Walter "Big Train" Johnson…Walter Perry Johnson was born on November 6, 1887 in Humbolt, Kansas according to baseball-reference.com. Twenty years later Walter “Big Train” Johnson made his Major League debut with the Washington Senators, on August 2, 1907. Primarily a power pitcher, Johnson has been attributed through historical anecdote with a hundred-mile-an-hour fastball, which the endurance of his record setting strikeout total may attest to.
When Walter Johnson played his final game with the Washington Senators on Septemer 30, 1927, twenty-one years after his debut,, “The Big Train” had amassed a total of 3,509 K’s in 5,914 innings pitched. According to his profile on Wikipedia.com, Johnson’s strike out total, then the largest in Major League history, remained the pinnacle until Nolan Ryan surpassed it in 1983.
417 wins in his twenty-one year career ranks Walter Johnson behind only Cy Young’s 511. Owner of the lowest season earned run average in MLB history with the 1.14 ERA “Big Train” posted in 346 innings pitched in the 1913 season. (36-7) that year, Johnson was awarded the AL MVP. The “Big Train” would have to wait until eighteen seasons into his career to appear in the post season. Remember the slogan associated with these time is “First in War, First in Peace, Last in the American League.”
But in 1924, the "Big Train" made the best of that first appearance coming on in relief in Game 7 to lead Washington to a 4-2 win over the New York Giants for the first World Series win in franchise history. Johnson and the Senators were back in the World Series the next season when they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Walter Johnson retired two seasons later, and went on to manage the Senators from 1929-1932. Along with Frank Howard, Walter Johnson remains one of the two most revered names in DC baseball history.
From the Senators past to the Nationals present.
Home run, single, home run in three straight at bats off Mike Bacsik in the top of the second of tonight’s finale of the three game series between Bacsik’s Washington Nationals and the visiting Cincinnati Reds, who look avoid being swept out of DC. 3-1 Reds. Bacsik’s struggles follow a bottom of the first in which the Nationals stranded two after taking a 1-0 lead on Dmitri Young’s RBI single. 3-1 Reds after one.
Washington is wearing white Senators caps, with a red bill and block letter black “W,” tonight in tribute to the “Big Train.” Ronnie Belliard doesn’t care what hat or helmet he’s wearing, he just likes to hit. THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! After Belliard’s leadoff single, Ryan Zimmerman doubles into the left center gap to score Belliard from first and close the gap to 3-2 Reds. DY faces Cincy lefty Phil Dumatrait, in his MLB debut, and singles to right scoring Zimmerman from second. Tie game at 3-3 after three.
Ronnie Belliard doubles to right off Dumatrait with two on in the fourth to scores Mike Bacsik from second after the Nationals pitcher had hit a one-out double. Felipe Lopez moves from first to third on Belliard’s double. 4-3 Nationals Dumatrait is done after throwing 84 pitches in three and a third. Zimmerman singles up the middle off reliever Todd Coffey to score Lopez and Belliard. 6-3 Nationals.
Mike Bacsik’s through six with the 6-3 lead.In the seventh, Zimmerman robs Jeff Conine with a backhand stab at a high hoppin’ grounder for the second out, and Bacsik retires the Reds in order. Stand up and stretch…Reds reliever Victor Santos gives up a two-out double to D’Angelo Jimenez to score Ryan Church from second in the seventh. 7-3 Nationals.
The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History, Jon Rauch will take care of the eigth on the mound. Zimmerman barehands a bunt attempt by Ryan Freel. Rauch retires the side in order. 7-3 after eight. Saul “Sa-ool” Rivera up and throwing for the ninth. Norris Hopper hits a high chopper for an infield single. Brandon Phillips grounds into a double play, Zimmerman to Belliard to Fick. Ken Griffey, Jr. defies expectation with a double to left center. Jeff Conine grounds out to first. Nationals win. 7-3 Final.
Three game SWEEP!!!
Nationals now 48-60.