Over the last few years since my grandmother passed away, my parents have been slowly going through her belongings, items and boxes that scattered across a large basement at her house in Laurel, Md. Among the discoveries they have made is the fact my great grandfather - on my Dad's side - was the batboy for the Washington Senators sometime in the early 20th century. We don't know the exact years, but he was around evidently when Walter Johnson was active as a player.
In searching through the boxes, my parents made quite the find: a pamphlet autographed by 'The Big Train' himself, signed at his 50th Birthday Testimonial Dinner at the Mayflower Hotel. The event was held on Nov. 6, 1937, just two years after he retired as manager of the Cleveland Indians.
Inside the program is plenty of interesting stuff, especially considering the time period. For example, the advertisements themselves are rather unique. It doesn't seem like many of the companies are still in business and their slogans are appropriate only for back then. My favorite would have to be Burnstine's pawn shop that says: 'You can hock anything here but your wife.' A car ad bragging their vehicle can hit 35 miles per hour is also pretty funny.
There is also a story called 'Life is Just a Game of Innings' that recalls Johnson's career in nine installments, adapted to reflect the game of baseball. It also serves as the night's dinner menu, I believe, as abstract as that sounds. I have pictures of each page below for you all to see.
Here is the front cover, the 'official score card' commemorating Johnson's major league debut on Aug. 2, 1907:
Here are the middle two pages, with the beginning of the story of Johnson's career:
Here is the back of the program, with the end of the story and a send off note to Johnson that reads: "Walter, you are just the same to your friends in the cabbage patch as you were in the days of uniform."
I have below a zoomed in look at the nine-inning story of Walter Johnson's "'first' fifty years in the game of life," in case you would like to read it.