Johnson, Fletcher Top Choices For Manager
[Tri-City Herald, Dec. 21, 1952]
The choice of playing manager for the Tri-City Braves was believed to have boiled down to a choice between Earl Johnson and Grumpy Guy Fletcher, both former Pacific Coast conference hurlers with Fletcher holding the inside track.
Both men along with others have applied for the job. The selection is expected to be made Monday.
Fletcher is a 42-year-old North Carolinian who started his organized baseball career in 1935 with Beaumont, Tex. He hit his stride 10 years later when he had a 24
won, 14 lost record with Sacramento.
He had another big year in 1949 when he was with Seattle. He had a 23-12 record and tied in the league lead for shutouts and most complete games pitched.
Fletcher came to the coast in 1944 and went to Seattle in 1947. He was traded to San Francisco at the end of the 1950 season. During 1951, he was traded to San Diego and last year he finished there with a 14-16 record.
Johnson is a native of Washington. He was born in Redmond in 1919 and pitched for Ballard and St. Mary's high at Seattle.
He was signed at Seattle by the late Earl Sheely, former boss of the Rainiers,1 who was St. Mary's coach and Boston Red Sox scout at the time.
Johnson first went to Rocky Mount in the Piedmont league in 1940, his first season in organized ball. He moved to the Red Sox later that season after piling up a 12-6 record at Rocky Mount.
He was with Boston until 1950 except for the years from 1942 until 1945 when he was an infantryman in the Army. He saw considerable action including the Battle of the Bulge.
His best year with Boston was 1948 when he had a 10-4 record. In 1947, his record was 12-11 in 45 appearances and he had an earned run average of 2.98.
Johnson started with the Red Sox in 1950 then went to Louisville and to Detroit. He got his outright release in mid-season and came to Seattle where he helped the Rainiers to a pennant with an 8-3 record.
Last1 season a virus infection hampered his start and he never got untracked. He had a 0-2 record at the end of the season.
Johnson, who lives in Seattle, said “his arm is fine” and he thinks he is still a consistent winner.
His brother Chet, also a portsider, pitches for Oakland.