Where Are They Now?: Wally, Anthony And Roy Johnson

Image credit: Wallace Johnson (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Stringer)

Their lives and baseball careers converged for one glorious summer of 1981 in Memphis, all three Johnsons performing at the top of their games as the next step toward one day soon playing for the Montreal Expos.

The “talented trio” of Wally, Anthony and Roy Johnson ultimately ascended the next two rungs in the Expos’ organization ladder to realize their dreams of playing in the major leagues. Wally eventually established himself as a pinch-hitter extraordinaire with the Expos; Anthony’s big league career washed out with a self-admitted addiction to cocaine; and Roy left his mark in the Mexican League with a record four home runs in one game.

He goes by Wallace these days as the 63-year-old executive director of a nonprofit youth organization, Northshore Amateur Sports Academy, with locales in his hometown of Gary, Ind., and in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“They had a lot of good players on those (Expos) teams, but I found my niche,” says Wallace, whose big league career spanned nine seasons with all but eight of his 569 at-bats with the Expos.

A two-run, pinch-hit triple on Oct. 3, 1981, helped beat the Mets in a key game that propelled the Expos to their only division title. In May 1988, Johnson singled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to spoil a perfect game bid by the Reds’ Ron Robinson.

Beyond those highlights, Johnson, a switch-hitting first baseman by trade, will forever be the Expos’ all-time leader with 86 pinch hits.

Anthony Johnson was a 26th-round pick by the Expos in 1977 who emerged as a prospect in 1980 when he led the Southern League with 60 stolen bases.

He was a September callup to the Expos in 1981, by then having found himself hooked on “speed pills” that he said helped him deal with the rigors of a long season. Soon, he was addicted to cocaine, too.

“It caught up with me after baseball,” says Anthony, whose 72-game big league career included 70 while tied to the Blue Jays’ major league roster as a Rule 5 pick in 1982.

What followed was a 15-year drug addiction. He has now been clean for 23 years, during which he worked as a Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program representative with Memphis. He also returned to college and earned a degree in business in 2018 from LeMoyne-Owens College in Memphis.

Anthony, 63, seeks a job in baseball.

Roy Johnson was an Expos fifth-round pick in 1980 as an outfielder out of Tennessee State. He shot through the minors as a DH, only to have the misfortune of playing without a position for a National League team.

Johnson’s big league career included 36 games over three seasons. Then he took his game to the Mexican League where, over five seasons, he became known as the “Arkansas Train” while establishing the Campeche career home run record with 114.

Then Johnson served as the team’s hitting coach. He died of a heart attack in 2009. He was 49.

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