On January 29, 1936, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and a special Veterans Committee selected Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson in the first-ever Baseball Hall of Fame elections. The enshrinement of these five greats, however, would have to wait until 1939, since the museum’s construction in Cooperstown had not yet begun.
On November 5, 1940, Election Day in America that year, former pitcher Walter Johnson lost to William D. Byron, the Democrat incumbent, in a bid to represent Maryland’s sixth congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Hall of Fame right-hander had been elected as a Montgomery County Commissioner in 1938 but lost this election to Byron by a total of 60,037 (53%) to 52,258 (47%).
Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson defeated the Philadelphia Athletics, 1-0, on September 29, 1913 to record his final decision of the season. Johnson would appear in only one more game in 1913 and finished the season with an impressive 36-7 record and a mind-boggling 346.1 innings pitched. Over the course of the season, Johnson also notched two saves, 243 strikeouts, and only gave up 9 home runs and 40 walks. He concluded 1913 with an ERA of 1.14.
On September 7, 1908, Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators pitched the third of three consecutive shutouts against the New York Highlanders at Hilltop Park. Johnson threw a six-hit shutout on Friday, September 4th, followed by a four-hitter with no runs on Saturday, then concluded with a two-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader on Labor Day.
After winning a record-tying (at that time) 16 consecutive games on the mound, Lynwood Thomas “Schoolboy” Rowe finally lost to the Athletics, 13-5, at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park on August 29, 1934. The Tigers’ right-hander’s mark tied the American League record for consecutive wins shared by Smoky Joe Wood, Walter Johnson, and Lefty Grove.
This documentary, “Fastball,” is fun to watch, and currently, it’s available for free through YouTube. Kevin Costner narrates, and you also get to hear from Joe Posnanski, Derek Jeter, Goose Gossage, Hank Aaron, plus a number of other hard-throwing pitchers and the hitters who had to face them. The documentary is rich with stories about many of the great fastball pitchers in the game, both past and present, and I even found myself experiencing small surges of adrenaline as I watched. The science presented in the film is fascinating, as well.
It looks like you’ll have to make your way to YouTube to watch it, as I’m unable to drop the video here due to restrictions. Definitely check it out, if you get the chance!
I was the greenest rookie that ever was. One evening I was standing out on the sidewalk when a stranger approached and said, ‘You’re famous already kid. See, they’ve named a hotel for you.’ I looked across the street and sure enough, there was a big illuminated sign that read ‘Johnson Hotel.’ Well, do you know that I was so green that I actually believed the man!
At Fenway Park on August 15, 1916, Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth came out victorious over Walter Johnson and the Senators, 1-0 in 13 innings. Though Johnson managed to keep Boston to four hits over the first twelve innings, he gave up three more hits in the 13th, thus allowing Jack Barry to score the game’s lone run.
Walter Johnson won his first major league game on August 7, 1907. At the age of 19, Johnson led the Senators to a 7-2 victory over the Indians. He would go on to compile a 417-279 (.599) record during his 21-year career, with an ERA of 2.17.