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Baseball field dedicated in Linden man’s honor

By Tim Robinson

Dave Johnson, who died five years ago at age 49 of pancreatic cancer, was honored by the Linden Little League on Friday when one of its fields at the main quad complex was dedicated in his honor, but not before a little humor in the process.

The plaque was covered by an American flag, which was to be lowered to show the plaque off at the proper time. But the rope got caught in the fence that forced league president of Chris Gocha to climb up the backstop to free the rope,. The thought of Dave’s reaction, had he been there love to observe it, left observers smiling.

“He probably would’ve got a real kick out of that and probably wouldn’t have let it go either,” said Gocha. “Every time he’d see me, he probably call me monkey from now on.”

Gocha also talked about Dave’s impact on kids as a coach.

“Dave had an amazing impact on kids,” he said. “You can just see with a testament to a field being named after him. He was loved by everyone and he just helped kids grow and was endlessly kind. And he was the way a coach should be, made sure the kids love the sport, not just winning the game.”

The plaque was unveiled by Dave son Mike, who’s 14 and now plays in the league. He talked about what the whole ceremony meant to him and his family.

“He was so involved in the community here, and then she means a lot and everyone who came out and there’ll be there for a long time,” said Mike.

Much of Dave’s extended family was in attendance, along with his wife, Tami and his brother, Larry.

“Dave loved baseball,” said Larry. “I don’t know if you knew when he was sick, he would come out and take care of the field. He would even rake the infield and mow the lawn. Just to kind of get him out of the house, keep himself busy because he couldn’t work. I’d call him (and ask), ‘What are you doing?’ ‘So I’m going to go work at this field today.’ And I said, ‘Well, you own that place. ‘ He goes, ‘Yeah. I feel like I did.’

And now Dave Johnson is a permanent part of the Linden Little League’s legacy.

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