Steve Johnson ’05 became the first St. Paul’s graduate to play major league baseball on Sunday, July 16, pitching two innings in the Baltimore Orioles’ 4-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers. He is the first Baltimore native to play for the Orioles since 1995.
Steve walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth inning, but after a sacrifice bunt, struck out the next two hitters to escape without allowing a run. In the ninth inning, Miguel Cabrera, boasting the American League’s second best batting average, hit a solo home run, but Steve retired every other batter in the inning. He left the mound to a standing ovation.
“Oriole fans, you guys are awesome,” he said on Twitter after the game. “Thanks for making a special moment even better. That ovation was unbelievable. I'll remember it forever.”
Immediately after the game, Steve was sent back to Triple-A Norfolk. He had been called up to the major league roster once already this season, but then sent down again with appearing in a game. It is likely Johnson will make his way back and forth between Baltimore and Norfolk for much of the next two months, coming back to the Orioles whenever they need an extra pitcher in the bullpen.
Steve helped the Crusaders win back-to-back MIAA "A" Conference championships as a freshman and sophomore in 2002 and '03 while winning a total of 34 games during his extraordinary high school career. He became the first player ever to be named a four-time first-team Baltimore Sun All-Metro selection since the teams were first picked in 1960.
Steve is one of four Crusaders to have been selected in the major league baseball draft. This year John Kuchno '09, a pitcher at Ohio State, was selected in the 18th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, joining Justin Singleton '97, Chad Durakis '04, and Johnson.