It took me a while to find all the old Washington Post archived stories about then-Orioles second baseman Davey Johnson, because he wasn’t Davey Johnson back then. He was Dave Johnson, just like the Wizards’ radio play-by-play man.
You don’t find many people who go from “Dave” to “Davey” that late in life. Gotta be a story there.
Anyhow, because I’m so bored that I’m again looking at Redskins-themed license plates, I figured I would bring you a few classic Dave Johnson moments from the archives. As always, the biggest thing I learned is that — despite the nostalgia of some of our older readers — The Post sports section now is about 10,000 times better written, more informative and more intelligent than it was 40 years ago. Plus, those quotes all sound fake. Sorry, but it’s true.
Which is not to say the ‘90s weren’t better than the ‘10s; I’m just saying, some of the nostalgia is a bet overblown.
This is from a Bob Addie piece from October of 1971, after the Orioles beat the A’s to win the pennant. In the same piece, Jim Palmer was asked if he’d rather play the Giants or the Pirates in the World Series; “I must say as a pitcher that I think the Giants would be easier to handle,” Palmer said. That is a quote that you would not get in 2011.
May of 1966. Something else you likely wouldn’t see in today’s sports sections. But yeah, it does speak highly of the Orioles conditioning program.
Now we’re up to August of 1966, when Jerry Adair had already been traded to Chicago for knuckleballer Eddie Fisher to make room for Johnson. Yes, I’m mostly doing this for my dad, who was a big Orioles fan back then.
“I came up to the big leagues on my bat,” Johnson said. “I’d like to be known for my hitting — not as a glove man. But right now I’m neither.”
People sure used to talk different back then.
Later in that same month, Johnson got injured against the Tigers. He wasn’t amused. The “Brown” in question was Gates Brown,
Here’s a Shirley Povich excerpt from 1970. This column was mostly about Ted Williams talking to Orioles writers about the Senators, but Povich got in some Johnson talk at the end.
Back to the 1971 World Series, which wound up involving the Pirates. Here’s a Bob Addie column from the first night game in World Series history, in which young Pirates hurler Bruce Kison hit three Orioles. In the fourth inning, Kison tried to take out Johnson at second base, leading to the above passage.
And finally, here’s a George Solomon piece from 1973, after Johnson had been shipped to the Braves. There’s some good stuff in this piece — including a fairly arresting use of the n-word — which I wish I could run in full. It starts with Aaron in his apartment, nursing a boil in his stomach, and getting ready to face Tommy John.
“I used to love to come to the ball park,” Aaron told Solomon, my first editor here. “But now I hate it. Every day becomes a little tougher because of all this. Writers, tape recorders, cameras, questions and more questions. Roger Maris lost his hair the season he hit 61. I still have my hair, but when it’s all over, I’m going home to Mobile to fish for a long, long time.”
But that has nothing to do with Dave Johnson