Safe at Home –
Oct. 2, 2020 – Later that season, Johnson hit a solo homer off Jim Kaat in the fourth inning of a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the decisive seventh game of the World Series, making a winner of Koufax, who threw a three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts. Johnson, born on Sept. 22, 1934, in Lexington, Ky., had his best season in 1966, hitting .272 with 17 homers and 73 RBIs in 152 games for the Dodgers.
In a 2001 interview with The Times, Johnson said he gave his World Series ring to a Seattle drug dealer in 1971 as collateral for a cocaine transaction. When he returned two hours later with the money, the dealer and the ring were gone.
“I was at my lowest ebb,” Johnson said in 2001. “It was the only thing I had of value, and now I had given that away.”
Nine years later, the troubled Johnson returned to the Dodgers and asked for help. Don Newcombe, the former Dodgers pitcher who was the team’s director of community affairs, sent Johnson to a substance-abuse center. Then-Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley paid for treatment.