Even in an “off” year, he was still considered “The Premier Pitcher of the American League”. That was the headline on the magazine cover as summer descended upon the United States 94 years ago. Walter Johnson wouldn’t win 20 games and his earned run average wasn’t nearly the best in the league but The Big Train was still a force at the age of 35.
This month, the actual photo used to create the July 23 cover of Baseball Magazine is among the hundreds of vintage images being offered at RMY Auctions.
The Pacific and Atlantic image measures 6 ½ x 7 ¾”. It was acquired by Baseball Magazine’s editors who put Johnson on the front of their popular publication. It stayed in a file until the magazine’s archives were sold in 1996. A stamp labeling it as such is on the back.
While Johnson’s numbers were pedestrian by his standards in 1923, he’d rebound the following year, starting 38 games, finishing 23-7 with a 2.72 ERA and leading the Washington Senators to a World Series title.
A copy of the magazine is included with the photo in the auction, which closes May 13 at RMYAuctions.com.