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Bringing Back the Senators

Big Train's No-No Keeps Nats in First

Monday, August 25, 1924: Nationals 2, Browns 0

Compiled by J.J. McCoy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 25, 2004;


Game 124: at Washington

In a rain-shortened game today, the Big Train keeps rolling, Walter Johnson pitching a no-hitter and striking out two throughout seven innings in the abbreviated opener of what had been intended a doubleheader. Local appreciation for the effort extends beyond Griffith Stadium as Johnson gets his own curtain call of sorts later tonight while attending a vaudeville show:

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"After much costly experimenting," the Post's Frank H. Young explains, "it took Stanley [Bucky] Harris, the boy manager of the Nationals, to finally discover the antidote to counteract the poisonous effect St. Louis teams have had on Washington entries almost ever since the Capital has been represented in the Ban Johnson circuit. The answer is a very simple one -- send in a pitcher who will not allow his opponents a hit. With Walter Johnson (W, 17-6) the pitcher in question, this scheme worked out fine [today] but whether Harris can find in his ranks some more 'unhittable' box artists is something else again.

"It is questionable if the Old Master ever had more stuff than he showed in turning in his 107th shutout of his career by beating the [George] Sislerites, 2-0, at the Georgia Avenue stadium [this] afternoon in the seven-inning first game of the scheduled doubleheader. So effective was Barney that none of the visitors even came close to getting bingles, the disappointing feature, however, being the fact that rain came up before the full game was played and robbed him of the chance of hurling the second no-hit, no-run game of his long service in the majors, his only other performance of this kind dating back to July 1, 1920, when he did the stunt in Boston at the expense of the Red Sox.

"Whether Walter would have pulled through rounds eight and nine without having his slants tickled for hits by the alien batters is one of those questions which cannot be answered, like 'How long is a piece of string?' With the Big Train taking advantage of the dark overhanging clouds and depending largely upon his terrific speed, his chances would undoubtedly have been very good, as he has the Brownies in a 'you can't hit what you can't see' situation, but fickle 'Dame Fortune' would also have had to be reckoned with and one of the aliens might have been fortunate enough to have dropped one in safe territory.

"As the Yankees also won, this victory does not let the Nationals advance any in the race; in fact, they lose 1/10,000th of a point, but have a fine chance of again resuming the lead by dong well in [tomorrow's] twin bill. If the Huggmen should happen to lose [tomorrow] afternoon, all the natives would have to do would be to break even, while a double win would shove them to the front anyway. The victory helped them considerably in another way, however, as they increased their margin over the Tigers to 3-1/2 games, thanks to the licking handed the Bengals by the Red Sox.

"Not only did Johnson keep the other fellows from doing anything with their sticks, but it was a swat with his own which was turned into the first native run. He opened round three for his team with a single past [3B Gene] Robertson, took second on a short passed ball, went to third on [Sam] Rice's (1-4; .321) one-baser to deep short, and was propelled over when both [Goose] Goslin (1-3 with a triple; .327) and [Joe] Judge (2-3 with two doubles; .320) were walked. [Dixie] Davis (L; season 11-13, 4.10 ERA) seemed determined to give Joe a pass, and threw six balls before the local first-sacker caught the idea and kept his bat out of the way. With the count 3 and 2, twice Dixie's offerings were right at Joe, and on each occasion the ball hit his stick while he was attempting to get out of the way. Harris had just about decided to take the willow away from him entirely when Davis hurled one so wide that Joe did not have a chance to tip it. . . . [In the seventh, Earl] McNeely (1-3 with the run scored; .375) opened the spasm with a single to left and was sacrificed along by Harris. When Rice's best was a looper to [LF Ken] Williams, it looked as though Davis would again pull through unscathed, but Goslin, who had not hit safely [in four days], evidently figured he was overdue and tripled down the rightfield foul line."

In a boxed sidecar alongside the game summary, the headline "CHEERS FOR JOHNSON HALT KEITH'S BILL" details how "after amusing himself all afternoon at Griffith Stadium watching George Sisler's Brownies trying vainly to hit his fast one, Walter Johnson dropped in at Keith's [tonight] to get some more laughs before going to bed. A fan spied the Old Master, the word was passed along and the cheering started. It only subsided when Walter arose in his seat in acknowledgement. It broke out anew later in the evening when Julia Sanderson, this week's headliner, whirled onto the stage and after a dainty wind-up hurled a bouquet straight into the big pitcher's lap with the same accuracy he serves 'em up to Muddy Ruel.

"Though cheering crowds are nothing new in Walter's life, he was plainly flustered by the tribute. His face turned the color of [Boston manager] Lee Fohl's sox, but he was equal to the occasion, gracefully thanking Julia for her tribute and praising her control."

In other headlines:


"The American army aviators reeled off another lap on their round-the-world flight yesterday and are now at Ivigtut, Greenland. Skirting the coast, the covered the 126 miles from Frederiksdal, where they found a haven after their hazardous journey from Iceland in a little more than two hours." Today marks the 140th day since the around-the-world journey by the Douglas World Cruisers' departed Seattle.


Edward, Prince of Wales, creates a stir on the ocean while on a cruise on the Steamship Berengaria: "The disciples of dame convention aboard the Berengaria have not recovered from the flagrant violation of her precepts by the Prince of Wales' party last night in appearing in the dining salon for dinner dressed in street dress."


In Berlin, "Prof. Kasimir Romuald Graff, of the Hamburg Astronomical Observatory, has announced that he observed the various canals of Mars discovered by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiparelli, and also land areas which he regards as proving the existence of continents on Mars."


"The plumber derives his name from the old Latin word 'plumbum,' or 'plumbarius,' meaning lead. His actual title in ancient days was 'artifex plumbarius,' meaning a worker in lead. . . . The plumber has done wonders in preventing the start of disease."


"Fruit is ideal hot-weather diet, a return to first principles, getting back to the days when nature kept primitive man in trim by her fruits. Fruit, ripe luscious and fragrant, tempts the jaded hot-weather appetite when other food has lost its savor. Primitive man ate fruit because it was the easiest food obtainable and he thrived and survived on the diet. Medical authority declares that modern man should eat fruit for the good of his health, to supplement his sophisticated diet of cooked foods."

This Day in Washington Baseball History:

1902: Ban Johnson announces the American League's intention to move the Baltimore Orioles to New York, with future Senators owner Clark Griffith as manager of the Highlanders, which in 1913 adopts the nickname Yankees.

1906: Washington sweeps a doubleheader versus the White Sox, ending Chicago's 19-game winning streak at 19 consecutive games, bumping the Sox fourth place to first en route.

1913: Ty Cobb' fifth-inning steal of home helps the Tigers edge the Senators, 6-5.

1934: Detroit's phenom pitcher Schoolboy Rowe beats the Senators, 4-2, for his 16th-straight decision, tying the AL record held by Walter Johnson, Joe Wood and Lefty Grove.

1961: Detroit's Jim Bunning (15-9) surrenders but two hits while shutting out the Senators, 6-0, in a rain-shortened game called after the eighth.

1965: Boston's Earl Wilson hangs a K on 13 Senators batters as the Red Sox win, 8-3.

Number of days since the Washington Senators last played: 12,016

Estimated attendance at the Montreal/San Juan/Monterrey Expos' last home game: 13,528 (August 15, 2004)

Compiled from various sources, including The Washington Post, "The Baseball Timeline" and BaseballLibrary.com.


© 2004 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive