Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, the last living of the trio of women who played in the Negro Leagues, has died. The pitcher was a teammate of the pioneering Hank Aaron and amassed a respectable 33-8 record in her three seasons of play.
Johnson was born September 27, 1935 in the small town of Ridgeway, South Carolina. As a young girl, she spent time pitching with her uncle instead of working in the crop fields. At the age of 17, the gunslinger attempted to try out for an all-white professional, all-female team but was rejected.
The Negro Leagues’ Indianapolis Crows gave Johnson a shot at pitcher in 1953 and it paid off handsomely for the team. Not only was she an effective pitcher, schooled by the great Satchel Paige, she also hit at .270 at the plate. She got the nickname “Peanut” from Kansas City Monarchs third baseman, Hank Bayliss, who remarked that at five-foot-three, Johnson was as small as a peanut.
In the off-season, Johnson attended New York University and earned a nursing degree from North Carolina A&T University before going on to a 30-year career in nursing and raising her son, Charles. She has been honored several times, including being drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2008 in an honorific ceremony.
Johnson was 82.
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