Former Angels OF, 1970 AL batting champion Alex Johnson dies

Tuesday March 3rd, 2015

Former Angels outfielder Alex Johnson died Saturday due to complications from cancer, The Detroit News reported early Tuesday. He was 72.

Johnson was the 1970 American League batting champion after hitting .329. He eclipsed Carl Yastrzemski's batting average that year by .0004 after hitting singles in his final two-at bats of the season and is still the only Angels player to win a batting title.

Johnson signed as an amateur free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1961 and made his major-league debut three years later. He was traded five times from 1965-73 and spent 1970-71 with the Angels. He also made his only All-Star appearance in 1970.

A career .288 hitter with 78 home runs, 525 RBIs, 550 runs scored and 113 stolen bases, Johnson ended his career in 1976 with his hometown Detroit Tigers.

Growing up in Detroit, Johnson was a high school teammate of Tigers legend Willie Horton and the brother of Ron Johnson, who played running back at Michigan—finishing sixth in the 1968 Heisman Trophy voting—and for the New York Giants.

A funeral service for Johnson will be held 10 a.m. ET Friday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Detroit.

Mike Fiammetta

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.