by Kenny Rogers
Former Dodgers fan favorite Jay Johnstone 74, Jr
Died Sept 26, 2020.
John William Johnstone Jr. (November 20, 1945 – September 26, 2020) was an American professional baseball player and television sports announcer. He played in Major League Baseball as an outfielder from 1966 to 1985 for the California Angels, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs.
Johnstone was a member of two World Series champions with the Yankees in 1978 and the Dodgers in 1981. He was known as a versatile outfielder with a good sense of humor, known for keeping clubhouses loose with pranks and gimmicks. He later served as a radio color commentator for the Yankees (1989–1990) and Phillies (1992–1993).
Johnstone pulled off a number of infamous pranks during his playing days, including placing a soggy brownie inside Steve Garvey's first base mitt, setting teammates' cleats on fire (known as "hot-footing"), cutting out the crotch area of Rick Sutcliffe's underwear, locking Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda in his office during spring training, once dressing up along with Jerry Reuss as groundskeepers to drag the Dodger Stadium infield in the fifth inning and then hitting a pinch-hit home run when Lasorda tried to show him up while imposing a fine to both players for being out of uniform, nailing teammates' cleats to the floor, and replacing the celebrity photos in manager Lasorda's office with pictures of himself, Reuss, and Don Stanhouse. One time, during pre-game warm ups, he climbed atop the Dodger dugout and, in full game uniform, walked through the field boxes at Dodger Stadium to the concession stand and got a hot dog. Another time he bolted from a taxicab on the gridlocked Golden State Freeway during a pregame traffic jam and began running in uniform toward the Stadium Way exit. He also once dressed up in Lasorda's uniform (with padding underneath) and ran out to the mound to talk to the pitcher while carrying Lasorda's book and a can of Slim Fast.
As a baseball announcer, he once covered a microphone with a scent of stale eggs then proceeded to interview Dave "Smoke" Stewart, Mickey Hatcher, and other players. While faking a pause for commercials during a TV interview with Yankee players Deion Sanders and Mel Hall, Johnstone tricked them into uncovering a restaurant bread basket containing a snake; both players jumped from their seats, provoking laughter all around.
Many of the pranks, along with other aspects of his career, are described in the books he co-authored with sports columnist Rick Talley – Temporary Insanity, Over the Edge, and Some of My Best Friends Are Crazy.
|July 30, 1966, for the California Angels|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 6, 1985, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Runs batted in||531|
|Career highlights and awards|