Walter Johnson

Birthdate 11/6/1887
Death Date 12/10/1946
Debut Year 1907
Year of Induction 1936
Teams Senators
Position Pitcher

Walter Johnson was the only member of the 3,000 strikeout club for more than 50 years; he’s still first in career shutouts & second in wins.

In the collection:

Walter Johnson handwritten letter to HoFer Ford Frick thanking him for the lifetime pass

Walter Johnson handwritten letter to HoFer Ford Frick thanking him for the lifetime pass

Walter Johnson expressed his gratitude to NL President Ford Frick after receiving a solid gold Lifetime Pass for admission into all National and American League games. Johnson was one of 17 players to receive a golden pass. Johnson’s 21 years with the Senators put him on the short list of play

A Story about Walter Johnson

Lifetime passes were the brainchild of NL President Ford Frick; here’s a pictorial history

June 18th, 2016

Lifetime pass

A newspaper man turned league publicist turned league president came up with a brilliant idea in 1934 — reward longtime National League players with a lifetime pass to all NL games. Senior Circuit owners approved Ford Frick’s proposal at the league meeting in December of ’34. A few months later, Frick sent out ornately decorated paper Lifetime Passes to the NL’s greatest players. He even sent one to Babe Ruth who appeared in all of 28 games for the Boston Braves in 1935. A 21-year veteran of the American League, the Babe was grateful if not surprised when he remarked, “At least the National League has a heart”. An image of the original paper pass presented to Hall of Fame outfielder Sliding Billy Hamilton can be seen below. A similar pass curiously issued to Stan Coveleski, a lifetime American Leaguer is also shown. Perhaps shamed by Ruth’s remarks, the American League joined forces in 1936 to issue a pass to all Major League contests. Players with twenty or more years of service received a solid gold pass. Seventeen men qualified for the true “golden ticket” —¬†Ruth, Fred Clarke, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Bill Dahlen, Harry Davis, Red Faber, Walter Johnson, […]

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"Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball…"

~Jacques Barzun, 1954