Happy Birthday to the Big Train
Born on Nov. 6, 1887, Walter Johnson defined power pitching in the early part of the 20th Century. Playing his whole career for the Washington Senators, the "Big Train" was a terrifying mound presence, set numerous records and generally dominated the American League from 1907-1927.
Plucked out of obscurity in western Idaho by a Senators scout, Johnson became what Ty Cobb called "the most threatening sight I ever saw in the ball field." Not only did the big right-hander pitch with an unorthodox, sling-like sidearm motion, he was measured doing so at velocity above 90 mph, which was unheard of in his time.
That talent translated into 110 career shutouts (a record that stands to this day), 11 seasons of an ERA under 2.00 and 12 of leading the AL in strikeouts. Johnson participated in the Senators' only World Series title in 1924 and was one of the first five players inducted into the Hall of Fame.
-- Dan Wohl / MLB.com