Johnson Joins Phila. Hall of Fame Ranks
Author: Donald Hunt
William Julius “Judy” Johnson was regarded by many baseball experts as the best third baseman in the Negro Leagues. Johnson, a true baseball legend, will be inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame (PSHOF).
He will join Larry Bowa, John Cappelletti, Eddie Collins, Bill Conlin, Joey Giardello, Charlie Jenkins, Neil Johnston, Tommy Lasorda, Mel Sheppard, Betty Shellenberger, Emlen Tunnell, Merrill Reese and the 1974-75 Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers. The induction ceremony will be held on November 12 at the Hyatt Regency Penn’s Landing. This will be the sixth induction class of the PSHOF.
Johnson grew up in Wilmington, Del. and played 11 seasons for the Darby Hilldales (1921-29, 1931-32). He was known as a sure handed third baseman with good range and a strong arm.
“I think this is a good thing to have somebody like him go into the hall of fame,” said Johnson’s sister-in-law Olivia Johnson, who is 98-years-old. “I had gone to all the games through the years he had played in. He’s not living, but it’s nice to have somebody remember Judy Johnson.”
Johnson passed away on June 15, 1989. He was quite a baseball player. He was a line drive clutch hitter who compiled a lifetime batting average of .349.
In 1924-25, he played in the first two Negro League World Series. In 1924, he hit .364 with 16 hits and eight RBI during the series. In 1925, he led the Hilldale team to the Negro League World Series championship. He also played on three Eastern Colored League championships with the Darby Daisies from 1923-25.
“He was uncle Judy to us,” said Diana Ferguson White, Johnson’s cousin. “I remember him as a kid growing up when he was scouting (for the Phillies). I used to listen to him talk about playing baseball and all the experiences that he had and the difficulties they had traveling around the country as a Negro League player. But he could always find a funny side to what happen. Being inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame is a great honor.”
In addition to playing for Hilldales, and Daisies, Johnson played for the Bacharach Giants, Madison Stars, Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 1975, which was a great honor. Now, he’ll go into the local sports hall of fame.
“It’s great honor for him,” said David White, Johnson’s cousin. “It really is. He was a real pioneer. This is a great thing.”