This card is as visually stunning as it is rare. The T204
cards, which measure approximately 2" by 2½" in size, were
distributed with Ramly and T.T.T. brand Turkish tobacco
cigarettes. The black and white portrait of Walter Johnson is
surrounded by gold embossed borders, providing a beautiful
frame for this antique gem. Since chipping and wear along
the edges are so easily seen, beware of examples that have been recolored in order to cover the damage. There are a few rarities in the 121-card set, but this Big Train card is the key. With 12 seasons of 20 or more victories, including two with more than 30, many baseball historians
consider Johnson to be the most dominating pitcher of all time. His greatest season on the mound, and perhaps the greatest season by any pitcher, took place in 1913
when Johnson went 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA. During that same campaign, Johnson led the league in strikeouts and posted 11 shutouts. Of all the great Johnson cards on this list, this one is certainly the most challenging.
Walter Perry Johnson (1887-1946) 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.