Note: This page links to 1970s pitcher Tom Johnson. For others with similar names, click here.
Thomas Raymond Johnson
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.
- School University of Minnesota
- High School Murray High School (St. Paul)
- Debut September 10, 1974
- Final Game September 27, 1978
- Born April 2, 1951 in St. Paul, MN USA
Tom Johnson had one tremendous major league season, in 1977, when he was the relief ace of the Minnesota Twins. That year, he went 16-7 while pitching exclusively in relief, putting up one of the highest totals of relief wins ever recorded. He also saved 15 games and logged 146 2/3 innings. His 3.13 ERA was the best on the staff after the 2.50 put up by Mike Pazik in only 18 innings. He was a major reason why the Twins were able to hang on in the AL West race for a good part of the season that year.
The rest of his career was not so great, however. A local boy, he was signed by the Twins as an amateur free agent in 1970 and reached the big leagues at the tail end of the 1974 season, going 2-0 with a save and a perfect 0.00 ERA in 4 appearances. In 1975, he went 1-2, 4.19 with 3 saves, and in 1976, he was 3-1, 2.61 in 18 games as Bill Campbell had a great year as the team's closer. Manager Gene Mauch liked to use his relief ace as much as possible in those days, having first done so with Mike Marshall and Dale Murray when he managed the Montreal Expos in the mid-1970s and repeating the pattern with Campbell and then Johnson. All four won in double figures in addition to leading the team in saves during that period.
In 1978, however, Johnson suffered from having been overused the previous season, as he pitched only 18 times, with his era shooting up to 5.51 and his record being only 1-4, with 3 saves. By then, Marshall had been reunited with Mauch, and he went on to have a couple more outstanding seasons. Johnson was done however, finishing with a record of 23-14, 2 saves and a 3.39 ERA in five seasons.
- 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1977)