Bob Johnson

This article was written by Bill Nowlin

Bob Johnson (NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME LIBRARY)Because he was born on an Indian reservation, Bob Johnson was considered a ward of the government. He and his older brother Roy Johnson, whose career began in 1929 with the Detroit Tigers, were both born in Pryor, Oklahoma (some 35 miles east of Tulsa) – before Oklahoma became a state.1 Roy was the eldest of the two, born in 1903. Robert Lee Johnson was born on November 26, 1905.2 They had six siblings, two other boys and four girls. Their father was also named Robert Lee Johnson; he’d moved to the area from Missouri. Anna B. Downing was half-French, half-Cherokee. Bob came to be widely known as “Indian Bob” Johnson. When he was asked his nationality, Bob replied, “American.”3

There are different stories suggesting why the family moved to Tacoma, Washington, but move there they did.4 Both brothers enrolled in Irving School and played sandlot ball. It’s said they attended Tacoma High School, but biographers Patrick J. and Terrence K. McGrath report, “Nobody remembers the boys ever attending high school.”5 Roy reported going to school through eighth grade; Bob said he went to the Irving School through fifth grade and no further.6 In fact, it seems that Bob may have run away from home at age 13 and gone to Southern California.7 Roy began playing ball there, in the City League around 1922 and eventually came to the attention of scouts. Sonny Bailey, a former classmate of both Roy and Bob, saw them as opposites: “Roy was a hot-headed guy; Bob was real quiet. Roy could run like a rabbit. He was actually a natural right-handed hitter but his coaches always had him bat left-handed to take advantage of that great speed. Years later, when he made the big leagues, they made motion pictures of him running and bunting.”8

Bob Johnson is listed as batting and throwing right-handed, standing an even six feet tall and weighing 180 pounds. He was an outfielder throughout his 13-year big-league career (three more than his elder brother). Bob hit for more power (288 HR to Roy’s 58, for instance) but, remarkably, both brothers wound up with identical .296 averages. If they really wanted to get down to it, though, Roy could lord it over his brother just a bit in batting average: Roy hit .2963982 and Bob came in second with .2963872.

Bob held a very significant edge, being named seven times to the American League All-Star team. Roy was never so honored.

As the younger Johnson, Bob followed Roy into baseball. He got married five years earlier, however, and married Caroline Stout on August 15, 1924. They had three children — Roberta Louise, Beverly, and a son, Robert Lee Johnson III, who died before the age of 1.

Bob had been playing some semipro ball in Glendale, California, and he took a position as a firefighter serving in the ladder company as a pump engineer. Both he and Roy had played for the Miner Bldg. Co. team in Los Angeles, Roy as a pitcher and Bob at shortstop. They won the Industrial League pennant in 1925.

In 1931, he told sportswriters in Philadelphia, “I’d probably be chief of my company by now if that brother of mine, Roy, hadn’t kidded himself that he was a ball player. I was always better than Roy. When he stuck with Detroit, I knew I was good enough for the big leagues. That’s why I’m here.”9 Roy’s ragging on his brother may have blurred the timeline a little. Roy’s first year with the Tigers was in 1929, the same year Bob began his career with Portland in the Pacific Coast League. But Roy had been playing baseball for pay for several years, though one could say he started his own fulltime career the year before, with the San Francisco Seals.

Roy wowed followers of the game that year, hitting .360 with 22 homers, and making the Pacific Coast League All-Star team. The Detroit Tigers paid the Seals $75,000 for him.10 As one of the highest amounts ever paid for a player, it made headlines and certainly showed Bob Johnson there might be more lucrative opportunities for him than firefighting, particular if he did indeed believe he was a better player than his brother. Henry P. Edwards of the American League Service Bureau quoted Bob: “By all the gods of the Cherokee, if Brother Roy can get away with it in the big leagues, so can I.”11

