Walter Johnson

Walter Johnson

Barney, The Big Train
November 6, 1887
6' 1"
200 lbs
Major League Debut:
8-02-1907 with WS1
Allstar Selections:
1913 MVP, 1913 TC, 1918 TC, 1924 MVP, 1924 TC
Hall of Fame:


Walter Johnson

Walter Johnson

Considered by many to be the greatest right-hander in baseball history, Johnson was the hardest thrower of his time. He was a phenomenally successful pitcher on often terrible Washington Senators' teams. As a veteran, he anchored the only Senators' World Series winning club, in 1924. He and Christy Mathewson were the first pitchers inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Teams Walter Johnson Managed

Washington Senators (1929-1932)
Cleveland Indians (1933-1935)

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Where does Walter Johnson rank among baseball greats?

Walter Johnson ranks #1 among the Top 50 all-time at SP. Rankings ?

All Time Teammates:


Best Season: 1913
It ranks as one of the greatest seasons by a pitcher...ever. Johnson won the triple crown - 36 wins, 243 K's, and 1.14 ERA. His ERA, adjusted to the league, is the fifth best in history. Opponents batted .187 and had a .217 OBP (sixth lowest all-time). He tossed 11 shutouts, completed 29 games, and threw 346 innings - all league bests. Perhaps most amazing is the fact that the rest of the Senators were 54-57. In 1913, Walter Johnson carried Washington to a second place finish on his back.


Walter Johnson is the only pitcher to win 20 games and bat .400 in the same season. In 1925, he went 20-7 and hit .433 (42-for-97) with two homers and 20 RBI.

Walter Johnson threw 38 1-0 shutouts in his career, and lost by that score 24 times.

On February 22, 1936, Walter Johnson tossed a silver dollar across the Rappahannock in Virginia. More than fifty years later, the coin sold for more than $25,000.


According to his grandson, Johnson "had a short 'windmill' windup in which he rotated his arm in a circle while standing straight up on the mound, then swept the arm behind his back as far as it would go before whipping it forward in a smooth sidearm-underarm arc." — from Walter Johnson: Baseball's Big Train by Henry W. Thomas


Where He Played
Starting pitcher (666 games). But, like most ace pitchers of his era, Johnson was used in relief between starts. He made nearly 150 relief appearances in his career.

As a Manager
Johnson is one of the most successful ex-pitchers to manage. He guided his teams to a .550 record (529-432) in parts of seven seasons. The closest he came to first was a second-place finish in 1930, eight games out.


Walter Perry Johnson was born on November 6, 1887, in Humboldt, KS.


December 10, 1946, Washington, DC



Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1907
Tris Speaker
Ed Konetchy
Clyde Milan
Larry Doyle
Dode Paskert
Fred Merkle
Heinie Zimmerman
Walter Johnson
Bill McKechnie

Barney,The Big Train


Similar Players
None. Johnson was an evolutionary freak - well ahead of his time in arm strength and speed. While later generations would produce Bob Feller, Sam McDowell, Nolan Ryan, and Randy Johnson, the "Big Train" preceded them with his high 90s fastball.


Related Players
Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton both broke Johnson's all-time strikeout record and took turns at the top of the list in the early 1980s.


Hall of Fame Voting
Year Election Votes Pct
1936 BBWAA 189 83.6%


7/1/1920: For WAS (A) vs. BOS (A), 1-0 at BOS. 9 innings pitched.

Post-Season Appearances
1924 World Series
1925 World Series


Awards and Honors
1913 AL MVP
1913 AL Triple Crown
1918 AL Triple Crown
1924 AL MVP
1924 AL Triple Crown


In a wild game at Griffith Stadium, on May 14, 1920, Johnson captured his 300th win, beating Detroit, 9-8... On September 5, 1921, Walter Johnson eclipsed Cy Young's career strikeout mark, bringing his total to 2,287 in a game against the Yankees... On July 22, 1923, Johnson recorded his 3,000th strikeout, in a win over the Cleveland Indians... Johnson notched his 400th victory on May 2, 1926, defeating the Philadelphia Athletics, 4-3, at Washington's Griffith Stadium.


  • May 14, 1920: 300th Win...

  • July 22, 1923: 3000th strikeout... Stan Coveleski

  • May 2, 1926: 400th Win...


Johnson retired with the highest strikeout total in history, a mark he held for 56 years... A Bethesda, Maryland, high school is named Walter Johnson High School in honor of the Washington Senators' legend. For some reason the school sports teams go by "Wildcats" instead of "Big Trains."


Matchup BigData
Ty Cobb performed well against Johnson and faced the right-handed hurler in Johnson's frst major league game.

Essentially, he replaced right-hander Cy Falkenberg and lefty Case Patten in the Washington rotation, which was a jumbled mess before Johnson arrived.

Replaced By
In 1927, Johnson's final year, Irving "Bump" Hadley was in his rookie season and moved into the rotation as Johnson was eased out. Hadley forged a nice career: winning 161 games in 16 years.

Best Strength as a Player
Johnson probably threw as hard as 97-99 MPH. In his day, that type of fastball was 7-12 miles an hour faster than most other "power pitchers" were throwing. In addition, Johnson threw heat more often than other pitchers. Previously, the tactic used by pitchers was to save their best speed pitches for the "pinch" - those times when runners were on base or late in a close game - and to ease up a bit the rest of the time. By most accounts, Johnson threw hard often, almost every inning, and in any situation.

Largest Weakness as a Player

1936 Hall of Fame, 300 wins, AL MVP 1913, AL MVP 1924, Baseball History, Hall of Fame, Walter Johnson, Washington Senators
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