Walter Johnson

Walter Perry Johnson
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1936
Primary team: Washington Senators
Primary position: Pitcher

Addie Joss could not have been more right when he predicted “That young fellow is another Cy Young. I never saw a kid with more than he displayed. Of course, he is still green, but when he has a little experience he should be one of the greatest pitchers that ever broke into the game. He has terrific speed and a motion which does not put much strain on his arm and this will all improve as he goes along”.

Walter Johnson came from humble beginnings, the son of a Kansas farmer. It wasn’t until his parents moved the family out west that he began to pick up the trade that would make him one of the most recognizable stars the game has ever seen. Johnson was a natural from the moment he stepped on to the southern California sandlots "From the first time I held a ball, it settled in the palm of my right hand as though it belonged there and, when I threw it, ball, hand and wrist, and arm and shoulder and back seemed to all work together."

Labor Day weekend of 1908, Johnson’s sophomore campaign in the junior circuit, saw one of the most dominating performances of his career. The twenty year-old Johnson started three consecutive games, September 4, 5 and 7, and shutout the New York Yankees in each of those contests giving up six, four and two hits respectively—truly one of the most remarkable pitching performances of any generation.

In 1911, famed sportswriter Grantland Rice popularized the nickname “The Big Train” in referring to Johnson. At a time when trains were the fastest things known to man, Ty Cobb recalled Johnson’s fastball as “Just speed, raw speed, blinding speed, too much speed”. “The Big Train” added to his arsenal when he developed a curveball in the early 1910s and put together a string of ten straight twenty win seasons. During his career, Johnson amassed eleven seasons with a sub 2.00 ERA and completed 531 of his 666 career starts.

In 1924, the Senators made the World Series for the first time. After playing on very poor teams for nearly two decades, Johnson finally got the opportunity to shine on baseball’s grandest stage. In the 9th inning of Game 7, Senators skipper Bucky Harris called on Johnson in relief “You're the best we've got, Walter, We've got to win or lose with you”- and win they did. Johnson blanked the Giants for four innings and earned the victory and Washington’s only World Series championship.

"We idolized that guy. Just sat there and watched him pitch. Down around the knees—woosh! One after the other. He had something all right. I pitched against a lot of guys and saw a lot of guys throw, and I haven’t seen one yet come close to as fast as he was. "
Lefty Grove

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1936
Primary Team: Washington Senators
Position Played: Pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: Humboldt, Kansas
Birth year: 1887
Died: 1946, Washington, District of Columbia
Played for:
Washington Senators (1907-1927)
Managed:
Washington Senators (1929-1932)
Cleveland Indians (1933-1935)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
802
HitsH
4913
RunsR
1902
Innings PitchedIP
5914.1
WinsW
417
LossesL
279
Winning %Winning %
.599
Games StartedGS
666
ERAERA
2.17
Complete GamesCG
531
ShutoutsSHO
110
WHIPWHIP
1.061
SavesSV
34
Earned RunsER
1424
WalksBB
1363
StrikeoutsSO
3509