While Roy was due to break in during 1929, Bob continued to play semipro ball. In fact, he’d saved some vacation time and in the spring of 1928 had visited any Coast League training camp he could get to. “He was rejected by every team he approached.”12 Even after Roy’s $75,000 purchase was so widely publicized, Bob was again “turned down by virtually every club in the circuit. But Lady Luck was riding with Bob this time around. A Wichita (Western League) scout spotted Bob during one of his futile attempts with a Coast League club.”13 The “scout” in question was Art Griggs, manager of the Wichita Aviators.14 Griggs had first heard of Johnson from Marty Krug of the Angels, who saw Bob hit five balls over the left-field fence during a workout, but the Angels had too many outfielders at the time and no place to farm out Johnson.15 Henry Edwards told another story about the tryout for the Angels. He wrote that Bob had shown up in shoes that were too big for him, resulting in his coming across as very awkward and an L.A. writer calling him a “big-footed Swede.” Bob, the Glendale firefighter, later said, “If I knew that writer’s house were burning, I would have let it burn. Me, a big-footed Swede. Me through whose veins the blood of the Cherokee warriors flowed.”16 Bob signed with Wichita in February 1929.

Even with Krug’s recommendation, he had difficulty getting established. Wichita, unimpressed, even loaned him out to the Pueblo club at one point. At Pueblo, “they decided someone had pulled a fast one of them and they sent me back. The Wichita manager grunted and made room for me on the bench. Then the regular center fielder [Forrest Jensen] broke an ankle and I was placed out there. Suddenly, I began to hit and after that they couldn’t get me out. Portland bought me.”17 They could have signed him a few months earlier. Now it cost Portland $12,500.18 He had begun to hit for sure. The Chicago Tribune says he had hit 16 homers in three weeks.19 In all he hit .273 with those 16 homers for Wichita. It took him a while to get going with the higher-classification Portland, but in 81 games he hit a respectable .254 with five more homers. Portland’s president Tom Turner predicted, “You’ll hear from this fellow in the majors in another season, or so.”20

It was three seasons later. Bob Johnson played 1930 through 1932 for Portland. In 1930, he hit .265 in 157 games but showed some power, with 21 home runs, though he was inconsistent and a little streaky. After the 1930 season, the Philadelphia Athletics purchased his contract on November 10. He’d been personally recommended to Connie Mack by Athletics VP John D. Shibe, who’d been particularly impressed with his fielding.21 He kept in shape playing winter ball with the Shell Oil team in Los Angeles.

Bob had a very good spring training at Fort Myers with the Athletics, but it was a tough outfield to crack. The absence of Al Simmons, holding out, gave Bob an opening. Bob even played in the city series with the Phillies in April, and Mack had decided to keep him. But at the last minute, Simmons signed, and Mack optioned Johnson back to Portland, admitting he’d changed his mind. In the 1931 season, Johnson hit .337 with 22 home runs for Portland despite being moved around in the field. He played every infield position at one time or another, though largely played outfield. The Beavers had been last in 1930 but finished in third place in 1931.

The Athletics had won the American League pennant three years in a row, 1929-1931. They’d won the World Series in 1929 and 1930, and took the 1931 Series to Game Seven before falling to the Cardinals. Arguably, they didn’t need Bob Johnson yet, and Mack optioned him to Portland yet again, well before spring training – in December 1931.22 Johnson was disappointed, and perhaps surprised by Mack being quoted as saying, “Johnson still does not hit the curve ball well enough.” The McGraths suggest that there were “whispers throughout the league about Roy Johnson’s flirtation with firewater [and that in spring training 1931 there had been] reports of Bob roaming the streets of Fort Myers chanting war whoops into the small wee hours of the morning.”23 It took another year before Bob could make the Athletics. He hit .330 in 149 games for Portland, with 29 home runs, and the Beavers won the Pacific Coast League pennant.

Johnson was pretty much a lock for 1933, and if there was any doubt he may have secured it with back-to-back games against the Dodgers in late March exhibition play in which he cracked four doubles and a home run, and drove in six.24 He debuted with Philadelphia on April 12, collecting his first base hit, a double, on a 1-for-4 day. He got one or more hits, including his first home run, in each of his first 19 games, save one (and in that one, he drove in a run). He was batting .348 with 18 RBIs after his first 20 games. That made an impression.

