“It’s great to be back home,” said Walter Johnson after accepting the managerial position with the Washington Senators, the team for which he’d pitched so well just a few years earlier. After a one-year stint at Newark of the International League, owner Clark Griffith hired Johnson to lead his team.
Our Photo of the Day, sponsored by RMY Auctions, is an original news photo showing Johnson at his first spring training as Washington manager in March of 1929. The Big Train was no longer an active player but obviously hadn’t completely abandoned the occasional desire to toss a pitch or two.
Johnson would find managing a much tougher challenge than mowing down hitters. He had a mix of aging veterans and promising rookies in ’29, with promising Joe Cronin, Goose Goslin and Sam Rice all part of the roster.
Despite winning 21 of 27 exhibition games, the Senators for much of the season, rallying to finish fifth.
Johnson would manage the team for four years, then head for Cleveland where he’d continue for three more, ending his career with a .550 winning percentage but only once did his teams finish as high as second.
The black and white image is one of more than 350 vintage photographs up for bid through Sunday in RMY’s Collectors Auction.