Jay Johnstone, Major League Outfielder and Prankster, Dies at 74


This obituary is a part of a collection about individuals who have died within the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others right here.

Jay Johnstone spent 20 seasons as a significant league outfielder and performed within the World Series for the 1978 Yankees and the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers.

Although he had a stable profession, he was by no means an All-Star and usually noticed solely part-time motion whereas enjoying for eight groups. When he died on Saturday in Grenada Hills, Calif., at 74, he was remembered mainly for his biggest hits when he wasn’t wielding a bat.

Jay Johnstone was amongst baseball’s most inventive pranksters.

His best second within the batter’s field got here when he delivered a pinch two-run homer within the sixth inning of Game four of the 1981 World Series, serving to to propel the Dodgers to an Eight-7 victory over the Yankees that tied the Series at two video games apiece. The Dodgers received the championship in six video games.

“When the game was on the line, he was able to transform that little 7-year-old child that was always in a playful mood into serious,” stated Rick Monday, Johnstone’s former Dodger teammate and now a broadcaster for the ball membership. “If the team was in a spot where you felt your backs were against the wall, he was one of the reliable guys.”

Johnstone’s most bold stunts, like his most memorable at-bat, got here as a Dodger.

During a sport towards the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1981, he and the pitcher Jerry Reuss dressed up as groundskeepers and joined the grounds crew in grooming the infield within the fifth inning. Then they rushed again to the locker room to vary again into their uniforms.

As Reuss informed The Los Angeles Times upon Johnstone’s loss of life, Manager Tommy Lasorda was so offended that he wouldn’t let Johnstone get snug and ordered him to hit for the pitcher.

“Jay went up and hit a homer,” Reuss recalled. “Who in the history of baseball has dragged the infield in the fifth inning and hit a pinch-hit homer in the sixth?”

During the Dodgers’ 1982 spring coaching camp in Vero Beach, Fla., Johnstone locked Lasorda in his motel room one night, after Lasorda had gone to mattress, by tying a rope from his doorknob to a palm tree. Lasorda was freed by a laundryman who heard his hollering, and he made the group bus simply in time for a visit to Orlando for an exhibition sport.

John William Johnstone Jr. was born on Nov. 20, 1945, in Manchester, Conn. His father, an accountant, and his mom, Audrey (Whebell) Johnstone, moved the household to Southern California when Jay was a toddler, and he starred in baseball, basketball and soccer at Edgewood High School in West Covina.

Johnstone was signed by the California Angels in June 1963 and made his main league debut with them in July 1966. In addition to the Yankees and the Dodgers (with whom he did two stints), he performed for the Chicago White Sox, the Oakland A’s, the Philadelphia Phillies, the San Diego Padres and the Chicago Cubs. A left-handed hitter, he had a profession batting common of .267, hit 102 residence runs and drove in 531 runs.

After his enjoying days had been over, Johnstone was a broadcaster for ESPN, the Yankees, the Phillies and Fox. He informed a few of his favourite tales in collaborating with Rick Talley on the books “Temporary Insanity” (1985), “Over the Edge” (1987)” and “Some of My Best Friends Are Crazy” (1990).

A former Marine Corps reservist and the son of an Army veteran who noticed fight within the Pacific throughout World War II, Johnstone in 2010 grew to become a spokesman for the newly created Hope for Heroes group, whose applications profit veterans with bodily or emotional issues.

Johnstone’s daughter, Mary Jayne Sarah Johnstone, informed The Associated Press that he died at a nursing residence, the place he had been handled for dementia. She stated the trigger was problems of Covid-19.

His different survivors embody his spouse, Mary Jane (Saunders) Johnstone, who was an actress earlier than their marriage in 1967; and a sister, Sandy Clairmont.

With the passing of time, Johnstone seen that pranksters had been disappearing from the baseball scene.

Players “can’t afford to do anything crazy, because they’re afraid it will end up in the papers and make them look bad,” he informed The Reading Eagle of Pennsylvania in a 1990 interview. “I couldn’t have the overall, wide fun that I used to have when you were able to get away with a lot more. Times change.”



Source link Nytimes.com

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