Thursday, October 29, 2020


William “Judy” Johnson (1918-1938)

William “Judy” Johnson was born in Snow Hill, Maryland in 1900. He started playing baseball for sand lot and semipro teams like the Wilmington Royal Blues and Chester Stars in about 1915. Johnson signed his first real professional contract in 1918 with the Atlantic City Bacharcah Giants for $ 5.00 a game. He had a tryout with Ed Bolden’s Hilldale Daisies in 1919 but was cut because the manager felt he was too small and needed more seasoning.  Determined to make the Hilldale club, Johnson signed to play with the Madison Stars who were the unofficial farm club of Hilldale.

William “Judy” Johnson

  William “Judy” Johnson - Hilldale

Johnson got his break in 1921 when he made the Hilldale Daises and began a Negro League career that would last for 17 years. During his Negro League career, Judy Johnson played for the following teams:

Hilldale Daisies



Hilldale Giants

Eastern Colored League


Hilldale Giants

American Negro League


Homestead Grays

Negro National League

1930 and 1937

Hilldale Giants



Hilldale Giants

East-West League


Pittsburgh Crawfords

Negro National League


Judy Johnson was an excellent all around player: he was a clutch hitter, possessed a good eye at the plate, was an exceptional fielder, good base runner and a team leader. He was the captain of probably the greatest Negro League team of all time, the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords. This team included five National Baseball Hall of Famers: Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, Cool Pappa Bell and Judy Johnson.

William “Judy” Johnson

Judy Johnson - Pittsburg Crawfords (1932-1936)

During the off season, Johnson played ball in Cuba, barnstormed or played in the Florida Winter Hotel League. Johnson played for the famous Breakers Hotel and Poinciana Hotel baseball teams in the 1920’s.

Some of Judy Johnson’s career highlights in Negro League baseball are:

·         Played seventeen years in Negro National League

·         Career batting average of .309 in Negro National League

·         Career batting average of .331 in six seasons in Cuban League

·         Best years hitting included: 1923 (.391), 1924 (.369), 1925 (.392), 1929 (.390), 1932 (.332), 1933 (.333) and 1934 (.367)

·         Named to Negro League East-West All Star game in 1933 and 1936

·         Named Negro League Most Valuable Player in 1929

After his Negro League career, Johnson scouted for the Philadelphia Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Braves of Major League baseball for over ten years.

Judy Johnson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1975.



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