He was 37 years old and still an ace, but not every moment was a winning one for The Big Train.
The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day was taken in pre-game warmups before Game 7 of the 1925 World Series and shows Hall of Famer Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators shaking hands with his mound opponent, Lee Meadows of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The rare 7 ¾” x 10” photo originated in a newspaper archive and may be the only one of its kind in existence. The 90-year-old photograph bears the grease pencil markings of a photo editor on the front and a small part of a lower corner is missing but is otherwise in excellent shape. It is among 325 historic photos in RMY’s September auction.
Washington, under manager Bucky Harris, was trying to make it two championships in a row and hoping he could ride the 37-year-old Johnson through the post-season. Walter had won 20 games once again and was closing in on 400—a remarkable milestone even for the time.
In the two hours that came after the handshake that preserved a moment in history, Johnson would dominate the Pirates. He went the distance, giving up just five hits and one run while striking out 10. Meadows wasn’t bad—working eight innings but surrendering three runs in front of the 41,723 gathered at Forbes Field.
Johnson would make a triumphant return at home in Game 4, tossing a shutout that gave the Senators a 3-1 Series lead but the Pirates took the next two and Harris opted to use him again on short rest in Game 7.
The Series was plagued by bad weather and the deciding game was played in a steady rain. Johnson proved mortal, giving up 15 hits and five earned runs as the Senators completed an epic collapse, losing the game, 9-7, and dropping the Series 4 games to 3.
To register and/or bid in the auction, visit the RMY Auctions website.