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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VINTAGE CHICAGO, c. 1950s

Ballpark Figure: 1924

Ballpark Figure: 1924

November 12, 1924. "Statues of Walter Johnson at Dunbar studio." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

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Wonderful Casts

These are probably plaster casts of sculptures that Dunbar executed for various clients or perhaps as studies for bronzes. There's a Thomas Edison (well, looks like him) on the far left of the shelf, then farther to the right a couple of Indians, and then a formal portrait that must date from a few decades earlier, judging from the dress and facial hair of the subject.

Dunbar did excellent marble busts, notably one of Martin Van Buren, as well as larger bronzes.

U.S.J. Dunbar

Ulric Stonewall Jackson Dunbar was the owner of the studio, and the sculptor behind all these statues of Walter Johnson. To judge from his press coverage, he seems to have been in much demand at the time, with some of his statues placed in the U.S. Capitol. His studio was at 1517 H Street NW.

Shades of Xian

An army of pitchers waiting for the command to play ball.

Collectibility

I was wondering how many of these statues exist today. A quick search on ebay yielded only a photo of Dunbar presenting one of the statues to President Coolidge in 1924 and a photo of Walter Johnson posing for the artist.

Swish!

J is for Johnson
The Big Train in his prime
Was so fast he could throw
Three strikes at a time.

-- Ogden Nash

My dad saw Johnson pitch and always spoke with awe of his fastball.

Better than bobbleheads!

Would love to add one of these Big Train statues to my baseball memorabilia collection. eBay maybe?

Priceless

Man, what I'd give to have a Walter Johnson statue today. Or was it Samuel Johnson? Or Walter Pidgeon? It was one of them.

Batter up!

All aboard! The Big Train is rolling on ...

Proximity

As I type this at work, there is a High School a half mile away named after this man. Bethesda, Maryland.

Imagine that

Top row, 2nd full bust from the left looks startlingly like John Waters.

Amazing work.

Plurality of Opinion

This is great for those sportscasters who insist on making people plural -- "back in the days of the Walter Johnsons, and the Christy Mathewsons ... "

There they are, the Walter Johnsons!

Original HOFer

Walter Johnson compiled a record of 417-279. This looks like a statue for each of his 110 shutouts.

Now and then

Pre-bobblehead

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