In 2008, Johnson joined the Tampa Bay organization after being waived in April by the Athletics. Johnson spent the entire summer with triple-A Durham before finally getting the call on the 8th of September. By then the Rays were well into their (by some accounts) miraculous, worst-to-first season. Johnson joined the club just in time for a game against the Red Sox, who trailed the first-place Rays by one-half of one game.
Johnson started at first base, and the Rays carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning. But with two outs, the Red Sox mounted a rally that culminated in Jason Bay's two-run homer. It was exactly the sort of thing that's supposed to happen to upstarts like the Rays when playing in Fenway Park.
In the top of the ninth, Johnson led off against Jonathan Papelbon.
Papelbon threw five pitches. Johnson didn't remove the bat from his shoulder. The sixth pitch was a fastball to Johnson's liking, and a stunned crowd watched the baseball fly beyond the bullpens in right-center field. The game was tied, and the Rays went on to win that game and the American League East, edging the Red Sox by two games.
Since then it's been a strange road for Johnson, who spent a season in Japan and hasn't been able to lock down a job with the Rays, even as they've been desperate for power bats. This season he'd played in 30 games, and hit exactly one home run.
Until tonight. When he hit the new most dramatic home run in franchise history.