16. Walter Johnson

Walter “The Big Train” Johnson, one of the first five players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, was one of many players who participated in more than baseball in Hot Springs. Johnson received his “Big Train” nickname from another Hall of Fame honoree, the great sportswriter Grantland Rice, who also attended spring training in Hot Springs. Rice gave Johnson the nickname because of his size and the velocity of his pitches.

Walter Johnson as a pitcher for the Washington Senators came to Hot Springs not only as player but as a manager for that team and as the manager of the Cleveland Indians. Johnson was known as one of the friendliest men in baseball and as a true gentleman’s gentleman.

The players came to Hot Springs to “boil out” in the hot baths and to get ready for the up coming baseball season but they also became involved in the local community. Johnson and his good friend Babe Ruth were two players that did get involved in the local community. One of those times was in 1925 at this site when they both took time out of their Spring Training schedule to visit Hot Springs High School.