We found this great composite of photos summarizing the opening game for the Washington Senators against the New York Yankees at Griffith Stadium, on April 22, 1925 – 89 years ago last week!
This was the first home game following the team’s World Series championship the year before over the New York Giants. The 1925 season turned out to be pretty special, too, winning the American League pennant, and eventually losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games.
In the composite (make sure to click the image to see a larger version) there are several different pictures. At the top left you can see Senator’s manager Bucky Harris shaking hands with Yankees’ manager Miller Huggins.
Just to the right you can see President Coolidge throwing out the first pitch, standing next to the first lady, and the Secretary of the Treasury Mellon and Secretary of State Kellogg.
In the lower left, you can see players watching batting practice, and just to the right of that picture, Secretary of State Kellogg raises the American flag.
The game was a good one for the Senators. After losing his first game of the season to the Athletics, Walter Johnson (read about the day Johnson got married in Columbia Heights) pitched the home opener and won, beating Urban Shocker. Johnson threw a complete game, giving up just one unearned run. Johnson, who might have been the greatest pitcher to ever play, was 37 during the 1925 season, and still won 20 games – the last time he would reach that mark in his career. He went on to win 417 games in his career – still second all time to only Cy Young.
The Senators won the game 10-1. Every Senators player who played, including Johnson, got a hit – 14 in all for the team. Goose Goslin was one of the many to play well, going 2-4 with a double and a triple, and two RBIs. On the other side, Lou Gehrig (read about Lou partying in D.C. for New Year’s) went 1-3 for the Yankees. Babe Ruth did not play, and the 1925 season was a bad one for him. Appearing in just 98 games, he hit .290 with 25 home runs — that was a down year for him. He suffered from injuries, and he was out of shape. Not much is public about what was going on with Ruth that season, many of the sports writers kept stories like that under wraps at that time – much different from today. You can read a little more about Ruth’s ailments here. By the way, can you imagine going to a game where the president throws out the first pitch, and you get to see Walter Johnson face Lou Gehrig?
The last interesting point about this is in 1924, the Yankees very nearly stole the American League pennant away from the Senators, but fell short, finishing two games behind at season’s end. The Yankees’ home opener, which was also opening day, in 1925 was against the Senators. They won that game, but then lost the next three. In the series at Griffith Stadium, the Senators won three of four again. The Senators ended up beating the Yankees 15 of 22 times that season.