Chief Johnson

George Howard "Chief" Johnson (March 20, 1886 – June 11, 1922) was an American professional baseball pitcher. He played three seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1913 to 1915, for the Cincinnati Reds of the National League and Kansas City Packers of the Federal League. He surrendered the first home run in the history of Wrigley Field, to Art Wilson on April 23, 1914.[1]

Chief Johnson
1917 Zeenut Chief Johnson.jpg
Born: (1886-03-30)March 30, 1886
Winnebago, Nebraska
Died: June 11, 1922(1922-06-11) (aged 36)
Des Moines, Iowa
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 16, 1913, for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1915, for the Kansas City Packers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record40–43
Earned run average2.95

Johnson was of Ho-Chunk, French and Irish ancestry. He identified as Ho-Chunk and was depicted in the media as a Native American.[2] A 1913 feature by Ripley's Believe It or Not! reported his full name as George Washington Murphy Johnson.[3]

Johnson was shot to death in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 11, 1922,[4] at the age of 36. He had been in town to host a medicine show and had gotten into an argument during a dice game. The shooter, despite having confessed to police and being identified by witnesses, was eventually acquitted of first degree murder.[2]


  1. ^ Gold, Eddie. "Wrigley Field Homers". SABR. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
  2. ^ a b King, C. Richard (January 2005). Native Athletes in Sport & Society: A Reader. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-2753-8. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  3. ^ "The Red Man of the Reds". Buffalo Evening News. Ripley's Believe It or Not!. May 26, 1913. p. 10. Retrieved May 8, 2021 – via
  4. ^ "Trio Held in Iowa Slaying". Iowa City Press-Citizen. June 12, 1922. p. 1. Retrieved May 8, 2021 – via

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