By Glen Sparks
What Madison Bumgarner did for the Giants in the recent World Series happens every 90 years or so. An article in The Hardball Times compares Bumgarner’s five-inning save in Game 7 against the Royals to the Senators’ Walter Johnson’s four-inning save in 1924 against, yes, the Giants. The New York Giants.
Actually, as the article points out, Bumgarner outdid the Big Train in his Game 7 heroics. Besides throwing one more inning, Bum gave up one less hit. But, Johnson’s effort may have been more surprising. Bumgarner, after all, had been lights outs through the entire postseason. He beat Kansas City in his two starts in the Series, giving up just one run.
Johnson was tagged for 10 runs in his two starts. A New York Times reporter wrote this about the veteran Johnson, age 36, following his loss in Game 5: “It was a tragic affair and Johnson the most tragic figure that ever stalked through a world’s (sic) series.” (In truth, the reporter was being a bit harsh and melodramatic. Johnson enjoyed a big year for Washington in 1924, leading the American League in several categories.)
Hardball Times writer Fred Frommer does a good job at recapping Johnson’s game-saving effort, much of which happened in extra innings. Washington rallied in the 12th inning for its only championship. Oh, and you know how Bumgarner came into Game 7 on two days’ rest? Johnson entered his Game 7 with just a one-day break.