William Julius Johnson aka Judy Johnson
Essay written by the winner of The George & Suzanne Hurley Memorial Scholarship
Judy Johnson of the Pittsburgh Crawfords - BL-6914-72 (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
William Julius Johnson, aka Judy Johnson was born in Snow Hill, MD (Worcester County) in the year 1899. He would pass away at the age of 90, in 1989. What I believe is so significant about him, is the fact that he was not afraid of what others thought, and actually proved that he had the skill set that was needed to play baseball. I failed to mention that I have a passion for the sport! Judy was not your average baseball athletic build. He was known as an undersized boy, and at the age of 18, weighed 150 pounds. His father wanted him to become a boxer, but Judy had other ideas in mind. He wanted to play baseball, and that is exactly what he did.
Judy was initially told he was too small to play for the Hilldale Daisies, in Philadelphia, PA. The Hilldale Daisies were the city’s Negro League team. He was so determined and dedicated, that he played his way onto the team in 1920. Judy was considered to be one of the best third basemen to play in the Negro leagues. He had several years of sensational play and accomplishments before being named the Negro League MVP in 1929. He retired in 1936 and in 1954, the Philadelphia Athletics hired him as a temporary coach for Spring Training. He was the first African-American to coach in any capacity in the major leagues. He also served as a scout for the Braves, Phillies and Dodgers. These are all outstanding accomplishments from an individual from Worcester County.
On February 10, 1975, Judy Johnson was elected to one of the most exclusive award programs in baseball. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. What a tremendous accomplishment for a gentleman from the Eastern Shore of Maryland!
Baseball is so well known in Worcester County and there is such a deep love for the sport. I think Judy should be remembered for his courage and ability to not give in, even when all others are doubters. I believe he is a fantastic role model for the younger generation. I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to apply for your scholarship and learn about this fascinating man from Worcester County that was inducted to the Hall of Fame.
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