Baseball legend Ernie Johnson remembered

Ernie Johnson, Sr. during his inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame.

Ernie Johnson, Sr. during his inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame. File photo

— He chose to travel with the team and was all of a sudden, on the road and actually throwing batting practice to Major League hitters. What makes this even more amazing was the fact that before hitting the road with the Braves, Johnson had never even been to a Major League game.

A short time later, Johnson signed a minor league deal and went to pitch for the Braves single-A Hartford team where he earned $125 per month and even got a whopping $100 signing bonus! However, in 1943, his baseball career would be interrupted as Johnson would join the Marines, serving three years in Okinawa during World War II.

After the war Ernie would marry Lois, a former cheerleader at Brattleboro High in 1947 and finally made his Major League debut in April of 1950. Following another stint in the minor leagues in 1951, Johnson returned to the Majors in 1952 and over the next six years would lead the Braves (who would become the Milwaukee Braves in 1953) in relief appearances with 175.

Johnson was also a significant contributor to the 1957 Braves world championship team with a 7-3 record out of the bullpen with four saves. After his playing days ended in 1959, Ernie's knowledge of the game and unique style landed him his first television job as the host of "Play Ball," a local Milwaukee show, before moving into a commentator role on Braves radio broadcasts in 1962.

When the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966, Johnson worked for the Braves front office, organizing the teams original radio broadcast network throughout the south. Ernie remained the radio broadcast voice throughout the 70's and 80's and when Ted Turner created "TBS Superstation" in 1973, he began carrying Braves games and Johnson became a household name for baseball fans across the country.

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