No one could quite figure how to motivate Johnson, a surly yet talented hitter with
a great arm who never achieved popularity despite his skills. He is best remembered
for edging the popular Carl Yastremski in the AL batting race in 1970, .3289 to .3286.
Known as an aggressive contact hitter who didn't strike out much and who hated to
walk or talk, Johnson admitted that he never gave 100% and never hustled. He once
told a reporter, "I'm just paid to hit." As a result of this lackadaisical attitude,
he spent time with eight different teams in his 13-year career. Called the fastest
righthanded hitter from home plate to first, Johnson had his first success with the
Reds in the late 1960s, hitting over .300 both seasons he spent in Cincinnati. His
fine play in 1970 was quickly forgotten the next season when Angels manager Lefty
Phillips suspended him for being "a bad influence." After leaving California, he
never again hit .300.