You’re probably well aware of Walter Johnson but did you know the Big Train had a son who also pitched? The story of Walter Johnson Jr. actually came to a sad, premature conclusion but fans of baseball history will appreciate an item in Mile High Card Company’s current auction that pairs father and son.
The newly launched Extra Innings auction includes an American League baseball signed by both, likely sometime during the 1930s.
Walter Johnson Jr. was struck by a car while roller skating as a teenager and suffered two badly broken legs but recovered to become a successful high school athlete and signed to play minor league ball in 1936.
“I know I’ll never be as good us dad,” he stated at the time. “They don’t come that good very often. Father’s record certainly gives me something to shoot at but its beyond my fondest dreams ever to even approach the heights he reached.”
He struck out four of the first six hitters he faced during a low-level minor league debut but was never able to advance to the upper echelon of the minors, let alone come close to the big league career enjoyed by his famous father. He played ball through the end of the decade and joined the U.S. Army air corps six months before the start of World War II.
Sadly, Walter Jr. died of Hodgkin’s Disease in 1951 at age 45.
The ball is signed on the sweet spot by both Johnson men on an Ernest Barnard official American League ball. Barnard served as league president from 1927-1931. It carries authentication from JSA. Bidding opened at $600.
The remainder of the auction includes over 500 items making it the company’s largest Extra Innings sale to date and is a precursor to the company’s final major catalog auction of 2018, set to open later this month.
Among the vintage cards up for grabs are PSA 8 examples of several 1956 Topps cards including Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, Hank Aaron and Ted Williams, a 1948 Bowman #36 Stan Musial rookie card (PSA 6), a 1953 Bowman Color Musial (PSA 8), rookie cards of Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks and numerous other stars. Numerous lower grade vintage Mantle cards are up for grabs as well as a large selection of PSA 9 graded 1971 Topps football and PSA 10 graded 1972 Topps football cards tailored toward PSA Set Registry participants.
Complete up for bid include 1948 Bowman baseball and football and 1971 Topps baseball.
A rare 1948 Leaf boxing unopened pack, a PSA 9 Walter Payton rookie card and a 1936 New York Giants signed baseball are also among the highlights.
MHCC is currently accepting consignments for its 2019 auctions. To bid in the auction or more more information, visit MileHighCardCo.com.