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Howard Johnson for Induction into the Mets Hall of Fame

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Howard Johnson has always been my all-time favorite baseball player. From the moment I was able to comprehend what the game of baseball was all about, I was a fan of HoJo. From his ability to hit a home run like no one’s business and his ability to steal bases to playing the majority of his career at 3rdbase and wearing #20, I believed in the ability that Mr. Johnson brought to the diamond. For Pete’s sake, I remember my first ever Kenner’s Starting Lineup was HoJo from 1989 when I was five.

Although he also played in Detroit (where he won a World Series), Colorado, and Chicago with the Cubbies, it was in the Met blue and orange where Howard Johnson really made his presence felt. The best years of his baseball career took place in Queens. In my humble opinion, Howard Johnson’s consistently solid performance during the VERY dark days between the 1986 World Series win and the dreadful early 1990s was the only shining light the franchise had during that misery.

Unlike other sports fans that start these petitions without much merit behind them, I have legitimate facts and statistics behind this very unique movement to further my point across. Thanks to Mets.com, Baseball-Reference.com, and the good folks at Wikipedia, here are the facts:

Howard Johnson was a two time National League All-Star in 1989 and 1991, in which he also brought home two NL Silver Slugger awards from his position at 3rd base.  In the years 1987, 1989, and 1991, HoJo was a 30/30 guy, which meant he had 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season, which during that particular era, was unheard of. In 1991, Johnson won the NL Home Run and RBI titles with 38 dingers and 117 RBIs respectively. That year, he also led the league in Extra Base Hits with 76, Sacrifice Flies with 15, At Bats per Home Run with 14.8, and Errors with 31 (He also led the league in Errors the year before with 28. That stat is STRICTLY for humility purposes). Heck, he even led the league in runs in 1989 with 104. Those are some impressive stats.

His awards are also very impressive. He was the 1989 June and September 1991 National League Player of the Month.

His footprints are completely over the all time Mets record lists in offensive categories as well. He’s 4th all time in Mets in home runs with 192, runs with 627, doubles with 214 and in RBIs with 629. He’s 10th in hits with 997. HoJo is 3rd all time in extra base hits with 424, 6th all time in total bases with 1823, and SECOND all time with 101 Intentional Walks. Speaking of intentional walks, he holds the single season Mets record with 25 in 1988. These stats are very impressive and consistent with Mets who are already in the Hall of Fame at Citi Field.

To further this discussion, HoJo was an innovator with the Mets during his time with the team. It has been stated by a multitude of people that Johnson invented the Rally Caps phenomenon. It helped, in some respects, turn the momentum from a losing effort on the field to a winning one. It definitely had some superstition to them. Also, alongside Roger McDowell, HoJo helped develop the hotfoot craze, with cleats seemingly on fire due to some gum and a matchbook.

Most recently, Howard was a part of the Mets coaching staff. After working his way through the Mets minor league system as a hitting coach (he was manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2002), he became the first-base coach of the Mets in 2007 and was ultimately promoted to hitting coach, which he lasted until 2010, when he was replaced by Dave Hudgens. This man BLED Mets baseball for a long time.

So my question: Why isn’t Howard Johnson in the Mets Hall of Fame?

I have absolutely no idea. It’s actually kind of mindboggling. HoJo has made his presence into one of the all time great Mets, yet has not had the privilege of being recognized as that in their Hall of Fame. In fact, there has not even been a big push for it by the Mets fan base…

Until now.

This is the petition to help get Howard Johnson the respect he deserves among the great Mets of yesteryear. This is the petition to officially place HoJo in the Mets Hall of Fame. His stats prove it. His contributions to the franchise show he’s earned it. I hope that this little petition will grow and help show the New York Mets how much Howard Johnson has meant to this organization.

Ya Gotta Believe. In this case, I sorely do. Through social media, please use the hashtag #HoJo4MetsHOF. Let’s get this moving. This is for you, HoJo.

 

Jon Harder
jon@thejonharder.com



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