From Hillel Kuttler at The New York Times on October 10, 2012, with mention of SABR member Phil Wood:
A stranger recently telephoned Carolyn Thomas to ask how old she was when her father died. Twenty-three, she replied.
“Oh, you knew him!” the man, greatly impressed, responded. Thomas could only laugh.
For sports fans in this city, Thomas’s father, Walter Johnson, remains royalty 85 years after his sidearm fastball last whizzed past a helpless batter and 66 years since his death. The Washington Senators’ pitching ace, Johnson won 417 games, the second most in baseball history, and his 3,509 strikeouts stood as a major league record until 1983. The Big Train, as he was known, retains numerous baseball career marks, with perhaps the most impressive being his throwing 110 shutouts and 531 complete games in 21 seasons, all with Washington.
Late in Johnson’s career, the Senators brought home the capital’s lone World Series championship. Johnson pitched the final four innings of the decisive seventh game in 1924, a 12-inning 4-3 victory over the New York Giants on Oct. 10. His other two World Series wins came in 1925, when the Pittsburgh Pirates took the title in seven games.
Originally published: October 10, 2012. Last Updated: October 10, 2012.