If your last professional contract was with the San Francisco Giants for seven figures, it’s likely that you are best known for your ability on the baseball diamond.
But 25 years ago, John Johnstone also “had game” on the basketball court.
A Liverpool native, John scored 24 points against CBA as Biship Ludden recorded a 22-3 mark and reached the finals of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament.
While at Onondaga Community College, he was drafted in the 20th round by the New York Mets. John climbed the Mets’ minor league ladder – highlighted by sparkling back-to-back seasons in 1989 at Pittsfield (11-2, 2.77 earned run average) and 1990 at St. Lucie (15-6, 2.24 ERA). He was a Florida State All-Star selection in 1990. He had an overall minor league record of 56-50.
Selected by Florida in the second round of the National League expansion draft (31st overall pick), John spent all or parts of eight big league seasons with the Marlins, Astros, A’s, and Giants. The righthander won his first big league game in 1994. As a reliever in the majors, he compiled an overall record of 15-19, 4.01 ERA, 3 saves, 234 appearances, and had a 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio.
John’s best seasons in the bigs were with San Francisco – 6-5, 3.07 ERA, 70 appearances in 1998, and 4-6, 2.60 ERA, 3 saves, 62 appearances in ’99. That’s 132 outings in consecutive seasons.
He signed a lucrative contract with the Giants in 2000 for $1,175,000, but late that season a fractured back required surgery and his career was cut short.
Now retired, John spent a few years as the pitching coach for Baldwinsville High School. John and his wife Lori are the parents of 3-year-old daughter Ava. They live in Baldwinsville.