Over the past few decades, we've handled countless collectibles from the Big Train—but perhaps never one quite so special as this. Proudly presented here is a Type I example of the single-most iconic Walter Johnson photo, signed by Johnson himself on the very finest day, the absolute zenith, of his entire illustrious career.
But please, don't take our word for it. Just look to the accompanying 2018 LOA from James Spence Authentication, which reads, "The significance of this date cannot be overstated. In what has been considered by many the most exciting and dramatic end to any world series, Walter Johnson entered the seventh game of the 1924 World Series as a ninth inning relief pitcher. In front of over 30,000 Washington hopefuls and President Calvin Coolidge, the Nationals won this dramatic game in the twelfth inning with Walter Johnson as the winning pitcher. This photograph, having been signed and dated on this date, may be the most significant autographed photograph of Walter Johnson and more importantly, the history of this storied franchise."
Walter was of course already 36 years old when he made his World Series debut in such heroic fashion. Now, nearly a century later, you can actually watch the Big Train in action on the mound that day, thanks to the Library of Congress's recent discovery of original film footage (linked on our website). This very image of the legendary hurler—warming up in his home pinstripes—is in all likelihood the most famous shot ever taken of him, as it has been used for the 1920s Johnson-endorsed board game and the 1995 cover of his definitive biography (authored by Johnson's grandson Hank Thomas), as well as for commemorative cards.
The all-important, black-ink, "7"-strength inscription reads, "To my friend / M.D. Sweeney / Best Wishes / Walter Johnson / Oct. 10, 1924." An elegant raised copyright imprint appears in the lower-right corner for noted distribution service National Photo of Washington, D.C. Condition is EX to EX-MT overall with superb clarity, contrast and focus. Full LOA from JSA. Additional provenance comes in the form of a 1970 official document pertaining to a relative of the autograph recipient by the name of Leland Sweeney.