arm during a Piniella-the-Gorilla-instigated bench-clearing war with my team, the Red Sox, did I begin to hate the New York Yankees. This hatred grew exponentially over the next couple years, and, on October 2, 1978, became just about as permanent a part of the much-doctored Josh Wilker baseball card as anything can be.

But I am rediscovering that there was a brief time when the Yankees were just another team to me. I was seven years old when I obtained this Alex Johnson card, just beginning to get into baseball, and had not even been alive the last time they’d won anything. I had begun perusing a baseball encyclopedia given to me and my brother by my uncle, but, too young even to know about the Fisk-Munson melee in 1973, I hadn’t yet been driven by any wounding or enraging current event to meticulously study the long history of Yankee domination over the Red Sox. I didn’t hate the Yankees. I didn’t hate anybody.

I certainly didn’t hate Alex Johnson. Why would I? He was just some guy on some team. Everything about Alex Johnson’s 1975 card, from his sloppily doctored uniform and cap to the background of blurry inconsequentiality to his expression of slightly bemused resignation, seems to sigh the words "just passin’ through." Like Rudy May and Cecil Upshaw, Alex Johnson had come to the Yankees in the middle of the previous season, and, like his two just passin’ through teammates, he’d move on to another team by the time the Yankees started winning pennants again. For the Yankees he’d make no impact, leave no mark.

I wonder who will remember Alex Johnson. Though he won a batting title, in 1970, he may have been the most anonymous player ever to have done so. The year-by-year statistics on the back of his card show that batting title year as well as a handful of other good and even very good years, but they also reveal constant movement—two seasons with the Phillies, two with the Cardinals, two with the Reds, two with the Angels, one with the Indians, one season and most of the second with the Rangers, then 28 at-bats with the Yankees. After this card came out, he lasted one more season with the Yankees then spent his final year in Detroit.

I envision baseball nostalgia as something like a baggage claim carousel. At the baggage claim carousel of baseball nostalgia for the years in which Alex Johnson was just passin’ through, Phillies fans grab Johnny Callison, Cardinals fans snag Dal Maxvill, Reds fans snap up Vada Pinson, Angels fans corral Jim Fregosi, Indians fans and Rangers fans fight over Buddy Bell and Toby Harrah, Yankee fans deposit Bobby Bonds in the lost-and-found while looking for Bobby Murcer, and Tigers fans gleefully snare The Bird.

Meanwhile, a sturdy, duct-taped, well-traveled Hefty bag keeps going round and round on the conveyer belt untouched. Who will claim Alex Johnson, right-handed line-drive-smasher-for-hire?

68 Comments:

Anonymous pete said...

During my pre- and lower-school days, the Mets so owned New York that I was barely aware of the Yankees' existence, except from the occasional Jake Gibbs or Jim Lyttle who would show up in a pack of cards. My family and friends were all Mets fans.

Shortly thereafter, with the emergence of the fiendish Steinbrenner and signing of Catfish Hunter they began their next dastardly march toward world domination and it became clear that we would quickly learn what we know now.

The Yankees were EVIL.

Their fans were worse.

There was no Sanctuary.

'Twas ever thus...

4:22 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Alex Johnson had a rep as a clubhouse cancer that rivaled his contempo,Dick Allen. I remember that Yankees Red Sox fight. It was on TV (which wasn't always the case for games inthat era.) For whatever reason, I never minded Piniella. But I couldn't stand any of the other Yankees.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the writing here, but this entry is just plain lazy.

As this link shows (a link easily found via Google),
http://tinyurl.com/2wq5pe

Alex Johnson had anything but a forgettable career. After he retired, I think that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Josh Wilker said...

Hey Anonymous,

Thanks for the feedback. I guess my thing is to come at this stuff from a pronounced subjective point of view, in this case the point-of-view of a kid who had not yet learned any of the back-story about Alex Johnson (which I've since learned, at least to some extent). It's more important to me for the most part in these essays to Google my own memory than Google the internet (although I generally do that with these posts, too, and perhaps I should have done that here, though I don't know if it would have changed anything). I still think he's got to be at least in the conversation about the least-known batting champions, and I also think his itinerant career is going to make him more obscure than a comparable player who stuck around long enough for hometown fans to build an attachment to him.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex Johnson's career wasn't as forgettable as, say Cecil Upshaw's, but he's more anonymous than most batting title winners, as Josh wrote.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Josh Wilker said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Josh Wilker said...

There's not really enough chatter here to actually call it a discussion, but I just have to say that even to have a fraction of a discussion develop regarding the relative anonymity of baseball players of the mid- to late-1970s (e.g., Cecil Upshaw vs. Alex Johnson) is very, very pleasing to me. Even the fact that there's not that much chatter, that it's not really a discussion, is pleasing. It suggests a near-empty stadium, a few lone figures scattered throughout the stands, a game of no import, players few if any will remember.