It was less than two weeks into the season when the two brothers – Bob and Roy – first faced each other in major-league play on April 23, 1933 when the Athletics visited Fenway Park. Bob played right field for Philadelphia and batted fifth in the order, following Jimmie Foxx. He was 0-for-5 on the day, batting against an unrelated Johnson, Red Sox pitcher Hank. Roy Johnson batted second for the Red Sox, playing center field. He had a 2-for-5 day, with one RBI and one run scored. He committed two errors. The Red Sox won. Both Johnsons had two RBIs the next day, with Roy enjoying another 3-for-5 day, and Bob settling for a double and three runs scored. (Jimmie Foxx overshadowed them both; he drove in seven runs with three doubles and a homer; the Athletics held on to win, 12-11.)

There were numerous other times in the four seasons they both played American League ball when both brothers played in the same game, but being on opposing teams didn’t affect their closeness. The two often spent time together in the offseason hunting and fishing. They never played for the same team at the same time, but after the June 17, 1933, doubleheader in Boston, the two teams shared the same train west — the Red Sox heading to Cleveland and the Athletics to Detroit.

Bob played right field in April, then switched over and played left field from that point forward. He had a .952 fielding percentage and recorded 16 assists. At the plate, he drove in 93 runs and scored 103; his batting average was .290.

Where brother Roy had slumped a bit in his sophomore season, Bob bumped his average up to .307 in 1934; he remained steady with 92 RBIs and 111 runs scored. He hit 34 homers, one of which was a May 2 pinch-hit homer at Fenway that gave the Athletics the lead in a game they won, 12-11. The four RBIs that Roy drove in kept the Red Sox close, but it was Bob’s hit that made the difference. He had 27 home runs when he wrenched his back spearing a ball off the wall of the bleachers at Comiskey Park on July 15, and hit none for more than a month. He could still play, but he was hampered as to power. Up to that point, he’d battled teammate Jimmie Foxx back and forth for the league lead in home runs, but after the 15th he hit only seven more. He still finished fourth in the league and had a very good year. His best day had to have been the June 16 doubleheader against the White Sox. Johnson was 2-for-5 in the first game, with a run scored, but the Athletics lost, 9-7. So he poured it on in the second game, going 6-for-6 with a double and two home runs, driving in four runs in an 11-inning 7-6 win. Over the winter, Johnson worked as a carpenter at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

In his third year – 1935 – he was named to the All-Star team for the first time. As late as June 8, he was still batting over .400. From June 10 on, he hit at a .259 pace, ceding first place on the 26th and winding up with a .299 average, but he drove in 109 runs. He was a legitimate slugger. Each of his first three seasons, he ranked third in the league in home runs.

Presumably, he earned a nice bonus. He had argued for more money after his exceptional second season, but Connie Mack was apparently still concerned that Johnson could get a little too rowdy. One Philadelphia headline read, “Bob Johnson Learns He Will Get Bonus If He Conducts Himself Beyond Reproach.”25 In 1936, when he seemed prepared to hold out yet again, he told newspapers that he wanted $12,000 for the year, and that he’d gotten $2,500 the year before by holding out (perhaps not the wisest thing to say.)26 Matters were worked out quickly and he joined the team for spring training.

Contrary to the prior years, Johnson got off to a slow start in 1936 and didn’t approach .300 until late June. His wife had a serious illness that required hospitalization and it had been weighing on his mind. By season’s end, he hit .292. There was a stretch in mid-July where he played 22 games at second base (and turned 20 double plays), but otherwise he was in his accustomed left field. At the plate, he drove in a career-best 121 runs. The Athletics had slipped badly; they finished in last place. Johnson’s 25 homers were more than double anyone else on the team.

In 1937, six of the 108 runs he batted in all came in one inning, an American League record at the time. It was in the first inning of the first game on August 29 against the White Sox at Chicago, and accounted for half of the 12 runs the Athletics put on the board before the White Sox ever got to bat. He drove in two with a single his first time up and hit a grand slam the next time up. Johnson drove in another run later in the game. The final score was 16-0. Another run he drove in that year had been the June 30 fifth-inning homer he hit off the Yankees’ Lefty Gomez, the only hit of the game off Gomez.

