AUGUST 7, 1907 | WASHINGTON, D.C. – Only Cy Young did more amazing things on the pitcher’s mound than Walter Johnson, and they named an award after Young.
Walter Johnson’s road to immortality began on this date in 1907. He grew up on a farm outside Humboldt, Kansas. Johnson was just 19-years old when he pitched the Washington Senators to a 7-2 win over the Cleveland Naps (today’s Indians) – the first of 416 career wins . Only Cy Young has more career wins (511) than Walter Johnson.
Johnson’s accomplishments are stunning. From 1910 to 1919 he won 25, 25, 33, 36, 28, 27, 25, 23, 23 and games.
- He started 666 games in his 21-year career, completing 531.
- He pitched 110 shutouts (11 in 1913).
- He pitched over 300 innings 9 times.
Johnson could hit, too! He had a .433 batting average in 1925 – 42 hits in 97 at bats. He hit .283 in 1924, .270 in 1921, and had a career average of .235 with 24 home runs and 255 runs batted in.
Walter Johnson: Baseball’s Big Train, by Henry W. Thomas, 1995
1926 | WASHINGTON, D.C. – Walter Johnson won his 400th game on this date in 1926. Only one other pitcher has reached that plateau, Cy Young, winner of an astonishing 511 games. You know Cy. They named an award after him.
Walter Johnson came from Humboldt, Kansas. He broke into the majors with the Washington Senators (today’s Minnesota Twins) in 1907 at age 19.
They called him “Night Train,” and he pitched for the next 21 years, finishing with records like 36-7, 33-12, 23-7, 25-13, 20-7, for a team that lost more than it won (The Senators finished under .500 eleven of the twenty-one seasons Johnson pitched for them).
Walter Johnson was said to have the fastest fastball in major league history, of course there were no radar guns in the teens and twenties, so we can’t really be sure.
Here are some figures from the “I didn’t know that” category that we are sure about;
• Johnson pitched 110 shutouts
• He won 38 games 1-0
• Remarkably, 26 of his losses were 1-0
Walter Johnson could hit too. Johnson finished the 1925 season with a .433 batting average, still a major league record for pitchers. His lifetime batting average was .235, not bad for a pitcher.
300 win club
Walter Johnson, Hall of Fame