Former Dodgers Outfielder Jay Johnstone Dies After COVID-19 Fight
Steve Garvey, Bert Hooton, Jay Johnstone, Tommy Lasorda
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Jay Johnstone passed away Saturday at the age of 74 after a battle with coronavirus (COVID-19). Johnstone’s daughter, Mary Jayne Sarah Johnstone, confirmed her father’s passing on Facebook.

Johnstone is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mary Jayne Johnstone, their daughter Mary Jayne and son-in-law Ryan Dudasik.

Johnstone was born on Nov. 20, 1945, in Manchester, Conn., but his family moved to Southern California when he was a toddler. After starring at Edgewood High School in nearby Covina, Johnstone’s professional career began after signing with the California Angels in 1963.

He then spent two seasons with the Chicago White Sox and one as a member of the Oakland Athletics until making the jump to he National League. However, it wasn’t until 1980 season that he signed with the Dodgers.

Johnstone played with the Dodgers until May 1982, when he was released by the organization. He went on to sign with the Chicago Cubs one week later and remained with them through the 1984 season.

Johnstone then returned to the Dodgers, though only appeared in 17 games during the 1982 season. In parts of four seasons with the team, he batted .268/.338/.376 with 20 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 30 RBI.

He of course is most known for a pinch-hit home run that helped the Dodgers win the 1981 World Series against the New York Yankees. Beyond that, Johnstone was known for his easy-going personality and successful pranks in the clubhouse, even if they at times drew the ire of Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda.

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