Thursday, March 8, 2012

Elliot Johnson on baseball cards

Infielder Elliot Johnson was signed by Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2002. He made his major league debut in 2008, and played in 70 major league games last year. Also the owner of Elliot Johnson Baseball, where he provides baseball lessons in Durham, NC, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"My favorite card is easily the one where I am running into Francisco Cervelli in what was Legends Stadium when it occurred, but is now George M. Steinbrenner Stadium. It is a perfectly timed shot and shows how hard I hit him and also how low I somehow got when I ran into him while he was blocking the plate. This took place in 2008 when I had just finished a very poor 2007 season in AAA Durham and was really needing to show to the executives why I was still an asset. I was playing great already that spring and this just helped build a great camaraderie with the entire team that carried us into the season and led into the world series for us in Tampa that year.
Cervelli has always been a pro about it every time I have spoken to him about it since it happened; the only ones upset about it were the Yankees ownership and Joe Girardi. Even Johnny Damon spoke to me about it last season and he had no problem with it, the only problem he had was the Yankees' retaliation against Aki Iwamura later that week.

I wasn't trying to hurt him, only show the Rays executives that this was something I could do and was willing to do to help the team win. I played football and spent plenty of time hitting and getting hit when I was younger so it wasn't new to me and I have hit catchers before and after that event.

I do collect my own cards for my son to have when he's older and some of my close family members, but nothing extensive."

Thanks! As a Yankee fan I never liked that play, but hearing Johnson's explanation and the reactions of Cervelli and Damon makes me feel better about it. Here is a card of Johnson from my collection, from 2011 Topps.


  1. Giants GM need learn a thing or two about player's mentality about plays like this. I would have him and Scott Cousins on my team because they worked their butts hard to get there

  2. Dude, that's awesome! EJ's a great guy, and I'm pulling for him to make the team agin this year.