Christy Mathewson

Position: Pitcher
New York Giants, 1900-1916; Cincinnati Reds, 1916
Manager: Cincinnati Reds, 1916-1918
Managerial record: 164-176

Christy Mathewson left Bucknell University in 1899 to sign his first baseball contract. Seventeen years later, he retired with 373 victories and an almost universal recognition as the greatest pitcher in National League history to that time.

Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson
Christy Mathewson threw three
shutouts in a single World Series,
leading the Giants to victory in 1905.

Christopher Mathewson (1880-1925) probably did more than any other performer of his day to enhance the image of a professional baseball player. Educated, intelligent and a consummate gentleman, he seemed almost too good to be true.

Mathewson was originally the property of the New York Giants but was drafted by Cincinnati for $100 when he won 20 games for Norfolk of the Virginia League in 1900, after doing poorly in an early-season trial with the New York club. John Brush, who owned a piece of the Reds and knew he would soon be serving the Giants in a similar capacity, clandestinely arranged to return Matty to New York for a badly worn Amos Rusie.

After winning 20 games for the Giants in 1901, Matty tumbled to just 14 victories the next year. After that, however, he reeled off 12 straight seasons in which he won 20 or more games. "Big Six" won more than 30 games on four occasions, with a high of 37 in 1908. The net result of his extraordinary run of success was that he had 300 career victories by the time he was 32 years old.

Sometimes, though, Mathewson seemed to have trouble winning the big games. In his last three World Series appearances -- 1911, 1912, and 1913 -- Matty won just two games while losing five. In his defense, the Giants consistently displayed defensive lapses at crucial moments when he was on the mound and scored only seven runs in the last 39 innings he hurled in Series play.

However, Mathewson's work in championship contests did not always end in disappointment. In 1905, his first World Series appearance, he twirled a record three complete-game shutouts and 27 scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Athletics to lead the Giants to victory in their first 20th-Century postseason affair. Matty's feat is generally considered to be the most outstanding performance in World Series history.

In 1916, with his famed screwball or "fadeaway" no longer effective, Mathewson was traded to Cincinnati so that he could become the Reds player-manager. After only one mound appearance in the Queen City, he became a bench pilot only.

In August 1918, Matty entered the Army. While serving overseas in World War I, he accidentally inhaled poison gas, permanently damaging his lungs. He died on October 7, 1925. In 1936, Christy was among the first group of five players elected to the Hall of Fame.

Here are Christy Mathewson's major league totals:

373 188 2.13 634 435 4,782.0 2,502 1,132 838 2,502

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