Eliciting high praise from none other than Ty Cobb, Hall of Fame fireballer Walter Johnson was deemed “the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park” by the fiery Georgian. The soft-spoken Johnson wielded political clout, as well, befriending President Calvin Coolidge and serving as the Montgomery County, Maryland Commissioner following his illustrious baseball career. With aspirations for a seat in the United States Congress, Johnson was the endorser of this 1940 campaign dance program. Measuring 5-5/8 x 8-1/2”, the two-page program portrays Johnson in business attire on the front cover. Along the lower border, Johnson (d.1946) has signed in black-ink fountain pen (“9” strength). An unusual artifact and a must for Hall of Fame and Senators collectors! Full photo LOA from JSA.
The piece remains crisp and presents nicely. It was issued at a dance at the Kenwood Golf and Country Club on June 22, 1940. The interior lists the officers and patrons of the campaign. For the sake of accuracy, we note that there is a horizontal fold and corner pinholes (likely to facilitate previous display), but none of these affect Johnson’s bold scripting.
As for the November 6, 1940 election, Johnson narrowly lost to incumbent William D. Byron. Less than four months later, Byron was killed in a plane crash on February 27, 1941. Aboard that flight and surviving the crash was flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker.