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Rankin Johnson Jr
Place of Birth:
March 1, 1917 Hayden, Arizona
February 11, 2006 Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Petty Officer, First Class
Pacific Theater of Operations
R “Rankin” Johnson Jr, was born on March 1, 1917 in
Hayden, Arizona. The son of a former major league
pitcher, Johnson played very briefly for various minor league teams
between 1935 and 1939. But his career really blossomed with the
Midland Cowboys of the West Texas-New Mexico League in 1940 when he
hurled 33 games and was 15-14 with a 4.02 ERA.
He joined the Philadelphia
Athletics in 1941 and made seven relief appearances for a 1-0 record
and 3.60 ERA before being sent to
of the Interstate League for the remainder of the season. His major
league win came against the Washington Senators on April 23, when he
relieved Nelson Potter in the fifth with the Athletics trailing 6-1.
His team then exploded for nine runs in the sixth earning him the
win although he only pitched a single inning.
Johnson entered military
service with the Navy the following year. As a yeoman he served
aboard the troop transport/cargo ship
William Ward Burrows
(AP-6) and participated in Solomons campaign. In 1944, he was
assigned to the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base in
where he regularly played baseball with the Pearl Harbor Submarine
Base Dolphins. Johnson also played for the Navy in the Service World
Series in 1944.
Johnson remained at
Pearl Harbor through 1945 and was discharged as a Petty
Officer, First-Class. He returned to the Athletics in the spring of
1946 but the 29-year-old was released in March. He continued to play
in the minors for a couple of seasons with
Williamsport and Chattanooga,
and later became a business manager with the Williamsport club.
Rankin Johnson passed away
on February 11, 2006 in
Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He was 88.
Created April 18, 2008.
Copyright © 2008 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball
in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.