John Henry was a steel drivin' man who was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 15th round of the '74 amateur draft. Not to be confused with the John Henry Johnson of Pittsburgh Steeler fame, baseball John Henry played his first game in the majors in 1978 for the Oakland A's after being part of a trade that sent Vida Blue to the San Francisco Giants. As part of that '78 A's team, which finished with a 69-93 record, the Steel Driver contributed 11 solid wins but also contributed 10 losses. Not too shabby for someone who spent the last four years in the minors in places like Great Falls, MT, Cedar Rapids, MI & Fresno, CA. The A's saw value in Mr. Johnson's arm and brought him back for their '79 season. That same arm delivered 2 wins and 8 losses and an ERA as big as his afro, seen here, at 4.34. As a result the A's management saw fit to send him home to Texas to pitch for the Rangers. John Henry, apparently uncomfortable with the idea of being back pitching in front of his home crowd, sheepishly delivered just 2 wins, 6 losses and a rotund 4.94 ERA. The Rangers were a decent team at the time and decided it might be best if John Henry drive steel in the minors for a year. It wasn't until 1980 that the Rangers brought John Henry back to the majors where he was reborn as a reliever. He was a new man, sporting a 2.31 ERA with 2 wins and 4 saves. Under the watchful eye of Ferguson Jenkins, a teammate during the '81 season, John Henry continued his success out of the bullpen with a 2.63 ERA.
One of John Henry's major accomplishments was being named part of Topps 1978 All-Star Rookie Team.