WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 22: Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during a game at Nationals Park on September 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
The Washington Senators were one of eight charter clubs to play in the first season of the American League as a "major" baseball league in 1901. It was ten seasons into the so-called modern era of the game (1901-present) before the original Senators had a 20-game winner. 27-year-old lefty Casey Patten came close in 1901, winning 18 games on a Senators team that finished sixth in the eight-team league. A then-29-year-old Al Orth, (aka Smiling Al or the Curveless Wonder), a Sedalia, Missouri-born right-hander who'd won 20 games for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901, won 19 games (and hit 18 HRs) for the Senators in 1902. 26-year-old righty "Long Tom" Hughes won 17 and lost 20 for the 1905 Senators. Five years after Casey Patten had won 18 as a rookie in '01, the then-32-year-old veteran posted a 19-16 mark for the 55-95 1906 Senators.
"Long Tom" Hughes came close again in 1908, winning 18 of 31 starts, but it wasn't until the 1910 season that the Senators had their first 20-game winner. Walter "The Big Train" Johnson, in his fourth major league season at age 22, was the first D.C.-based pitcher to win 20 games in a season in 1910 when he went 25-17 with a 1.36 ERA, 76 walks (1.84 BB/9) and 313 Ks (7.61 K/9) in 45 games, 42 starts and 370.0 IP for the 66-85 Senators who finished seventh. The Big Train would go on to win 20+ games in each of the next nine seasons as well -- including a career-high 36-win 1913 season -- then come back to win 23 and 20, respectively, in the 1924 and '25 campaigns as he led the Senators to their first and only World Series victory in '24 and the second of three Series appearances in D.C. baseball history in '25, when the Sens lost the Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates.