We knew Elliot Johnson was a long-shot to remain with the Rays organization this year, but that doesn’t mean it is not sad to see him go. In addition to being one of those easy-to-root-for underdogs as an undrafted free agent, he was also one of the more colorful characters on the team. Here are just a few of our favorite memories. Feel free to add some more in the comments…

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17 Comments

  1. Rumpy says:

    Don't forget the Lineup Challenge he did on twitter every Tuesday.

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    • Josh says:

      Yes indeed. I was fortunate enough to win one of them and EJ hooked me up with some great seats and on-field batting practice passes. He was the nicest guy and made the experience unforgettable. Definitely going to miss #9.

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  2. Dragon says:

    What about when he ran over new york yankee catcher Francisco Cervelli in 2008 spring training game, which, IMO, is what turned this team from bottom dweller to championship contenders?

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    • Joe D. says:

      That's the one I was just going to bring up, and the Shelly Duncan retaliation, which leads to the memorable Jhonny Gomes spring brawl. The Cervelli game was also David Price's Rays debut... I remember because I was, there, I went to see Price, by the way the dude sitting next to me at the game had a great camera, and snapped a fantastic picture of the home plate collision... He was a total stranger, but somewhere out, there, a great picture might still exist, of the exact turning point of the franchise...

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    • angrybuddha says:

      I'm late to this party, but that spring training moment against the Yankees is absolutely the first thing I think of when I think of EJ. I've always given him a pass, even though he's that guy-you-don't-really-want-on-your-team-becuase-he's-just-not-that-good because of that play.

      EJ and Dan Johnson reside in similar places in my heart!

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  3. Nate says:

    My favorite was the time he was traded to the Royals.

    Seriously, his fielding was horrendous last year

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  4. Don says:

    Like I have said before EJ was not a ''good" MLB player, but he was more than an adequate substitute player, If Maddon would have had him hit 2nd, instead of strike out man Pena, guarantee the Rays win at least 3+ more games, Oh that means the Playoffs..
    Sorry Elliot... maybe you can help Shields, Davis Et. al... have a good year...Good luck to you.... See you on 6/13..

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    • Alex says:

      Elliot Johnson struck out 84 times in 331 plate appearances. That'd be 25%. Only reason it wasn't higher is because of his lack of plate appearances. Pena struck out 182 times in 600 plate appearances. 30%. Not that much worse

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      • Don says:

        EJ hit 50 points higher than Pena....that translates into runs, He can switch hit, run, bunt, sacrifice by getting the bat on the ball, all things Pena couldn't do.
        You tell me who is best suited to hit 2nd, then Tell Maddon, he couldn't figure it out..

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        • Gus says:

          A guy with a .283 career obp with no pop who also happened to be the worst bunter on the team (more likely to hit his face then advance the runner) was the absolute last person on the roster to bat 2nd. EJ should have batted 9th or not at all. A truly terrible batter with horrible fundamentals in the field. That sidearm throw off the bag will not be missed. Good luck but good riddance.

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        • Carl Crawford says:

          I know this won't make any difference to you because you like to deny reality, but EJ was not good (or even okay) at anything you just said he could do. The following numbers are over the last 2 seasons.
          He could switch hit, but he was one of the worst hitters in the league (wOBA of .292, league avg of .315)
          Or, since you like to use batting average, BA of .225, league avg of .255

          He could run, but he was a poor baserunner (SB% 65%, league avg of 74%). And since you offer your opinion up all the time, I assume you watch every game I'm sure you could tell me how many mental baserunning errors he made.

          He could bunt/sacrifice, but was not good at it (52% sac bunt success, 68% league avg)

          Pena probably shouldn't have been hitting 2nd for that long but there's no way EJ would have been an improvement. Carl Crawford should have hit 2nd.

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        • Dave L says:

          More Runs?

          Wrong again. The facts 2012 (EJ's good year) prove you wrong.

          Runs scored? Or RBI

          In 331 PA EJ scored 32 runs and 33 runs batted in

          Pena- 600 PA scored 72 runs and had 62 RBI

          Thats pretty simple math there.

          If your point is he was almost as productive as Pena in Pena's career worst year yes that is true and now both are gone. Which is a sign we will be better offensively.

          i wish him well he was a nice guy and tried hard and was a plus clubhouse guy.

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          • Don says:

            The real reason Pena hit 2nd, is because Friedman payed him $7+mil when nobody wanted him, embarrassment to management for Maddon to hit him 7,8,9th where he belonged...so Maddon bows...
            You tell me how many games that move cost the Rays..over/under 3?
            EJ hitting 2nd 600 times its OVER 3... Forget your calculator..... Just Book it !

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  5. nate says:

    I can't believe the merits of Elliot Johnson's game are being debated in this space.

    I'm sure he's a wonderful father, son, husband, and friend to those around him.

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