Two days ago I briefly mentioned that the Orioles had acquired Steven Johnson as one of the players in the George Sherrill trade. I wanted to touch back on that, because it really is a heartwarming story. Steven's father is Dave Johnson, the man pictured above. Dave was a hometown boy made good, an Overlea High and Baltimore City Community College grad who survived eight years in the minor leagues to eventually become one of the best starters on the Oriole staff in 1989-1990 (1991 was a different story, but oh well). Of course he stayed in the Baltimore area and raised his kids here, so Steven grew up rooting for the O's just like his father.
Just a few months ago, the Birds drafted Al Bumbry's son (also named Steven), and Dave mentioned on his radio show with Tom Davis that his own son was disappointed when the team didn't draft him in 2005. At the time, Dave encouraged him by telling him something along the lines of, "at least you know the Dodgers drafted you because they want you and think you're talented, instead of just doing me a favor". (I may have paraphrased that very awkwardly.) The younger Johnson has had a somewhat slow climb through the minors, but he's still very young (21) and has showed improvement in the last two years. In fact, Fangraphs just ranked him 14th out of the 35 prospects that were traded in July. He projects as a back-end starter or a reliever in the major leagues.
I wasn't around to hear it, but supposedly Dave was on the radio when he heard that his boy was joining the Baltimore organization. At that moment, he was overcome with emotion and choked up on air. It's the kind of human touch that makes me proud to be an Orioles fan.