In terms of runs batted in, one would be hard-pressed to find someone with more consistent production over the seven-year stretch from 1935 through 1941: 109, 121, 108, 113, 114, 103, 107. By 1938, it was safe to say that Johnson had become Connie Mack’s franchise player. Many of the others – Foxx, Lefty Grove, and more – Mack had sold off, mostly to Tom Yawkey of the Red Sox.

The Athletics held a “Bob Johnson Day” on September 17, 1939. Bob was 3-for-7 on the day. In ceremonies, he was presented “a set of silver, two bird dogs, and numerous gifts.”27

Mack continued to sell off players when he had to, but he always held back Bob Johnson. In preparing for the winter meetings in December 1939, for instance, he declared that the whole team was “on the auction block,” except for catcher Frankie Hayes and Bob Johnson.28 Johnson had been an All-Star once again in 1939, and this time maintained his hitting throughout the full year, ending with a .338 batting average, best of his career, topped only by Joe DiMaggio and Jimmie Foxx. His 114 RBIs also placed him third; only Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio drove in more. The Athletics were a seventh-place team in 1939, but Bob Johnson placed eighth in the MVP balloting.

Before the 1940 season, Mack took the unusual step of signing Johnson to a two-year contract. Johnson had a mixed year in 1940; with a bad ankle, his average dropped to its lowest, .268, but he hit 31 home runs, drove in 103 runs, and played well in the field. The team finished in last place again.

For a while, heading into August 1941, it looked like the Athletics might get out of the cellar; they were in fourth place as late as August 3. Bob Johnson drove in 107, homered 22 times, and improved his average, though only slightly, to .275.

Bob was not likely to be called to military service in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor. He was 35, married, and with two children. Fellow outfielder Wally Moses was no longer with the team, though, traded to the White Sox. The McGraths write, “One player who would definitely miss Moses was none other than Bob Johnson. It was no coincidence that with the arrival of Wally, Bob started his consecutive 100 RBI streak, and it would be no mere happenstance that with the departure of Moses, Bob’s streak would come to an end. Wally was one of the few guys at the top of the order who proved to be of great assistance to Indian Bob.”29 He hit .291 but drove in only 80 (the entire team drove in 517), and homered 13 times (no one else homered more than five times.) Johnson had one of his best years on defense, with a .990 fielding percentage and 17 outfield assists.

After the season, and before September was over, Johnson announced that he would not play again for the Athletics. There was a bitter disagreement between him and Connie Mack over the second threshold of the attendance bonus Johnson believed he should have received, based on the announced attendance for the season. “Mack held to his position that the attendance figures announced daily had been inflated,” and that they had actually drawn more than 116,000 fewer (or more than 20% less than announced.)30 Naturally, Johnson was suspicious and felt aggrieved. He said he would work in a shipyard instead. At least one headline in November read, “A’s Want To Get Rid of Bob.”31 Mack announced that Johnson was available.

Spring training started later in 1943, and the two were still at loggerheads, neither willing to bend.32 The day pitchers and catchers were due to report was March 21 and on that day, Mack traded Johnson to the Washington Senators for outfielder Bobby Estalella, infielder Jimmy Pofahl, and that ever-helpful commodity, cash. The McGraths say that not only did Mack deny Johnson the $2,500 bonus but he offered him $4,000 less in base salary for 1943 and did away with attendance bonuses completely. They also say that “Mack’s pique got in the way of his judgment” and he had turned down better offers that had been available earlier.33

Red Smith wrote, “The Athletics lost the finest ball player they have had since championship days.”34

Naturally, Johnson wanted to do well against his former team. He didn’t have a very good year overall. He got into 117 games (his previous low was 138) and hit a career-low .265 for the year, with only 63 RBIs, also the fewest of any year to date. Of the 63 RBIs, 19 of them were against the Athletics, far more than against any other team. His batting average was .320 against the Athletics; only the .306 he hit against the Red Sox exceeded .300. And he hit only seven home runs all year long, attributable perhaps to the softer “balata ball” used during World War II to help conserve rubber for the war effort. (The entire Washington team hit 47 home runs in 1943, and yet finished in second place.)

