In 1-0 games, Walter Johnson won 38, lost 26

In his Hall-of-Fame career, Walter Johnson pitched in 64 games that ended 1-0. He won 38 of them. Johnson came in as a reliever in two of the 1-0 games (he lost both) and he didn’t complete three others. In no fewer than 10 of his 26 losses, the lone run he yielded was unearned under today’s scoring rules.

No one in MLB history has pitched in as many 1-0 games. Johnson’s lone nine-inning no-hitter – July 1, 1920, against the Red Sox — would have been a perfect game, except for a seventh-inning error by second baseman Bucky Harris on a routine grounder. And of course, the score was 1-0. This came in Johnson’s worst mid-career season. He was 8-10 and threw just 143 innings because of various ailments and injuries. (Johnson also threw a seven-inning no-hitter on Aug. 25, 1924, against the St. Louis Browns. The game was called because of rain after the bottom of the 7th. Washington won, 2-0.)

His 110 shutouts also are the most ever, 20 more than his nearest competitor (Grover Cleveland Alexander). The Senators were shut out in 65 games that Johnson lost, another record. Eleven of his 26 losses in 1-0 games were on the road, so he pitched just eight innings (the home team had the lead and didn’t bat in the bottom of the ninth.)

Nine times, Johnson won 1-0 games that went into extra innings. His

61 Johnson Topps 409
At least Johnson got more run support in the three famous 1908 shutouts.

longest was his 18-inning win over the White Sox on May 15, 1918. He gave up 10 hits, struck out nine and walked one batter. Three of his other 1-0 wins went 15 innings. He won in 13 innings, 12 innings and three times in 11 innings.

On May 11, 1919, Johnson pitched one of his best games, a 12-inning, two-hit shutout of the Yankees. Although this counts as one of his 110 shutouts, he did not win it. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. Between a first inning single and a two-out walk in the 10th, Johnson retired 28 batters in a row.

The Big Train lost twice in 1916 to Babe Ruth in 1-0 games, one of them a 13-inning battle. That game was one of five Johnson started and lost in extra innings. Ruth also beat Johnson 1-0 in 1917. Hall-of-Famer Ed Walsh beat Johnson 1-0 in 1908, 1909 and 1910.

The game Johnson himself considered his masterpiece, according to his grandson and biographer Henry W. Thomas, came on opening day at Griffith Stadium on April 13, 1926. The Big Train shut out the powerful A’s for 15 innings and, of course, won, 1-0.

SABR member Al Kermisch created this list of Johnson’s 1-0 games for the first Baseball Research Journal in 1972:

1-0 games won (38)

Date     Opponent  pitcher IP H SO BB
Sept. 7 1907 Boston Cy Morgan 9 7 7 1
Aug. 14 1908 Chicago Doc White 9 2 10 4
Oct. 7 1908 New York Jack Warhop 11 5 8 0
June 11 1909 Detroit Ed Killian 7 4 7 1
Aug. 4 1909 C1eve. Addie Jose 9 4 8 2
Aug. 17 1909 Phila. Chief Bender 12 4 5 6
May 14 1910 Cleve. Addie Jose 9 5 8 0
Aug. 4 1911 Chicago Doc White 11 5 4 2
Apr. 15 1912 New York Jack Quinn 9 4 6 4
May 10 1913 Chicago Joe Benz 9 2 4 1
Frank Lange
June 6 1913 St. L. Walt

Leverenz

9 5 8 1
Earl Hamilton
July 3 1913 Boston Ray Collins 15 15 5 1
Sept. 5 1913 New York Russ Ford 9 3 8 1
Sept. 29 1913 Phila. John Wyckoff 9 5 9 1
May 29 1914 Boston Rankin Johnson 9 2 3 2
Fritz Coumbe
July 6 1914 Boston Rankin Johnson 9 5 6 1
Guy Cooper
Sept. 18 1914 St L. Harry Hoch 9 5 7 1
Apr. 28 1915 Phila. John Wyckoff 9 7 4 1
Sept. 8 1915 New York Bob Shawkey 9 6 10 2
June 7 1917 Chicago Reb Russell 9 3 6 1
Aug. 6 1917 St L. Eddie Plank 11 5 3 1
May 11 1918 Cleve. Jim Bagby, Sr. 9 5 5 4
May 15 1918 Chicago Claude Williams 18 10 9 1
July 25 1918 St L. Allen Sothoron 15 4 3 2
Aug. 10 1918 Phila. John Watson 9 7 10 0
Apr. 23 1919 Phila. Scott Perry 13 9 6 3
June 13 1919 Cleve. Guy Morton 9 4 2 3
June 29 1919 Phila. Rollie Naylor 9 6 4 1
July 3 1919 New York Ernie Shore 9 7 4 2
Pete Schneider
July 24 1919 Phila. Walt Kinney 9 6 8 1
July 1 1920 Boston Harry Harper 9 0 10 0
Sept. 14 1921 St L. Frank Davis 9 3 5 0
June 18 1922 Chicago Urban Faber 9 4 1 4
June 28 1922 New York Waite Hoyt 9 7 9 0
Aug. 24 1922 Chicago Ted Blanken- ship 9 5 5 0
July 30 1923 Detriot George Dauss 9 6 6 3
Sept. 26 1923 Chicago Hollis Thurston 9 6 5 0
Apr. 13 1926 Phila Eddie Rommel 15 6 9 3

 

1-0 games lost (26)

Date   Opponent Pitcher IP H SO BB
Aug. 14 1907 St L. Barney Pelty 8 6 5 4
Aug. 24 1908 Det. Bill Donovan 9 10 6 3
Sept. 18 1908 Chi. Ed Walsh 8 3 5 1
May 7 1909 Phil. Jack Coombs 8 5 9 2
May 10 1909 Chi. Doc White 10 7 5 2
July 31 1909 Chi. Bill Burns 9 3 5 1
Aug. 29 1909 Chi. Ed Walsh 5* 5 1 1
July 17 1910 Det. Ed Willett 8 4 7 0
Aug. 23 1910 Chi. Ed Walsh 9 9 12 1
Sept. 6 1912 Bost. Joe Wood 8 6 5 1
May 30 1913 Bost. Ray Collins 9 8 9 0
Aug. 28 1913 Bost. Ray Collins 11 3 10 0
June 1 1914 Bost. Rankin Johnson 8 5 8 2
May 9 1915 Det. Jean Dubuc 8 6 6 5
June 1 1916 Bost. Babe Ruth 8 4 6 2
July 3 1916 N.Y. Ray Caldwell 11 5 4 3
Aug. 15 1916 Bost. Babe Ruth 13 7 5 5
Sept. 17 1916 StL. George Sisler 8 4 8 2
May 7 1917 Bost. Babe Ruth 9  4 7 1
May 4 1918 Phil. Scott Perry 6** 5 0 1
June 2 1918 Clev. Jim Bagby, Sr. 11 8 2 2
July 29 1918 Chi. Joe Benz 2** 3 1 0
June 25 1919 Bost. Sam Jones 8 9 2 2
July 21 1922 Clev. Guy Morton 8*** 5 2 2
Sept. 2 1922 Bost. Bill Piercy 9 5 2 2
June 7 1926 Det. Ed Wella 8 4 4 3

 

* Left game because of arm trouble; replaced by Charlie Smith.

** Lost in relief in both games (11 and 13 innings); Harry Harper started both games.

*** Left for pinch hitter in 8th; Ray Francis pitched ninth inning in relief.

 

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