By Mike Patton
KNOXVILLE, TN — From the battlefield to the minor leagues in baseball to the police force, Johnnie Fenderson achieved a lot of things in his life. The Birmingham, Alabama native passed away in his home in Knoxville on June 19, 2021. He was 76 years old.
Before starting his baseball career, Fenderson was a member of the Army. He remained a member of the Army until he was honorably discharged, and then that led to the next step in his life: baseball.
During his seven-year professional baseball career that began in 1964, the outfielder and first baseman played with the Macon Peaches, Cedar Rapids Red Raiders, Tampa Tarpons, the Knoxville Smokies, Buffalo Bisons, Binghamton Triplets and the Syracuse Chiefs before finishing his career with the Kingston Eagles in 1970.
His best year in the minors was in 1966, when he hit 11 homeruns, had 87 RBIs and had a career-high batting average of .324 with the Knoxville Smokies in 115 games. He would end his career with a batting average of .273 with 42 career homeruns and 259 career RBIs.
After retirement from baseball, Fenderson would join another team, the Knoxville police department, patrolling the city of Knoxville and trying to make it a better place. He would eventually retire from the police force and live the rest of his years in Knoxville, surrounded by family and friends.