A switch-hitter with speed, power and at least some defensive versatility, Howard Johnson was one of the Mets' best all-around players. When he finished his 9-year Met playing career in 1993, he ranked second all-time in home runs (192), RBI (629), stolen bases (202), doubles (214) and runs (627), and was third in total bases (1,823). It was a strong final statement to a career marked by alternating great and only good seasons. Johnson tended to be better in odd years, as his performance in 1991 showed: Leading the National League and setting a then all-time Mets mark in RBI (117), with 38 homers, 34 doubles, and 30 steals.
Acquired for pitcher Walt Terrell from Detrot prior to the 1986 season, Johnson was a third baseman who also pitched in at shortstop (semi-adequatrely) and center field during his career. For a brief period in 1991, Johnson traded in his No. 20 jersey for No. 44, thinmking it might spark a missing power game. Pressure from his wife -- who reminded him her jewelry had the No. 20 on it -- ended the experiment.
Following his playing career Johnson worked in the Mets' organziation where he was said to help David Wright develop as a hitter. That accomplishment won him a stint as the team's hitting coach from 2007-2010.