Part of the reason for his relatively poor performance can be traced to a hand injury on July 17. He had a 3-for-4 day and was hitting .296 at the time, but hurt his hand. “How the hand was injured was open to conjecture,” report the McGraths. “The story given by the club was that Bob had sprained the hand making a sliding catch against the Red Sox. Later it was strongly hinted that Bob had dented the hand on the head of [teammate] Alex Carrasquel for the big right-hander’s lack of competitive fire.”35 He also had a serious fever that had him out from August 25 to September 4.

Johnson also played 19 games at third base and 10 at first, and was glad for the opportunity. For years, he had said he wanted to play infield and finally got his chance.36 For all his talk, he made eight errors in 76 chances, an .895 fielding percentage.

Despite his offensive stats being much lower than other years, the baseball writers noted his importance to the second-place Senators and voted Bob Johnson fifth place in league MVP voting. It was the highest he ever placed.

The Boston Red Sox offered cash and bought Johnson from Washington on December 4, reportedly for $10,000.37 He played his next two seasons for the team that had once employed his brother Roy. Burt Whitman of the Boston Herald wrote, “Johnson’s no paragon. In fact, he’s earned himself quite a rep with the old fire-water, second only to that enjoyed by brother Roy.”38 Whitman also reported that Bob had never had a run-in with Washington manager Ossie Bluege.

Johnson played left field for the Red Sox and had a very good year. He hit .324, and his .431 on-base percentage led the American League. He hit for the cycle on June 6 in Detroit. Johnson drove in 106 runs, the eighth time he’d exceeded 100 RBIs. He was named to the All-Star team, and placed 10th for MVP. The Red Sox made a legitimate run for the pennant, but when September arrived (and Bobby Doerr and a couple of others left for military service), they slid back to fourth place, solidified by a 10-game losing streak.

He came close to perishing on his way to spring training in 1945. He traveled across country from Oregon to Philadelphia, then caught a connecting train to Atlantic City, near where the Red Sox were holding spring training. The train was packed and there was no room to sit, but it was only an hour’s ride so he stood in between two cars, one foot on each side of the gap. Somehow the cars became uncoupled and he “found himself doing a split” but held onto one of the railings and pulled himself onto that car.39

Johnson’s last year in the majors was 1945, and his .280 average cost him the chance to finish with a career average over .300. He finished at .296. He added another 72 runs batted in, and 12 more homers boosted his career total to 288. Two days after Christmas, knowing that most of their prewar team – Ted Williams, Dominic DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, etc. – would be rejoining them for the 1946 season, the Red Sox released Bob Johnson. On July 26, he had passed the 2,000-hit mark and he finished with 2,051 base hits. He realized he might have put up even higher totals on offense if he had played on better teams. “When you’re playing for a weak team, it’s a lot tougher…Just for my own satisfaction, I would have liked to have been playing for the Yankees when they were good. Pitchers couldn’t have afforded to concentrate on me – they would have been busy worrying about other guys in the lineup. Besides, when you’re with a winning team, you can’t help but be a better ball player.”40

Hall of Famer Bucky Harris agreed: “That guy should have led the league both in hitting and runs batted in. But with the Athletics there was rarely anybody on base to drive home, and because there was nobody behind him in the lineup with any batting power, Bob had to keep hitting at bad balls.”41

Only three times did he play for a team that finished above .500.

Johnson was already thinking about life after baseball. “I know this game. I am confident I could do a good job as a manager. But then again – that’s all of baseball’s breaks, too. Somebody’s got to give you a chance. And there aren’t that many managerial jobs floating around.”42

He wasn’t ready to hang up his playing career, however. Apparently, more than one big-league team made him an offer, but the American Association’s Milwaukee Brewers offered $10,000, outbidding them all.43 He got off to a good start, but injured his leg on July 3, toughed it out but felt he was adding nothing to the team, and decided to quit on July 31. He’d been in 94 games, batting .270 at the end.

