In the beginning there were players like Ty Cobb w
ho hit .300 for 23 consecutive years, and the ‘flying dutchman’ Honus Wagner. Pitchers like the ‘christian gentleman’ Christy Mathewson, and the winningest pitcher in history Cy Young. In the years when the only Yankees were the people in the north and there was an upstart franchise called the American League there was a pitcher, his name was Walter Johnson. Known as the ‘big train’ because of his high powered fastball which was unequaled in all of baseball Johnson was a poor Kansas farm-hand who became one of the best pitchers baseball has ever been lucky to have ever seen, and he was on one of the worst teams in the history of baseball.
Walter Johnson was born in 1887 in a small town called Humboldt,Ks. As a teenager his interests turned from working on a farm to baseball; as he soon found out, he had a natural calling for pitching. As he went to high school he became one of the nations best pitchers and it was just a matter of time before he would be drafted for the majors. He was drafted by the Washington Senators in 1907 for $9. His first year wasn’t so good but in his second year he earned the name ‘the big train’ with an amazing won loss record.
Back when Walter pitched they had no Cy Young awards or league MVP awards but if they had, Walter would have won a dozen of each. On a team with a won loss record of around 60 and 94 Walter usually had half of their wins. He would frequently lead the league in wins, E.R.A., and strikeouts, but even the lackluster of the Senetors had some effect on him. In 1916 he had a miniscule E.R.A. of 1.86 but lost 20 games.
It was 1924, and by hard work and determination (Johnson went 23-7) the Senators made it to the World Series but, they had to face the powerhouse of the N.Y.Giants with John McGraw at the helm. Johnson had never won a World Series game in his life and it was his dream of being able to do so but he was getting old and he knew this would probably be his last chance to win one. In game one he lost a heart breaker to the Giants ace. He had a no decision in the second game and had only one more chance at his goal and he knew it, in game 7, the series tied 3-3, he came into the game in the 7th with the score tied 3-3 but his team couldn’t come up with a run so Johnson, through the 7 and 8th, mowed down hitters, through the 9 he knew he was running on empty and he would probably come out of the game. He then pitched what he thought would be his final World Series inning, the top of the 10th, in the bottem of the 10th with 2 men out and runners at the corners the Washington batter lifted a ball into shallow left that droped for a single and Johnson won his only his first and last World Series game and Washington’s only World Series.
Johnson retired in 1927 at the age of 40, he had spent 21 years on probably the worst team in baseball and come out the best pitcher ever in the game. He was elected onto the original Hall Of Fame in 1936 with such players as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. Walter Perry Johnson died on December 10, 1946 in Washington D.C. in the town were he pitched for 21 years.
2nd in history with 416 wins
had 279 losses (27 were lost 1-0 and his team shut out in 65 of his starts.)
career E.R.A. of 2.17
first in career shutouts with 110
led league: 5 times E.R.A, 12 times strikeouts, shut outs 7 times, wins 6 times
Elected to original Hall of Fame in 1936.
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