It feels like home to me.

I am inspired by this feeling, and am now considering the establishment of the negative image of the Hall of Fame (cue the heraldic kazoos)...

The Hall of Anonymity.

And just to bring this back in the meandering direction of the not-quite-discussion, I think "anonymous" is right (and who would know better than he?): Alex Johnson is not worthy of a Etch-a-Sketch plaque in The Hall of Anonymity. Maybe he could appear, blurrily, with Pete Runnels, Billy Goodman, and others that, fittingly, I cannot think of right now (and am too lazy to look up), in a special exhibit on little-known batting champs.

p.s. When I was younger, possibly even into high school, I thought "Anonymous" was the actual name of a prolific poet from antiquity.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Josh. Put I would have been nowhere without the writings of Ibid. He spoke to me more than any of the others.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My no-talent brother Alan Smithee has been riding on my coattails far too long.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Mook said...

I remember Alex Johnson. He was a can't miss talent with the Phils who missed in Philly. His stint in California was maked by clubhouse fights and he made national news when he pulled a gun on the equally legendary and forgotten (except in Philadelphia-another story) Chico Ruiz. As Jon pointed out, he was viewed as a clubhouse cancer at the time. He also was the brother of Giants Running back Ron Johnson, who had a few good years.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous sex shop said...

I found a great deal of helpful info in this post!

3:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent blog here! Also your website a lot up very fast!
What web host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your affiliate link in your host?

I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

my blog ... buy social bookmarks

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post.

Feel free to surf to my homepage http://Www.youtube.com/

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and
I am waiting for your further post thank you once again.


My site :: Starcraft 2 Hack

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there, after reading this remarkable paragraph i am too happy to share my know-how here with friends.


Check out my web site - World Of Tanks Hack

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! Finally something about recycling facts.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great site you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any community
forums that cover the same topics talked about here? I'd really like to be a part of online community where I can get opinions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Bless you!

Feel free to visit my site microsoft points for Free codes

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the helpful information you provide in your articles.
I'll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I'm
quite certain I will learn many new stuff right here!
Good luck for the next!

My blog post recycling Facts

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's up, all is going perfectly here and ofcourse every one is sharing information, that's
truly fine, keep up writing.

My web page - http://jazzzonenetwork.net/

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there colleagues, how is all, and what you would like to say concerning this article, in my view its genuinely amazing in favor of me.


Also visit my blog; Dry Scalp Treatments

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog shine.
Please let me know where you got your theme. Thanks

Here is my web-site :: Coconut Oil For Hair

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When some one searches for his vital thing, so
he/she needs to be available that in detail, therefore
that thing is maintained over here.

Here is my blog post ... Diaper Rash Home Remedies

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey very interesting blog!

Feel free to surf to my web blog Diarrhea Remedies

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am curious to find out what blog system you have been utilizing?
I'm experiencing some small security issues with my latest website and I would like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any solutions?

My web blog - Coconut Oil For Hair

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello would you mind letting me know which hosting company
you're utilizing? I've loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet
browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.

Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at a fair price?
Thank you, I appreciate it!

my weblog ... www.flixya.com

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so interesting! I don't suppose I've read through something like this before.
So great to find another person with original thoughts
on this issue. Really.. many thanks for starting this up.
This site is one thing that's needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

my blog ... Unknown

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible story there. What happened after? Take care!


Here is my webpage - Unknown

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
I have joined your rss feed and look ahead to looking for
extra of your excellent post. Also, I've shared your web site in my social networks

Take a look at my web blog ... Unknown

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to my father who told me on the topic of this blog, this webpage is
genuinely awesome.

Also visit my web page Http://Www.Diaperrashhomeremedies.Com

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you desire to increase your know-how only keep visiting this web site and be updated with the hottest news posted here.


Here is my weblog: ps3 jailbreak

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest
you few interesting things or advice. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.
I wish to read even more things about it!

Also visit my blog ... Unknown

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off I would like to say excellent blog! I had a quick question that I'd like to ask if you don't mind.
I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the
first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin.

Any recommendations or hints? Appreciate it!

Look at my blog post :: Unknown

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dear, are you genuinely visiting this web site regularly, if so then you will without doubt take pleasant know-how.



Also visit my web-site; Unknown

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was suggested this web site through my cousin.
I'm not positive whether this put up is written by way of him as no one else recognise such targeted approximately my problem. You're amazing!
Thank you!

Also visit my web site ... Unknown

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Currently it appears like Movable Type is the best blogging platform available right now.

(from what I've read) Is that what you're using on your blog?



