A little on the history of one of the greatest - maybe THE greatest pitcher of all time. Well, I do love Nolan Ryan, and he did break one of Mister Johnson’s records.The elder struck out 3,508 batters, and that record held until 1983 when our Texas Ranger beat it. I still remember cheering for Mister Nolan that season.
Some researching is so much fun! See, I’m so blessed to be the wife of not only the kindest and most honorable man I know, but the wisest, too. My husband’s brain just amazes me, and he turned me on to Walter Johnson when we started discussing plans for a baseball story. He coached all our 3 sons and all but two of our eight grandsons, too, so we've lived many a summer at the ballpark.
On the right is from 1983, when my sons played: Baby Russell, Cathryn, Matt and Greg, plus Ron and I, of course.
And on the left, 2009 with the four grandsons God saw fit to give us to rear :) A second set of Matt & Greg (Matthew and Gregory to help keep things straight) with Christian and Benjamen--plus my beloved and me. The man in the black shirt on left is my firstborn, Matthew, the one in glasses on the right. Family so easily distracts, don't they? Who doesn't love sharing their families?
Back to Walter Johnson!I found this quote the renowned pitcher said of himself: "I was the greenest rookie that ever was. One evening I was standing out on the sidewalk when a stranger approached and said, 'You're famous already, kid. See, they've named a hotel for you.' I looked across the street and, sure enough, there was a big illuminated sign that read, 'Johnson Hotel.' Well, do you know that I was so green that I actually believed the man?"
I love humble and chose him to be my hero’s great-great uncle in my new contemporary baseball-backdrop romance, One and Done. Matter of fact, his Pappaw named him after the family ancestor and the Babe, too, because he didn’t know if his grandson would be a hurler or a hitter. George Herman Walter Johnson proved a big name to grow into for Jidge.
Wary over leaving his farm home for the big city, the nineteen-year-old Johnson, joined the American League playing for the Washington Senators in 1907 and began gaining fame right away for his pitching. "There’s only one way to time Johnson’s fastball. When you see the arm start forward-swing," Birdie McCree, an executive of the New York Highlanders, claimed in 1908.
And it didn’t take Ty Cobb, a Detroit Tiger, long at all to recognize the remarkable talent of the pitcher nicknamed 'Sir Walter' and the 'White Knight' for his legendary good sportsmanship and gentlemanly ways. Mister Cobb said, “The first time I faced him, I watched him take that easy windup – and then something went past me that made me flinch. I hardly saw the pitch, but I heard it. Every one of us knew we’d met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ballpark.”
Regularly honored with the All-Star and Most Valuable Player Awards during the first seventeen years of his career, Mister Walter finally took the Senators to the Word Series in 1924, and with President and First Lady Coolidge in the stands, beat the Giants 4-3. Johnson’s mother, Minnie, attended, too, her very first major league ballgame. All accounts say he doted on her.
The Senators went back once to the series, but lost, and The Big Train, another moniker given him because of his size, six-foot-four, and velocity of his throws (no radar back then). Johnson retired in 1927 after a twenty-one-year career with 416 wins in the record books, 110 of them shut outs, the strikeouts mentioned, and a 2.17 ERA.
He came back two years later as manager of the Senators, but that didn't last long. In honor of his contributions to the game of baseball, Johnson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 with Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, three years after the All-Star break was instituted.
And speaking of the All-Star break (sneaky segue, right?), traditionally falling mid-season to pump up renewed fan support, that’s when One and Done debuts! It’s book three of my Red River Romance series and should be ready for pre-order at Amazon soon.
A Dallas weather girl, Samantha Danielle, is thrilled and flabbergasted when her station sends her to Mexico wanting her to scoop the rumor that the Texas Rangers are interested in a hard throwing rookie. What comes down after that, proves way more astonishing! Sammi Dan can hardly believe the whirlwind she gets caught up in!
This is a story you can enjoy then pass on to your husband then to your teens! My motto is: Praying my story gives God glory!
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