Howard Johnson came to the Mets via trade from the Detroit before the 1985 season in exchange for pitcher Walt Terrell. He played a platoon role with the 1986 Mets World Series championship team, shifting between shortstop and his customary third base for most of the season. Johnson was a two-time all-star in his time with the Mets, earning a spot in the Midsummer Classic in 1989 and 1991. His role in those games is the topic of this installment of our Mets101 All-Star Memories series.
The 1989 Major League All-Star Game was played at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California before a sold out crowd of 64,036. The American League ultimately won the game by a score of 5-3.
Howard Johnson started the game at third base and hit sixth in his first career All-Star Game. He chipped in with an RBI single in the first inning to put the NL up 2-0. The AL ultimately won the game behind a big effort from MVP Bo Jackson, but 1989 was a big breakout year for HoJo.
The 1991 All-Star Game was played at the SkyDome in Toronto. Johnson missed out starting the game, losing the vote to Cincinnati’s Chris Sabo. Johnson went 0-2 with a strikeout in the game.
Although his performance in the 1991 Midsummer Classic was lacking, Johnson put in a monstrous 1991 regular season. He went on to win two thirds of the NL triple crown, with a league leading 38 home runs and 117 RBIs. He also stole 30 bases on the year, joining the 30-30 club for the third time in his career. Johnson finished fifth in NL MVP voting that year, in part because the Mets finished 77-84 on the year.
Johnson went on to play two more seasons with the Mets following his 1991 All-Star game appearance. He signed as a free agent with the Colorado Rockies before the 1994 season and played with the Chicago Cubs in the strike-shortened 1995 season. He retired after that season at 35 years of age.
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