CLASS OF 2008

SAGINAW COUNTY SPORTS HALL OF FAME

H. RANDALL WICKES


Leonard ‘Lefty’ Johnston was a fine all-around athlete at

Arthur Hill High School where he earned eight varsity letters

by playing two years of football (1945-46) and three years of

both basketball and baseball (1944-46). He was on the

Lumberjacks’ state championship basketball team in 1944.

But baseball was his specialty as he helped the Hillites win

the Saginaw Valley League championship in 1945. Johnston,

who won the City Baseball Federation batting title twice

(1947-48), attended Western Michigan University from 1949-52 where he played three years of football as a defensive back and halfback. He set a school record with nine touchdown catches in 1951. He earned four letters in baseball and was an All-MAC outfielder in 1952 after turning in a solid season with a .318 batting average in 66 games. Johnston set school records in on-base-percentage (.436), runs (82), and steals (32). The latter record was not broken until 1977. Western Michigan won four MAC championships with Johnston patrolling the outfield. During his 15-year minor league baseball career in the White Sox, Yankees and Red Sox organizations, (12 at the Triple-A level) he lead the league in stolen bases six times and played on five championship teams. Johnston was the American Baseball Congress Minor League Rookie of the Year in 1953 as he batted .318 for Colorado Springs. In ’56 Johnston was on the Look Magazine Minor League All-Star team for Richmond as he carved out a .294 batting average in 619 at-bats. In 1963 he hit .319 with Asheville. He wound up his career as a scout, field manager and coach in the Washington, Cleveland and Baltimore organizations. He was elected to the Western Michigan University Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Arthur Hill Letterwinners Hall of Fame the same year.