Miami Marlins

Charles Johnson catches no-hitters, World Series wins and All-Star games for Marlins

Charles Johnson takes his cuts at spring training in Viera before the 2001 season.
Charles Johnson takes his cuts at spring training in Viera before the 2001 season. MHS

The Marlins will be represented at the All-Star Game for the 25th time on July 11 when the Midsummer Classic is played at Marlins Park in Little Havana.

Gary Sheffield and Bryan Harvey were part of the Marlins’ first All-Star Game at Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1993. In 2016, four Marlins (Marcell Ozuna, Jose Fernandez, Fernando Rodney and A.J. Ramos) were part of the All-Star Game in San Diego.

The Miami Herald will look back at the top All-Stars who represented the Marlins — from Sheffield to Giancarlo Stanton — starting Sunday and running through the All-Star Game on July 11.

Even before becoming a member of the Marlins, Charles Johnson was well known in South Florida.

Considered one of the best high school players in the nation coming out of Fort Pierce Westwood, Johnson turned down big bucks to play for the Montreal Expos after being the 10th overall pick of the 1989 draft to play for Ron Fraser and the Miami Hurricanes.

As he would with the Marlins, Johnson became a fan favorite in Coral Gables not only for his stellar play — he was a freshman All-American and a two-time Golden Spikes finalist — but for his outgoing personality as well.

The expansion Marlins made a big splash at the 1992 draft, taking the hometown catcher with the 28th overall pick.

The 1992 draft was full of talent with all but a handful of the first round picks making the majors with seven of the first rounders — including the likes of top pick Phil Nevin, future teammate Preston Wilson and one Derek Jeter — becoming All-Stars.

Johnson, who had his No. 23 retired by the Hurricanes in 2002, was a member of two All-Star teams — he also played for Team USA at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics — during his two turns with the Marlins.

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Florida Marlins catcher and UM alum Charles Johnson poses with former Miami baseball coach Ron Fraser, left, and current coach Jim Morris during Johnson’s jersey retirement ceremony in 2002. Jared Lazarus Miami Herald file photo

In 1997, Johnson was by now considered one of the best catchers in baseball as he made his first All-Star team with teammates Kevin Brown and Moises Alou at Cleveland’s Jacobs Field.

Johnson struck out in his only plate appearance. Sandy Alomar Jr., who was Johnson’s counterpart behind the plate during the 1997 World Series, hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give the AL the lead and earn himself the game MVP honors in his home ballpark.

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That season, Johnson had one of the greatest defensive seasons by a catcher in history as he made no errors and was charged with just one passes ball. Johnson hit .357 in the World Series and homered in Florida’s Game 1 victory over Cleveland.

In 2001, Johnson made his second and final All-Star Game.

That game was best known for Cal Ripken hitting a home run at Seattle’s Safeco Field in his final All-Star Game. Johnson went 0 for 1.

Johnson made his big-league debut with Florida just two years after being drafted.

Promoted from double-A Portland in 1994, Johnson filled in for Benito Santiago and only appeared in four games yet hit a home run with four RBI and scored five runs in just 13 plate appearances.

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Florida pitcher A.J. Burnett is hugged by catcher Charles Johnson after completing a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres on Saturday, May 12, 2001, in San Diego. JIM BAIRD AP

In 1995, Johnson became Florida’s starting catcher after Santiago signed with the Reds after the strike and finished seventh in Rookie of the Year voting.

Of Florida’s six no-hitters in franchise history, Johnson caught the first three of them. Johnson also ended up winning four Gold Glove awards — starting with his rookie season in 1995.

Johnson was part of the Marlins’ housecleaning following the 1997 World Series although, unlike many of his teammates from that team, he started the 1998 season with the Marlins.

He wouldn’t last long, however.

On May 15, 1998, the Marlins made a blockbuster deal with the Dodgers, sending Johnson, Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla and Jim Eisenreich to Los Angeles in exchange for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile.

The New York Times headline: Piazza Traded for What’s Left of the Marlins.

Johnson finished that season with the Dodgers (Piazza played in five games with Florida before going to the Mets) and signed with the Orioles.

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Fans from Fort Pierce salute Baltimore catcher Charles Johnson during an Orioles spring training game in Fort Lauderdale on March 7, 1999. Walter Michot Miami Herald file photo

After playing with the White Sox, Johnson returned to the Marlins in 2001 at the age of 29 and spent the next two seasons with Florida before the Marlins traded him away again — this time with Wilson to the Rockies for Juan Pierre and Mike Hampton.

Johnson spent two seasons in Colorado and finished his career in 2005 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Johnson continues to make his home in South Florida and will be part of the 2017 All-Star Game at Marlins Park by managing the U.S. Team at the All-Star Futures Game. Cliff Floyd, Al Leiter and Jerry Manuel will help Johnson.

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Charles Johnson returns to the Florida Marlins as a free agent on Dec. 18, 2000 at Pro Player Stadium. DAVID BERGMAN Miami Herald file photo

Former Marlins teammate Edgar Renteria will manage the World Team opposite Johnson.

Johnson remains the Marlins’ all-time leader in games played by a catcher — his 587 games with Florida are 102 more than Mike Redmond. J.T. Realmuto comes into Monday 256 games back of Johnson.

CELEBRATING THE MARLINS ALL-STARS

Sunday, June 18 — Gary Sheffield (1993, 1996)

Monday, June 19 — Jeff Conine (1994, 1995)

Wednesday, June 21 — Hanley Ramirez (2008, 2009, 2010)

Friday, June 23 — Mike Lowell (2002, 2003, 2004)

Monday, June 26 — Luis Castillo (2002, 2003, 2005)

Wednesday, June 28 — Charles Johnson (1997, 2001)

Thursday, June 29 — Kevin Brown (1996, 1997)

Friday, June 30 — Dan Uggla (2006, 2008)

Monday, July 3 — Josh Johnson (2009, 2010)

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