Description

    1924 World Series Game Seven Full Ticket from Walter Johnson's Personal Scrapbook, PSA Authentic. "It was something beyond all belief, beyond all imagining. Its crashing echoes are still singing out across the stands, across the city, on into the gathering twilight of early autumn shadows. There never was a ball game like this before, never a game with as many thrills and heart throbs strung together in the making of a drama that came near to tearing away the soul to leave it limp and sagging, drawn and twisted out of shape."

    Grantland Rice, The New York Herald Tribune, October 11, 1924

    What was the greatest single game in baseball history? That question has been the subject of much debate over the years, and always included in the discussion is the classic to which this ticket would have provided some lucky fan entrance--the seventh and final game of the 1924 World Series between the Washington Senators and New York Giants, favored by the late sports historian Bert Randolph Sugar, among others, as the greatest ever. Sugar called it "The Walter Johnson Game."

    The drama that culminated on this day, October 10, 1924, had begun the previous spring with the announcement by Walter Johnson that this would be his last season after eighteen years in the big leagues. Having barely finished in the first division in 1923, his team, the long-suffering Washington Senators, showed little prospect for improvement and Johnson decided it was time to move on to more promising opportunities. The announcement touched off a torrent of sympathy around the country that the great and beloved pitcher would see his career end without ever getting a chance at glory in the biggest arena of his sport, the World Series.

    But against all odds, and driven by Johnson's MVP season of twenty-three wins and seven losses, the Senators managed to edge out Ruth's Yankees and Cobb's Tigers to capture the American League pennant. Walter Johnson would cap his career with a World Series after all, this time a cause for nationwide celebration. Will Rogers devoted an entire column to the sentiment, entitled "Everybody's Pulling For Walter." Now, though, the Senators would be up against an even more powerful foe, the New York Giants and their legendary manager, John McGraw. With eight future Hall of Famers on the roster, this was the greatest McGraw team of them all, winners of the last four National League pennants.

    For Walter Johnson and his many fans, the celebration turned to tragedy when he lost his first two games in the series, the last a six to three shellacking in the pivotal fifth game at the Polo Grounds. With a game played every day in this Series, Johnson was finished and so too, it seemed, were the Senators. But as they had done all year, the spirited team captained by the "Boy Wonder" manager Bucky Harris fought back to take Game Six and set up a final contest the next day in Washington. With President Coolidge and other capital luminaries in attendance on a beautiful Indian Summer afternoon, the deciding game moved into the top of the ninth inning tied at three. His pitching staff completely drained after seven games in as many days, Harris called for the man who had brought them there, Walter Johnson. Handing him the ball, Harris told him, "You're the best we've got, Walter. We've got to win or lose with you."

    For four nerve-racking innings Johnson, with runners on base in every one, held the slugging Giants at bay, somehow bringing back the blazing speed of his youth when he needed it the most. George "Highpockets" Kelly, the Major League leader with 138 RBI's that year, was sent down swinging in the ninth inning with runners on second and third base, then again in the eleventh with men on first and second. Finally, in the bottom of the twelfth, Washington rookie Earl McNeely hit a hard ground ball toward Giants third baseman Freddie Lindstrom. The ball took a bizarre hop over Lindstrom's head, and catcher Muddy Ruel chugged home with the winning run. This famous "Pebble Hit" had won the World Series for Washington and Walter Johnson.

    What could be more representative of this dramatic victory than Walter Johnson's own ticket to what he called "my greatest day in baseball?" Attributed to Johnson's wife Hazel, this is likely the ticket she carried into the ballpark that day, where she was surely just waved in when seen on the arm of the city's greatest sports hero. But regardless of what route this beauty took to eventually find its place in the scrapbooks Mrs. Johnson maintained so meticulously for her husband, its unique quality in regard to the highlight of his career is unquestionable. Even in the absence of its remarkable heritage, it is possibly the only full and unused example of this ticket that survives. Encapsulated by PSA, Authentic. Letter of provenance from Walter Johnson's daughter & grandson.


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