Mets great Howard Johnson struggling after grandson’s ‘bizarre’ lawnmower accident

Tanner Johnson, Howard’s 2-year-old grandson, is currently enduring quite an ordeal after his father (and Howard’s son) Glen Johnson accidentally ran over his left foot with a lawnmower.

If Howard Johnson, beloved 1986 Met, doesn’t watch his primary Major League Baseball employer’s current games religiously, he makes a point of staying in the loop.

“I’ve kept an eye on them. Check the scores every night,” HoJo said in a recent telephone interview. “I know where they are, standings-wise. I know who’s hurt, who isn’t.”

Tanner Johnson, Howard’s 2-year-old grandson, in the hospital.
Go Fund Me

And he knows how much the Mets’ rabid fan base hungers for another parade, an appetite he supports even if another title would make his club a less exclusive one.

“If they win a championship, it’s all good. I have no issue with them,” Johnson said of these 2021 Mets. “I think that when you look at our team, the ‘86 team, the ‘69 team is still just as popular if not more than they were (before the ‘86 Mets won it all). It’s good for Mets baseball. The fans love it when there’s a team that’s successful and playing well.”

Howard Johnson playing for the Mets in 1987.
Getty Images

Yes, HoJo supports the Mets family, and now the Johnson family could use some support as well. Tanner Johnson, Howard’s 2-year-old grandson, is currently enduring quite an ordeal after his father (and Howard’s son) Glen Johnson accidentally ran over his left foot with a lawnmower at their Franklin, Tenn. home. Tanner Johnson lost all five toes and already has undergone multiple surgeries, with more coming.

“It’s a struggle,” Howard Johnson said. “Nobody wants to see any kid hurt. It was a complete accident, it’s nobody’s fault. ..It’s just a bizarre set of circumstances.”

The injury was so severe that, as HoJo put it, “They can’t reconstruct the foot in one go-round. They have to do it in sections: Clean it, close it and then, at that point, they can start reconstruction.”

To manage costs of what will be a lengthy process, the Johnson family has launched a GoFundMe page which has already raised over $100,000, a heartwarming development. 

HoJo was a Mets player from 1985 through 1993 and made a 1997 comeback attempt that ended in spring training. He also served as the team’s hitting coach from the middle of the 2007 season through 2010. Johnson last coached in affiliated ball in 2019, leading the hitters for the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate in Nashville. He is now focused full-time on running the Showtime Sports Academy with Glen, and that in turn has allowed him to be with his family during this trying time.

Howard Johnson with Dwight Gooden at the 30th anniversary of Mets’ World Series win.

Tanner Johnson, his grandfather said, loves baseball: “He’s still going to be a player. Can’t give up on that.” What a great day it will be to see Tanner on a field. The Johnsons will get through these challenging days with the help of family, friends and fans.

This week’s Pop Quiz question came from the late Jan Bottone of Wellesley, Mass.: Name the two Cincinnati Reds greats who get mentioned in a 1983 episode of “Family Ties” centering on Jennifer’s softball team.

My Post teammate Peter Botte co-wrote a book, “Power and Pinstripes,” with former Yankees and Mets strength and conditioning coach Jeff Mangold that features a bevy of entertaining stories from the 1980s, ‘90s and 2000s. 

Your Pop Quiz answer is Johnny Bench and Dave Concepcion. If you have a tidbit that connects baseball with popular culture, please send it to me at [email protected]

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Ken Davidoff

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