Author Topic: On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.  (Read 222 times)

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Offline welch

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On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.
« Topic Start: December 10, 2020, 05:31:31 PM »
Probably the greatest pitcher of all time. And he was ours.

https://dcbaseballhistory.com/2020/12/this-date-in-washington-senators-history-goodbye-to-the-big-train/?fbclid=IwAR0KYnJbdxIDS4Lx0bDzKelwR7v-VYV6loeL4UPvWX0TLBiGmOXadjKGBbU

Here are his stats. Led the AL in strikeouts 12 or 13 seasons. Lifetime WHIP 1.06. His 1913 season had the lowest ERA era until Bob Gibson in 1968, and John's ERA was blown up a shade when, in the last game of the season, Clark Griffith asked Johnson to come in from the OF to pitch, and to throw the ball slowly down the middle. Grif wanted to entertain the USNA midshipmen, who were all attending the game.

Still leads with a lifetime of 110 shutouts.

Still leads all pitchers with a full season average of .433 in 97 at-bats.

When Johnson retired, he bought a farm in Rockville. That's why Montgomery County named a high school after him.

(With luck, the Nats will extend Max and some county have the name for will a high school)

Offline Mathguy

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Re: On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.
« Reply #1: December 11, 2020, 09:39:02 AM »
Walter Johnson was a really great pitcher.  But it's hard to compare individual statistics of different generations.  If for no other reason than Jackie Robinson, the strengths & abilities of modern ballplayers are much greater than they were 80 or more years ago.

Offline Five Banners

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Re: On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.
« Reply #2: December 11, 2020, 10:08:55 AM »
Walter Johnson was a really great pitcher.  But it's hard to compare individual statistics of different generations.  If for no other reason than Jackie Robinson, the strengths & abilities of modern ballplayers are much greater than they were 80 or more years ago.

You certainly have all sorts of “enhancements“ on the muscle building side for batters over the years, which like anything would have to be accounted for by approach. The percentage of the potential talent pool funneled to baseball as opposed to other sports was also likely lopsided in Johnson’s day compared to the modern era.

Pitchers reply on changes and misdirections, something that is not era-dependent. As for the speed aspect (which in and of itself would not be what made Johnson the greatest, but is at least a measurable), Johnson seemed to be in the mix rather than modern ballplayers’ strength and abilities dwarfing his per some reports and assessment attempts:

https://www.baseball-almanac.com/articles/fastest-pitcher-in-baseball.shtml

“At the Aberdeen Proving Grounds he was measured using the ever-popular speeding motorcycle test, once used in 1914 with Walter Johnson who reached 99.7 mph, and Feller reached 98.6 mph. The results of the test from the "new meter" were reported the day after the initial article:

Humphreys' 'Hard' Un' Faster Than Feller's, Meter Shows

CLEVELAND (AP) - Three Boston Red Sox threw a baseball 122 feet a second into a new photo-electric pitching meter yesterday. Three Cleveland Indians could do only 119 feet.

Pitchers were not included in yesterday's test but "unofficially," Bob Feller of Cleveland threw three balls into the meter from a distance of 20 feet. The best mark he recorded was 119 feet. His less-touted teammate, pitcher Johnny Humphreys, recorded 127 feet. There will be a contest for pitchers later.

Jimmy Foxx, Jim Tabor, and Roger Cramer made it a clean Boston sweep with a first-place tie in yesterday's fielders contest.

The best the Indians could do was a tie at 119 feet by Ben Chapman, Julius Solters and Jim Shilling.

Cleveland men who developed the speed meter said the only comparable scientific marks were made in 1917. Walter Johnson threw the ball 134 feet a second, Christy Mathewson 127 and "Smoky Joe" Wood 124. Their speeds were shown by a gravity drop interval recorder.

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.
« Reply #3: December 11, 2020, 01:44:26 PM »
I still struggle with his octopus statue at the ballpark, but let's give it up for Big Train  :clap:

Offline HondoKillebrew

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Re: On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.
« Reply #4: December 11, 2020, 01:53:36 PM »
I still struggle with his octopus statue at the ballpark, but let's give it up for Big Train  :clap:

Greatest right hander of all time.  The statue is terrible.  He and the others were done an injustice.  They deserved so much better. 

Online JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.
« Reply #5: December 11, 2020, 07:47:14 PM »
Greatest right hander of all time.  The statue is terrible.  He and the others were done an injustice.  They deserved so much better. 
Johnson had the longevity. Gibson I think is in the conversation. I'd say for a 7 year peak, Pedro might take both.

Offline bluestreak

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Re: On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.
« Reply #6: December 11, 2020, 08:03:06 PM »
I’d go Kershaw, Pedro, Johnson, Gibson, and Maddux in whatever order you want all ahead of Johnson. It’s hard for me to say someone who played pre-integration is the best ever.

Online JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.
« Reply #7: December 11, 2020, 08:07:36 PM »
I’d go Kershaw, Pedro, Johnson, Gibson, and Maddux in whatever order you want all ahead of Johnson. It’s hard for me to say someone who played pre-integration is the best ever.
well, we are talking righties. I would make the same argument for Koufax as I made for Pedro.

Also, by Johnson, you mean Randy?

Online JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.
« Reply #8: December 11, 2020, 08:11:52 PM »
As for the segregated league, that should be considered but so should height of the mound, travel, length of schedule, use of relievers, etc...  Big Train pitched in daylight, which is much easier to see the ball tjan lights.

In my mind, it is like comparing defensemen out of Orr's era to Orr, or comparing Russell to Kareem or Shaq. You have to account for state of the game when evaluatinng players

Offline bluestreak

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Re: On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.
« Reply #9: December 11, 2020, 08:28:02 PM »
well, we are talking righties. I would make the same argument for Koufax as I made for Pedro.

Also, by Johnson, you mean Randy?

I missed the righty part. My apologies. Gibson and Maddux then.

Online JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: On this day in 1946, Walter Johnson died.
« Reply #10: December 11, 2020, 08:42:17 PM »
I missed the righty part. My apologies. Gibson and Maddux then.
Maddux pitched in a much tougher era with fewer pitcher-friendly rules. Mound height, steroids, integrated league, more changing of baseballs during games. Only huge advantage he had was night games.