Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jay Johnstone (#213)

Jay Johnstone will be appearing on my 1970 blog soon, as part of the “Bat Rack” series, so I’ll focus on his entire career in that post. I wanted to show his 1967 card also, specifically because of the uniform he is wearing.

Here it is 2 years after the Angels moved from Los Angeles to Anaheim, and Jay is shown in his “Los Angeles” uniform. (Maybe the Topps' expert misread this as "Angels", and let it go.) This was brought to my attention about a year ago by fellow blogger Eric C. Loy, as we were discussing Topps’ inability to photograph Angels’ players in a timely fashion. This must have been a spring training photo from 1965, because Johnstone didn’t begin playing for the Angels until 1966, when they were in Anaheim.

This is also Johnstone’s rookie card. He was one of 6 rookies with significant playing time in 1966 that didn’t appear in the 1966 Topps set, even on a Rookie Stars card. I previously posted this list on my 1966 blog in April 2010:

I began paying attention to Jay in the mid-1970s when he was with the Phillies. Johnstone was one of 2 players (along with Bill Robinson) that the Phillies rescued from the minor-league scrap heap during that time, who went on to revive their careers the second time around. Jay was the Phillies’ regular right fielder from late 1974 to mid-1977, when the Phillies acquired Bake McBride from the Cardinals.

Johnstone was known as a character (a “flake” in 1970s’ parlance), and was dubbed “The Jay of Johnstone” by Phillies’ broadcaster Harry Kalas. I remember him specifically for a great defensive play he made against the Pirates during a game in 1975. Playing right field, he ran in and took a snap throw from catcher Johnny Oates, picking runner Frank Taveras off of first base. (I discovered today that this event is mentioned by the sponsor of Johnstone’s page.)

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