History

Phillies Top 10 Free Agent Signings: #10 Jay Johnstone

With free agent movement hot and heavy throughout MLB, and the Phillies seemingly nowhere to be found, we present the Top 10 Free Agent Signings in Phillies History.

Jay Johnstone made his Major League debut at age 20 with the California Angles on July 30, 1966, singling off of All-Star Gary Bell and scoring the game’s tying run. Johnstone would finish the year as a starting outfielder for the squad, mostly in right and then left, before finally becoming a full-time starter in 1969. Trades to the White Sox in 1971 and then the A’s in 1973 proved detrimental to the rising star and by age 27, Johnstone was seemingly almost out of the Majors despite hitting .347/.424/.562 for the Triple-A Tuscon Toros.

After the A’s won World Series ring with the A’s in 1973, Johnstone was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals in January 1974 before being released in late March of the same year before camp broke. Johnstone signed with the Phillies on April 3 and became one of the squad’s most dangerous hitters. Whether it was off the bench or in the starting line-up, johnstone made an impact. Johnstone would hit .303/.368/.455 for the Phillies from 1974 through 1978 and .778/.800/1.111 against the Reds in the 1976 NLCS, one of the few standout offensive players in that series. Johnstone was traded to the Yankees on June 14, 1978 for reliever Rawly Eastwick. Johnstone was not on the A’s roster for their World Series win in 1973 but would win two World Series of his own, one in 1978 with the Yankees and another in 1981 with the Dodgers, before retiring after the 1985 season, his twentieth.

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