On This Day In 1923. . .

Some like the diamonds that shimmer; I prefer those that are green. Even if you favor the brilliance of the gem over the beauty of the ball field, there is a lesson to be learned about faithfulness from Walter "Big Train" Johnson, a diamond on the diamond. On July 22, 1923, pitching legend Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators fanned Stan Coveleski to become the first pitcher in Major League Baseball history to strike out 3,000 batters. The record would stand for 52 years! [1]

Baseball has a storied history, yet only sixteen players are members of that 3,000 Strikeout Club. So what does it take to get 3000 strikeouts? For The Big Train it took:

  • 16 Years
  • 664 Games
  • 4,909.9 Innings pitched
  • 19,167 Batters faced

To put it another way, it took faithfulness -- loyalty to his craft and to his team.

The Big Train got me thinking about faithfulness, something that can't be microwaved in this instant society.

  • How does one get a 20-year friend? By faithfulness over 20 years.
  • How does one celebrate a golden wedding anniversary? By faithfulness over 50 years.
  • How does one master an instrument, build a business, raise great kids, or look back with few regrets? By faithfulness, a fruit that comes from the Spirit of God. [2]

Johnson made his Major League debut on August 2, 1907. He was just a 19-year-old Kansas farm boy facing Ty Cobb and the sensational Detroit Tigers. I doubt he had 3,000 strikeouts on his mind. For that matter, he only fanned 71 for his rookie season. But 71 strikeouts were followed by 160 in 1908, and then 164 in 1909, and then 313 in 1910. . . . And then came July 22, 1923. Faithfulness yielded its reward as a Walter Johnson fastball flew by the bat of Stan Coveleski and into the record books.

Faithfulness pays dividends that sparkle like a diamond on any field!

A faithful man will abound with blessings. Proverbs 28:20 ESV


[1] This Day in Baseball History, July 22, 1923. http://www.nationalpastime.com [2] Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness"