Monday, June 24, 2013

2013 Chops #25 and #41: Our Two Dads

Most Braves fans are well aware of the Atlanta-Kansas City connection. From executives such as John Schuerholz and Dayton Moore to a multitude of players including Jeff Francouer and Kyle Davies, each team has had personnel who have called both cities home. There's another connection that I wasn't aware of until doing some research today on Braves third baseman Chris Johnson.

2013 Chops #25 Chris Johnson

Looked at by some as nothing more than a 'throw-in' in the Martin Prado/Justin Upton trade, Johnson has arguably been the Braves most consistent offensive player this season. And while he won't make fans forget Chipper Jones anytime soon, Chris has done as well as could have been expected of the former Stetson University star.

1981 TCMA Omaha Royals Ron Johnson
The first part of our Braves/Royals connection begins with Chris' father, Ron, who was the Royal's 24th round pick in the 1978 amateur draft. After spending his first four-plus professional seasons in the minors, the elder Johnson received a call to Kansas City in September of 1982- where he made his major league debut as a defensive replacement at first base. Johnson wouldn't get his first at-bat until his third game- coming against the Angels on September 22. Ron would collect a total of eighteen plate appearances over eight games that maiden season, hitting .286 (thanks primarily to a 3-3 performance at Oakland on September 26). The next season, Johnson once again received a September call-up, going 7-27 with 1 RBI. Following his playing career, Ron Johnson managed in the Royals minor league system for eight seasons.

2013 Chops #41 Tyler Pastornicky

Recalled from AAA Gwinnett last week, Tyler Pastornicky had spent most of the current season at second base- a position he's played at in only 91 of his 486 minor league games. He has also spent time in the outfield this season, which will only help in his search for a major league roster spot next season- whether in Atlanta or elsewhere. It's his bat, however, that will be his calling card, as he's a not strong defensive player. In the meantime, his bat will be a good addition off the bench until Evan Gattis returns, and he (Pastornicky) is once again optioned back to Gwinnett. It would not surprise me to see the Rev, as Tyler's called, get traded for a bullpen arm.

1984 TCMA Omaha Royals Cliff Pastornicky

While I did not know that Chris Johnson's father played for the Royals, I was aware that Tyler's father, Cliff, played for the Royals' organization. Cliff's only time in the majors came in 1983 with Kansas City, where he spent about two weeks in June with the parent club. During those two weeks, Cliff had 32 plate appearances, going 4-32 with 2 HRs and 5 RBI. He was then returned to Omaha-where he finished out the season.

 As mentioned earlier, Ron Johnson's time in KC came in September, but the two dads were teammates at AAA Omaha for that 1983 season.

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