Johnson came back in 1947, playing for the Seattle Rainiers in the Pacific Coast League. He hit .295 in 130 games, though with only seven home runs. The team released him on September 30 and it looked as though his time in baseball may be done. But on July 14, 1948, a need developed and the Rainiers added him to their roster. He got into 83 games and hit .283.

In 1949 he was presented the managerial opportunity he had sought, with the Tacoma Tigers of the Class-B Western International League. He didn’t have the strongest personnel. The best player on the team was himself, and he assigned himself to play wherever needed – six positions in May alone, including pitching. It wasn’t just a stunt. He actually pitched 99 innings in 27 games, with a 5-7 record but a telltale 7.00 earned run average. On September 4, the team held a Bob Johnson Day in Tacoma. In December, Jim Brillheart was named manager for 1950.

Bob’s marriage to Caroline Stout ended around this time, and he married Betty Pastore on September 20, 1950. He gave up his ranch in the divorce from Caroline, but the marriage to Betty lasted for the rest of his life. Betty also gave birth to Robert Lee Johnson III in 1951. Two years later, Bob lost his daughter Beverly Jean to lupus.

For years, Johnson had run a tavern in Tacoma. He had been driving an oil truck from the late 1940s, making fuel deliveries to homes in the area.

Bob played City League ball in Tacoma for a few years, and played games against the maximum security prison team on McNiel Island all the way until 1967.44 After working for the oil company, he began driving for the George Scofield Company, which dealt in ready-mix concrete, sand, and gravel. Lastly, he worked driving a beer truck for the Heidelberg Brewery and as a worker in the Carling Brewery Co. bottling plant.

His work in the beer industry stands in juxtaposition to the demons with which brother Roy struggled. Accounts indicate that Bob took care of his brother Roy, who battled alcoholism and didn’t hold a regular job. Roy died on September 10, 1973, his death attributed to “chronic alcoholism.”45 Bob Johnson was later named to the Pierce County Hall of Fame and the Washington State Hall of Fame. None other than Ted Williams once spoke, in 1975, about Bob’s accomplishment with the Philadelphia Athletics: “Bob drove in over one hundred runs in seven of his first nine seasons with that rag-tag outfit. There weren’t that many runners on base than that when he came to the plate in those years, let alone guys in scoring position.”46

Bob Johnson died of heart failure on July 6, 1982, in Tacoma.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author also accessed Johnson’s player file and player questionnaire from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball,,, and the SABR Minor Leagues Database, accessed online at



1 Roy Johnson reported being “farm born” on his Hall of Fame player questionnaire. Other accounts locate the ranch at Spavinaw, Oklahoma, about 24 miles from Pryor. Spavinaw itself is the birthplace of Mickey Mantle. Bob wrote “on a farm near Pryor, Oklahoma.”

2 On an American League questionnaire he appears to have completed around 1940, Bob wrote that he was born on that date in 1906. On his Hall of Fame player questionnaire, which he completed in the early 1960s, he made himself yet another year younger, saying he’s been born in 1907.

3 Chicago Tribune, June 22, 1934: 25. Some of the newspapers, of course, played up the Indian angle. John Drohan of a Boston newspaper wrote about approaching Roy in the Red Sox dugout and holding up his right hand and saying, “How?” Then he asked, “How many base hits you ketchum today?” Roy, playing along (and it was in play), responded, “Injun no know, but him keep swingin’ just the same. He like white man pitcher, but if white man pitcher get ‘um mad, just too bad. Injun know you can’t get ’em hit with tomahawk on shoulder. But if Injun swing ’em, ketchum base hit.” How do we know this was all said in jest? After two more paragraphs of this farcical language, Drohan quoted wrote: “‘Say cut it out,’ said Roy breaking into United States, ‘you’ll have me talking that way permanently.” John Drohan, “Cherokee-Swede Smote Ball for .571 Against St. Louis and Chicago Teams,” unattributed, undated newspaper clipping,

4 Most of the information about the Johnson family, and Bob’s post-baseball career, comes from the exhaustively researched book by Patrick J. and Terrence K. McGrath, Bright Star in a Shadowy Sky: The Story of Indian Bob Johnson (Pittsburgh: Dorrance Publishing, 2002).

