17 June 2013

an armband for arnold johnson

arnold johnson was the owner of the kansas city a's who died from a cerebral hemorrhage in march of 1960.  the athletics wore a black armband in his honor during the 1960 season as seen on marvelous marv throneberry's 1961 topps card
i didn't know anything about johnson or the circumstances surrounding the move of the a's from philadelphia to kansas city.  i did, however, as a youngster become interested in the move of the franchise from kc to oakland.  at any rate, i have learned that johnson once owned yankee stadium as well as the yankees' aaa farm club's stadium, which happened to be in kansas city.  he was motivated to bring a major league team to kc, and the mack family was motivated to sell the a's who had become second fiddle in philadelphia to the improved phillies.

the yankees owned the major league rights to the kansas city market, but waived them with a nudge nudge, wink wink and the a's moved in for the 1955 season.  soon thereafter, the a's started trading their young talent to the yankees.  guys like roger maris and clete boyer and ralph terry.  in fact, there is some speculation that the yankees got the a's to sign boyer with the understanding that he would eventually wind up in the bronx.

no such luck for throneberry, however, as he was one of the guys who went the other way in the roger maris deal.  he would get back to new york in 1962 - as a member of the expansion mets.

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