The eternally woeful Washington Senators were headed to the World Series in October of 1924 to face the New York Giants. Actually, during the 1920s, they were not that woeful. In fact, they were one of the better teams in the American League. They had beaten Babe Ruth and the hated New York Yankees by two games and were league champs.
The town was abuzz with excitement and ready to rally around their star pitcher, and Mount Pleasant resident, Walter Johnson. Johnson was the best pitcher ever to represent a baseball team in the nation’s capital and, quite possibly, was the best pitcher in the history of professional baseball (our modern-day Johnson is Stephen Strasburg, as long as he can dominate as a Washington National until the year 2030).
On October 3rd, a large party was held at the Willard Hotel to show support for the team and send them off in style to the World Series the next day.
I came across an article in the Post talking about what the citizens of Washington did to show their gratitude for Walter Johnson.
WASHINGTON’S victory in the American league, couple with the fact that Walter Johnson will pitch the first game of the world’s series [sic] against the Giants Saturday has had its effect on local fans and contributions toward the Walter Johnson testimonial are now coming in rapidly.
The dance at the Willard hotel tonight is the biggest social event in connection with the project to present Johnson with some token of appreciation of Washington fandom. It is expected that the large ballroom at the Willard will be taxed to capacity and the advance sale has been exceedingly gratifying to the committee in charge.
Four orchestras will furnish the music. Members of the Washington team has been signified their intentions of being present and Nick Altrock and Al Schacht have volunteered to do their funny acts and promise some stuff which they guarantee new to the Washington fans. These acts have been great hits on the recent trip around the circuit.
Probably one fact that goes to show the worthiness of the cause more than any other is that One-Eyed Connolly, world-famous gatecrasher, has bought a ticket for the affair and admits it.
Arrangements are practically complete for the boxing bouts to beheld at the Washington barracks next Tuesday night for the benefit of the testimonial, Young Dencio has agreed to meet John Maury, Atlantic City flyweight, in the feature event.
The day after the celebration, the first game of the World Series was played at the Senators home park, Griffith Stadium, in front of 35,000 fans. Johnson took the mound that Saturday against the Giants. We were down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth when we tied it up. Johnson pitched all the way into the 12th inning (damn!) when the Giants scored two more to make it 4-2. The Senators managed to score one more run, but left the tying run on third, ending the game at 4-3 in the 12th inning. Johnson went the distance for the loss.
Hard-luck Walter also lost the fifth game 6-2. Finally, in the seventh and last game, he came into the game in the top of 8th inning with the Senators down 3-1 about to lose the World Series to the Giants. Johnson shut them down in the 8th and we tied it up at three in the bottom of the 8th. Johnson went the rest of the way, another four innings, until the Senators score the winning and deciding run in the bottom of the 12th inning. Washington Senators … World Series winners for 1924.
Check out this scanning World Series program from 1924. I found it on the local blog, The Hill is Home.
- Nick Altrock: A Columbia Heights Major Leaguer (ghostsofdc.org)
- Babe Ruth Enlists in the National Guard (ghostsofdc.org)