Staff and Wire Reports
LOS ANGELES — “Sweet” Lou Johnson, who hit a key home run in game 7 of the 1965 World Series to help the Dodgers win a championship, has died.
Johnson, who lived in Los Angeles, died Oct. 1, according to the team, which did not state the cause of death. He was 86.
A journeyman outfielder, who played eight years in the Major Leagues, Johnson spent his two most productive seasons with the Dodgers in 1965 and 1966.
Johnson had spent time with the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Braves and Los Angeles Angels in the early 1960, but hadn’t appeared in the majors since 1962 when the Dodgers called him up from the minors to replace left fielder Tommy Davis, who broke his ankle.
Johnson became the regular left fielder and hit .258 in 131 games with 12 home runs and 58 runs batted in. On Sept. 9 that year, Johnson got the only hit and scored the only run of the ball game as Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game, his fourth career no hitter.
In game 7 of the World Series that year, Johnson hit a home run in the fourth inning to break a scoreless tie. The Dodgers went on to win, 2-0, on a three-hitter by Koufax.
The next year, with Davis healthy, Johnson moved to right field and had his best year ever in the majors, hitting .272 with 17 home runs and 73 RBI as the Dodgers made it to another World Series, losing to the Baltimore Orioles.
Johnson suffered his own broken leg the following year and spent 1968 with the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians before getting traded back to the Angels in 1969, where he ended his Major League career.
“Lou Johnson was such a positive inspiration at Dodger Stadium with our employees and our fans as well as throughout the community in the appearances he made on behalf of the organization,” said Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten. “Dodger fans will always remember his important home run in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series, when he was clapping his hands running around the bases.”
Between his time as a player and a front office employee in the Community Relations Department, Johnson worked for the Dodgers for 40 seasons.
He played in 677 games and hit .258 with 48 homers and 232 RBIs in his career.
Johnson is survived by his wife Sarah and children Lauren, Carlton and Quinton.