Washington, April 15. (AP)—Walter Johnson, the greatest pitcher ever to wear a Washington uniform, squirms in a little tin house atop the grandstand and looks down on the scene of his baseball triumphs.
He grabs a microphone with his huge right hand—the hand that pitched 113 shutouts and 416 victories—and speaks shyly into it.
"Ortiz," he says, "now pitching for Washington."
All over the field there is a conversational buzz. That's Walter Johnson's voice, the fans tell one another.
Announcer at Park
Nowadays Johnson is the ball park announcer as well as the radio announcer for the Senators' home games. 'Tis a strange role for the old pitcher, but it pays him well.
"These fellows," he says, "have such funny names. I don't think we had so many of them when I was playing ball. That's my worst problem so far."
Walter does have a tough assignment. Names like Monteagudo, Ortiz, Krakauskas, Estalella, Welaj, and Giulani.
"Oh, well," he sighs. "I guess I'll get used to 'em."
Johnson went south with the Senators this spring. In every town the team played, did the fans yell for the rookies who had been taIked up as sensations? No, they wanted to see Walter Johnson.
Johnson, and a Game
One town advertised the game this way:
"Walter Johnson will be present at today's game between—"
The autograph hunters looked for one player—Johnson.
It's the same at Grifflth stadium here.
Johnson strolls across the field to get some pre-game notes from the managers. All eyes follow him. Rookies on the visiting team look at him in awe.
Years after he stopped pitching Johnson still dominates the scene. But he looks mighty lonesome up in that little tin house.