100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Great Pitching Duel In Massachusetts

Walter Johnson
Washington Senators
1912 baseball card
American Tobacco Company

Walter Johnson was born in Humboldt, Kansas in 1887. His family moved to Orange County, California in 1902 and settled in a small oil boomtown Olinda. Johnson attended Fullerton Union High School where he struck out 27 batters during a 15-inning game. While playing minor league in Idaho Johnson was spotted by a talent scout and signed a contract with the Washington Senators in July 1907 at the age of 19. He immediately was recognized as a great pitcher pitched with a sidearm motion where power pitchers are normally known for pitching with a straight-overhand delivery. Johnson’s motion was especially difficult for right-handed batters to follow.

“Smokey” Joe Wood
Boston Red Sox
1912 baseball card
Underwood & Underwood

In the US there were many All-Girl teams that barnstormed across the country that played in exhibition games against teams of men. One was the Bloomer Girls from Ouray, Colorado. They had one male player “Smoky Joe” Wood. Wood joined the Red Sox in 1908 at the age of 18. In 1911 he won 23 games, compiled an earned run average of 2.02, threw a no-hitter against the St. Louis Browns and struck out 15 batters in a single game. He earned the nickname “Smoky Joe” because of his blazing fastball. Wood once said, “I threw so hard I thought my arm would fly right off my body.”

On September 6, 1912 one of the greatest pitching match-ups in baseball history took place when the Washington Senators played the Boston Red Sox in Boston. Wood has already won 29 games this season and is on his 14th consecutive win. The Red Sox scored their only run on back-to-back doubles (Tris Speaker and Duffy Lewis). Wood’s 9th inning strikeout ended the shutout game with a wild Fenway Park celebration.

Walter Johnson is quoted as saying : “Can I throw harder than Joe Wood? Listen, my friend, there’s no man alive can throw harder than Smoky Joe Wood!”

Johnson congratulates Wood
September 6, 1912

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