Cliff Johnson (baseball)

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Cliff Johnson
Cliff Johnson - Houston Astros - 1976.jpg
Johnson in 1976
Designated hitter / First baseman / Catcher
Born: (1947-07-22) July 22, 1947 (age 72)
San Antonio, Texas
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 13, 1972, for the Houston Astros
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1986, for the Toronto Blue Jays
MLB statistics
Batting average.258
Home Runs196
Runs batted in699
Career highlights and awards

Clifford "Heathcliff" Johnson, Jr. (born July 22, 1947) is a retired Major League Baseball player who played for the Houston Astros (1972–1977), New York Yankees (1977–1979), Cleveland Indians (1979–1980), Chicago Cubs (1980), Oakland Athletics (1981–82), Toronto Blue Jays (1983–84, 1985–1986) and Texas Rangers (1985). He batted and threw right-handed and split time between catcher, first baseman, and outfielder in the early part of his Major League career before becoming primarily a full-time designated hitter.


As a catcher at San Antonio's Wheatley High School in 1965, Johnson was the 83rd pick in the 1966 baseball draft by the Houston Astros. After six seasons in the minor leagues, he made his major league debut on September 13, 1972, and played for the Astros until partway through the 1977 season, when he was traded to the Yankees.[1]

Johnson was a member of the 1977 and 1978 Yankees World Series championship teams, both over the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1979, he was traded to Cleveland 2 months after a locker room brawl with closer Rich Gossage that put Gossage on the disabled list for two months.[2]

As a member of the Blue Jays in the mid-1980s, Johnson was a fan favorite at Exhibition Stadium until his retirement on September 30, 1986.

In a 15-season major League career, Johnson posted a .258 batting average with 196 home runs and 669 RBI in 1369 games played. Johnson held the MLB record for pinch hit home runs with 20 until he was surpassed by Matt Stairs in 2010.


Johnson is the brother-in-law of retired Major League left fielder Mike Easler.


  1. ^ "The Milwaukee Journal - Google News Archive Search".
  2. ^ "Cliff Johnson traded". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. 16 June 1979. Retrieved 18 October 2011.

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