Leonard Johnson

Leonard Johnson, born October 19th, 1919 in Readland, AR,1 was a professional baseball player in the Negro American League, Mexican League and Mandak league from about 1940-1951.


Leonard Johnson was the son of Joshua Johnson and Mary (nee Doswell) Johnson.2 He grew up in Readland, AR near Eudora, AR in southeast Arkansas.

Johnson, a right-handed starting pitcher, began playing professional baseball as early as 1940 with the Piney Woods Giant Collegians of Piney Woods, MS.3 The following year, he shifted his career to Chicago where he played with the independent 1941 Palmer House Stars4 and 1946 Chicago Brown Bombers.5 In 1947, he joined the Chicago American Giants in the Negro American League. Despite performing poorly at the major league level, he remained with the American Giants for the full season. Johnson also returned to the NAL for a short period in May and June 1948 with Kansas City Monarchs.

Johnson continued pitching for several more years with Nuevo Laredo in the Mexican League from 1949-1951. Across these three seasons, he compiled a combined 17-29 record with a 3.76 ERA.6 He returned to the states midway through 1951 and joined the Minot Mallards in the Mandak League, going 1-1 during his brief stint.7

Johnson died on October 15th, 19998 9 in North Little Rock, AR.10


"LEONARD JOHNSON, of Little Rock, Ark. departed this life on Friday, Oct. 22, 1999 at Riley Oaks Hill Manor in North Little Rock. He retired from the Missouri Pacific Railroad as a porter and machinist. He was a member of St. John Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark. Memorials are being left with the mother of his children, Cherrie Reed Johnson; three daughters, Barbara Campbell Baker, New York City, N.Y., Celene Johnson Hayes and Renee' Johnson Hayes of Little Rock, Ark.; five grandchildren, Zachary and John Baker, Chelsey, Brian Jr., and Taylor Hayes; one sister, Helen Forte, Detroit, Mich. Arrangements are with Dillard Funeral Home, Eudora, Ark. The family will be at 6248 Highway 159 South, Eudora, Ark. and 12202 Teton Forest Drive, Little Rock, Ark."11


Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.

Statistics at the Seamheads Negro Leagues database.

Statistics at Retrosheet.org.

1 Johnson's WWII draft card. His occupation is listed as "Baseball."
6 ''Liga Mexicana
Estadísticas Comprensivas de Los Jugadores, 1937-2001'', by Pedro Treto Cisneros, p.373.
8 "United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files (NUMIDENT), 1936-2007", database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6KQ4-ZM7M : 10 February 2023), Leonard Johnson, .
9 Johnson's obituary alternatively gives his death date as October 22nd, 1999.
10 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/27/1999
11 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/27/1999