5 McGrath & McGrath, 3.

6 Bob Johnson player questionnaire at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

7 Red Smith, Philadelphia Record, n.d., September 1939. See McGrath & McGrath, 361.

8 McGrath & McGrath, 2, 3.

9 McGrath & McGrath, 4.

10 Associated Press, “Tigers Sign Harris, Former Washington Leader, As Manager,” New York Times, October 20, 1928: 15.

11 American League press release, dated December 1933. Roy added, “I’m a better player than Roy…if he can make good in the big show, what’s to stop me.”

12 McGrath & McGrath, 10.

13 McGrath & McGrath, 15.

14 James C. Isaminger, “Under the Spotlight,” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 10, 1934: 4S.

15 “Youngster Shows Power,” Los Angeles Times, February 15, 1929: A9.

16 American League press release dated December 1933.

17 McGrath & McGrath, 15, 16.

18 L. H. Gregory, “Angels Got Started Too Late to Save Krug After Hollywood Passed,” Oregonian, July 11, 1929: 15.

19 “Johnson Is Just As Handy at Bat as at Fire Pump,” Chicago Tribune, June 22, 1934: 25.

20 McGrath & McGrath, 17.

21 James C. Isaminger, “Under the Spotlight,” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 10, 1934: 4S. See also Philadelphia Record, January 9, 1931, and James C. Isaminger, “Under the Spotlight,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 25, 1931: 4S.

22 Associated Press, “Johnson Goes Back to Portland Team,” San Diego Union, December 31, 1931: 13.

23 McGrath & McGrath, 84, 87.

24 Roscoe McGowen, “Athletics’ Long Hits Beat Dodgers, 7-4,” New York Times, March 31, 1933: 24.

25 McGrath & McGrath, 205.

26 McGrath & McGrath, 239.

27 “Feller Bows, 4-2, Then Indians Win,” New York Times, September 18, 1937: 26.

28 Associated Press, “Auction Block,” Christian Science Monitor, November 1, 1939: 15.

29 McGrath & McGrath, 446.

30 McGrath & McGrath, 471.

31 Evening Post (Charleston, South Carolina), November 28, 1942: 37.

32 See, for instance, Associated Press, “Johnson Rejects A’S Offer, Still Wants To Be Traded,” Washington (DC) Evening Star of January 24, 1943.

33 McGrath & McGrath, 478.

34 Philadelphia Record, March 24, 1943.

35 McGrath & McGrath, 491.

36 Shirley Povich, “Senators’ Homers Check Browns, 6-4,” Washington Post, July 4, 1943: S3.

37 Staff Correspondent, “Red Sox Pay $10,000 for Outfielder,” Washington Post, December 4, 1943: 10.

38 Burt Whitman, “Red Sox Purchase Indian Bob Johnson From Nats for Cash,” Boston Herald, December 4, 1943: 4.

39 “Bob Johnson of Red Sox Had Close Call on Train,” unidentified March 29, 1945 news clipping in Johnson’s Hall of Fame player file.

40 Vincent X. Flaherty, “Belting Bob Looks Back at the ‘Breaks’,” The Sporting News, August 16, 1945: 11.

41 Shirley Povich, “Bob Johnson, Seldom in Headlines, Always ‘Carried Load’,” Washington Post, March 23, 1943: 14.

42 Povich, “Bob Johnson, Seldom in Headlines, Always ‘Carried Load’.”

43 McGrath & McGrath, 566.

44 McGrath & McGrath, 598.

45 State of Washington certificate of death.

46 Cited in McGrath & McGrath, 614.

Full Name

Robert Lee Johnson


November 26, 1905 at Pryor, OK (USA)


July 6, 1982 at Tacoma, WA (USA)

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