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Judy JohnsonWilmington, Delaware: On Saturday, August 21st, the State of Delaware, City of Wilmington, and Judy Johnson Memorial Foundation will sponsor the Ninth Annual Judy Johnson Night — A Tribute to Negro League Baseball, honoring baseball Hall of Famer and long-time Wilmington-area resident William (Judy) Johnson. The Carolina League (Class A) game between the Blue Rocks and the Lynchburg Hillcats will be played at Wilmington’s Judy Johnson Field at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium at 7:05 PM, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 6:25 PM.

Judy Johnson (1899–1989) was an exceptional defensive third baseman and clutch hitter who batted over .300 lifetime. Johnson began his career in 1921 and spent 18 years in the Negro Leagues, mostly with the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Hilldale Club of Philadelphia. In 1935, Johnson captained the Negro National League champion Crawfords, which boasted four other future Hall of Famers — Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, and Cool Papa Bell. Many baseball researchers and historians consider the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords to be the most talented team ever in the Negro Leagues. Johnson retired from playing baseball after the 1936 season, but he remained active as a scout and coach for the Philadelphia Athletics and Phillies for nearly 50 years. In 1975, Johnson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

As in past years, a number of special activities and events are planned for this year’s Judy Johnson Night. Wilmington Mayor James Baker will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the on-field introduction of former players of the Negro Leagues. This year’s honoree is Ted (Double Duty) Radcliffe. Radcliffe, who will turn 102 on July 7th, received his nickname from famed sportswriter Damon Runyon, who dubbed Radcliffe “Double Duty” after watching him catch the legendary Satchel Paige in the first game of a doubleheader and then pitch a shutout in the nightcap. Over his 36-year career in baseball, Radcliffe holds many Negro League records, played for more than 40 teams, and ended his career in 1952 as a batting and pitching standout in the Manitoba-Dakota League at age 50.

Judy JohnsonPast honorees of Judy Johnson Night have included Judy Johnson (1996), Buck O’Neil (1997), Gene Benson (1998), Josh Gibson (1999), Leroy (Toots) Ferrell (2000), Leon Day (2001), Jackie Robinson (2002), and Buck Leonard (2003). Other planned highlights will include a commemorative postal cancellation issued by the US Postal Service, a silent auction of Negro League and sports memorabilia and collectibles, and a sale of Negro League memorabilia. On the field, players and coaches of the Blue Rocks and Hillcats will be wearing replica uniforms of Negro League teams. In addition, two college-bound high school seniors will be awarded Judy Johnson Memorial Scholarships. These awards are based primarily on sportsmanship and recipients are selected from participants in the Annual Blue-Gold (Delaware) All-Star Baseball Game.

Anyone interested in attending this special event should contact the Blue Rocks’ Ticket Office at 302-888-BLUE (2583). Requests from the media should be addressed to Chris Kemple, c/o the Wilmington Blue Rocks, 801 S. Madison Street, Wilmington, DE 19801; Phone: 302-888?2015; Fax: 302-888-2032; Email: Web:

For more additional information, please contact Gregg Truitt at
801 Partridge Court, Hockessin, DE 19707
Phone: 302-886-7519; Fax: 302-885-5341
; E-mail:

The Judy Johnson Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization (ID# 72-1523250).

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