Also visit my webpage Mon Jervois

5:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, i think that i noticed you visited my site so i came to return the prefer?
.I'm attempting to to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

Here is my site stretch Marks

6:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not create many remarks, but after reading through some of the remarks on this
page "Alex Johnson". I do have a few questions for you if you tend not
to mind. Is it just me or does it look as if like a few of the responses come across as if they are left by
brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are posting on
other sites, I would like to keep up with you. Could you
list of every one of your public sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?



Feel free to visit my blog post :: Unknown

2:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
I'm planning to start my own site soon but I'm a little lost on everything.
Would you advise starting with a free platform like Wordpress or
go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I'm completely confused .. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

Here is my web site: http://Bonnieaam.Mancouch.Com/772674273/hair-loss-treatment-coconut-oil-when-hair

3:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Currently it seems like BlogEngine is the top blogging platform available right now.

(from what I've read) Is that what you're using on your blog?


My weblog Psn Code Generator

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; many of us have
developed some nice practices and we are looking to
swap strategies with other folks, why not shoot me an
e-mail if interested.

my blog post; unknown

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
Your site offered us with valuable info to work on. You've done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

Look at my web site :: unknown

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted at this
website is actually nice.

my web page :: World Of Tanks Hack

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on property insurance.
Regards

Feel free to surf to my web page Generateur de Code PSN

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?

I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks

Feel free to surf to my web site :: Unknown

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! At last I got a weblog from where I can in fact obtain valuable facts concerning
my study and knowledge.

Also visit my web page - permanent hair straightening

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice write-up. I definitely appreciate this website.
Stick with it!

Look into my site - dry scalp treatments

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fastidious replies in return of this query with real
arguments and describing everything about that.

Here is my page - Microsoft Office Gratuit

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woah! I'm really enjoying the template/theme of this website. It's
simple, yet effective. A lot of times it's difficult to get that "perfect balance" between user friendliness and appearance. I must say you have done a awesome job with this. Additionally, the blog loads extremely quick for me on Chrome. Superb Blog!

Feel free to visit my web page ... PS3 Jailbreak 4.41

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post. I'm going through many of these issues as well..

Also visit my blog post: Psn Code Generator

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post gives clear idea in support of the new people of blogging,
that actually how to do running a blog.

Also visit my web page - candy crush saga hack

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howdy! I could have sworn I've visited this blog before but after looking at a few of the posts I realized it's new to me.
Anyways, I'm definitely pleased I discovered it and I'll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!


Also visit my web site - Dragon City Hack

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was
extremely long) so I guess I'll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog.
I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I'm still new to the whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for inexperienced blog writers? I'd genuinely appreciate it.


My page psn Code generator

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! At last I got a website from where I be capable of really obtain useful data regarding my study and knowledge.


Feel free to surf to my website; World Of Tanks Hack

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for
you? Plz answer back as I'm looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thanks a lot

Here is my site ... Jailbreak Playstation 3

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post's to be precisely what I'm looking
for. can you offer guest writers to write
content for yourself? I wouldn't mind writing a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome website!

Also visit my homepage :: Http://Wiki.Nonverbaal.Nl/

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account
it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!
However, how could we communicate?

My homepage :: Your Anchor Text

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My spouse and I stumbled over here different web page
and thought I should check things out. I like what I see
so i am just following you. Look forward to looking
into your web page for a second time.

Also visit my web-site - Code Psn Gratuit

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is fantastic, as
well as the content!

Here is my web page; Psn Code Generator

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You made some good points there. I checked on the internet to learn more about the issue and found most people
will go along with your views on this web site.

Feel free to surf to my website :: 7zipdownload

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic beat ! I wish to apprentice while
you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a blog web site?
The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit
acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear idea

Also visit my weblog Minecraft Gift Code Generator

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heya i'm for the primary time here. I found this board and I to find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I am hoping to offer one thing back and help others like you helped me.

Feel free to surf to my weblog Free Psn Codes

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
I'm hoping to start my own website soon but I'm a little lost on
everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform
like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there
that I'm completely confused .. Any tips? Thanks a lot!

Feel free to surf to my web site: minecraft gift code generator

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You actually make it seem so easy together with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually one thing that I believe I might by no means understand.

It seems too complicated and very vast for me. I'm taking a look forward in your next put up, I will try to get the cling of it!

my webpage :: minecraft Crack

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative.
I am gonna watch out for brussels. I'll appreciate if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

My blog post ps3 Jailbreak

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

Also visit my weblog how to Jailbreak ps3

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?
I'm planning to start my own blog soon but I'm a little lost on everything.
Would you advise starting with a free platform like Wordpress or
go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that
I'm completely confused .. Any tips? Thanks a lot!

Also visit my homepage Ps3 Jailbreak 2

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello! This is my first visit to your blog! We
are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in
a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on.

You have done a marvellous job!

my site ... how to jailbreak a ps3 []

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a stuff of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious
knowledge on the topic of unexpected emotions.

Have a look at my blog post ... Code psn gratuit

2:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home