Thursday, September 1, 2011

Request Week- Charles Johnson

Request week continues to roll along as blog reader Sharon requested a post about Charles Johnson, who she says that he is her favorite player. She didn't mention why that is, but I hope to touch on it during this post. Let me know how I did Sharon!

Charles was a catcher in the Majors for twelve seasons from 1994-2005 and played for six teams over his career. He is best remembered as a Marlin, and rightly so as he spent seven seasons representing the teal and black. He was known for being a great defensive catcher and appropriately caught three no-hitters, all with the Marlins; Al Leiter in 1996, Kevin Brown in 1997, and AJ Burnett in 2001. There are very few other catchers who can say there were behind the plate for that many no-no's and only Jason Varitek(4) has caught more.

During his time with the Marlins, Charles also won four consecutive Gold Glove awards from 1995-98, made two All-Star squads ('97 & '01) and was a member of their 1997 World Series Championship team. I would certainly think that he deserves a spot in the Marlins Hall of Fame, if they have something like that: considering the team has only been around since 1993, I doubt that many players have done more for the franchise.

On December 1, 1998, Charles was traded by the Dodgers to the Mets, who flipped him that same day to the Orioles for Armando Benitez. He spent the next season and a half as the O's everyday catcher and he was enjoying the best offensive season of his career in 2000 when the Orioles traded him and Harold Baines to the White Sox for Brook Fordyce and three minor leaguers (who never made it to the big leagues). Sure seems like a clunker from where I sit.

I purchased this Orioles signed card online. I previously had an in-person autograph from Charles in my collection, but it was on a Marlins card and I needed an upgrade. Charles signed for me in 1994 or 1995 when the Marlins were playing the Pirates and his signature looked more like the pre-printed one on the card than the abbreviated version that it devolved into, but that's a pretty standard occurrence.


unclemoe said...

I don't even remember him on the O's.


Sharon said...

Nicely done!

I liked him as a defensive catcher for the Marlins (I was a H.S. softball catcher at the time) so I was ecstatic when he got traded to Baltimore. He's very forgettable for most people though. ;)

Ryan aka Orioles Magic said...

moe- He wasn't an O for very long and I pretty much remember him with the Marlins too.

Sharon- Thanks! I can totally understand why you liked him!