A truly intimidating presence on the mound, Johnson could deliver an overpowering fastball with a whip-like delivery. Despite his reputation as a fierce competitor, Johnson was considered one of the most courteous and respectful players in the game, and was one of the more accommodating signers of his time. Most mediums can be found, but Johnson single-signed baseballs are very difficult to locate in high-grade. While he was a responsive signer, his early passing limits the number of authentic examples found in the hobby today. Most of the signatures available in the marketplace were signed after Johnson’s playing days, when autograph collecting became more popular. Johnson possessed an extremely legible signature, one where you can decipher every letter in his name. It was both neat and consistent. He remained an active signer until the year of his passing. In fact, there are some known dated examples from that year, 1946.
Johnson died at the age of 59 in 1946.
Walter Perry Johnson (November 6, 1887 - December 10, 1946) played his entire Major League Baseball career with the Washington Senators (1907-1927) and would go on to become the manager for the Senators (1929-1932) and eventually the Cleveland Indians (1933-1935). Johnson was a tall, slim right-hander from Kansas with a fastball unmatched by pitchers from his era. Walter’s powerful fastball and side-arm delivery fooled hitters whom he often wrung up on strikeouts. "The Big Train", as he was called, fanned 3,508 hitters, a record at the time of his retirement, and racked up and impressive and still current record 110 shutouts, during his 21-year career. To put Johnson’s dominance in perspective, only two of his pre-WWII contemporaries finished their careers within 1,000 strikeouts of Johnson; Hall of Famers Cy Young (2,803), the Major League career win leader, and New York Giants great Tim Keefe (2,562). Walter Johnson was well liked by teammates and opponents alike. Johnson won two Most Valuable Player award (1913, 1924) and was a member of the 1924 World Champions Washington Senators. He led the American League in strikeouts 12 times, seven times in shutouts, six times in wins and complete games, five times in ERA, four times in starts and twice in winning percentage and games. He finished his career among the leaders in wins (417), strikeouts (3,508), ERA (2.17) and shutouts (110 – a record he continues to hold). After his playing days ended, Johnson took the reigns as manager for the Senators and then Indians, compiling a record of 529-432 in 966 career games managed. Walter Perry Johnson was elected, among the inaugural class, to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
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