Former Minors manager Johnson dies at 64

January 26th, 2021

Ron Johnson, a longtime Minor League manager in the Orioles, Red Sox and Royals organizations, died Tuesday at age 64.

Johnson managed the Norfolk Tides, the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate, from 2012-18. He managed the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston's former Triple-A team, from 2005-09. Johnson also managed in the Red Sox organization at Class A Advanced Sarasota and Double-A Trenton and Portland, and he was the first-base coach for the MLB club from 2010-11.

"The Orioles are devastated to learn of the passing of former Norfolk Tides manager Ron Johnson," the Orioles said in a statement. "In his seven years at the helm of Baltimore's Triple-A affiliate, Ron led countless players in their journey to the big leagues. He was recognized for his leadership and passion for the game of baseball as a two-time recipient of the Cal Ripken Sr. Award (2018 and 2015), given to a Minor League staff member who exemplifies Ripken's qualities as an instructor leading by 'The Oriole Way.' The Orioles extend their heartfelt condolences to his wife, Daphne, his five children, and the rest of his family and friends as they mourn this incredible loss."

"We were devastated to learn of the passing of our friend and former colleague, Ron Johnson," Red Sox general manager Brian O'Halloran said in a statement. "RJ was instrumental in helping countless Red Sox players reach and succeed in the big leagues, and was an important contributor to two World Series championships. His kindness, sense of humor, love of family and passion for the game of baseball stood out among many wonderful qualities. We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to RJ’s wife, Daphne, his five children, and the many people inside and outside the game of baseball who loved him."

Born on March 23, 1956 in Long Beach, Calif., Johnson had a short MLB playing career as a first baseman for the Royals and Expos for parts of three seasons from 1982-84. Johnson played 22 games and collected 12 big league hits.

He began his coaching career with Kansas City after retiring in 1985, and managed the Royals' Class A Advanced, Double-A and Triple-A teams in the '90s, before joining the Red Sox and eventually the Orioles.

All told, Johnson managed in the Minors for 25 seasons across three organizations, with a 1,752-1,773 record in his 3,525 games.