100 years ago, Matty in World Series
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Wyoming County Press Examiner
One hundred years ago this week, the New York Giants, featuring Factoryville native Christy Mathewson, were getting ready for a heated World Series battle with the Boston Red Sox.
Mathewson pitched in three games, one of which was one of only three World Series games to end in a tie. He was 0-2 in a series which saw the Giants fall four games to three.
Mathewson, who grew up in Factoryville and played for Keystone Academy from 1895 to 1898, went on to play for Bucknell University from 1898 to 1901.
Following that, Mathewson went on to have a storied career with the New York Giants from 1900 to 1916 before serving as a manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 1916 to
Following service in World War I, he coached the Giants from 1919 to 1921 and in 1923 was briefly affiliated with the Boston Braves. He died in 1925 at age 45.
Robert Gaines, author of “The Three Mathewsons,” a former sports writer who later worked at Bucknell and now lives in Columbia, Va., said one of the most notable parts about this World Series was that it was the first year at Fenway Park.
“It (Fenway) was considered a modern palace,” Gaines said.
He also noted that although Mathewson ended up giving up the final run in game eight of the series, he never faltered.
“Christy pitched terrifically throughout the series,” Gaines said. “And he never faltered in the Giants’ losses.”
Gaines said by the time of the 1912 World Series Mathewson was already a sports icon.
“He was the center of the sports world by that point in his career,” Gaines said, “and had already been the hero in the 1905 World Series.”
Gaines said that fans were so distraught about Mathewson enduring the loss in 1912 that they gave him a 40-horsepower Columbia Touring automobile worth $5,000.
From that point on in his career, when he would take the field he would wear a driver’s “duster” jacket as a tribute to the fans’ kindness.
The 1912 loss to the Red Sox was the first of three straight World Series’ losses for the Giants.
Below is a rundown of how things unfolded for Mathewson and the Giants in the series against the Sox.
The series opened Oct. 8 at the Polo Grounds, the New York Giants faced a 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
Red Murray got the Giants on the board in the third, batting against Smoky Joe Wood, as he hit a single to center field to score Josh Devore and Larry Doyle to make it 2-0.
Boston got on the board in the top of the sixth as Duffy Lewis hit a ground out to score Tris Speaker to make it 2-1. Boston then scored again in the top of the seventh to tie the game as Harry Hooper hit a double to right field to score Heinie Wagner, making it 2-2. The Red Sox then gained the lead as Steve Yerkes singled to left field to score Wood and Hooper to make it 4-2.
New York added one run as Chief Meyers hit a single to left field to score Fred Merkle.
Wood took the pitching victory for Boston giving up eight hits, three earned runs and a pair of walks while striking out 11 in nine innings. Rookie Jack Tesreau took the loss for the Giants.
Matthewson took the mound on Oct. 9, at Fenway Park in one of only three World Series games to ever end in a tie, as the two teams battled to a 6-6 score in 11 innings before the game was called because of darkness.
Mathewson pitched all 11 innings for the Giants giving up 10 hits and six runs while striking out four.
On Oct. 10, the Giants-Red Sox had a replay of game two at Fenway, and saw the visitors win by a score of 2-1 to even up the series at a game apiece.
Rube Marquard was the winning pitcher for the Giants while Buck Herzog hit a sacrifice play to score Murray in the second and Art Fletcher hit a single to score Herzog in the fifth to give the Giants the victory.
Back at the Polo Grounds on Oct. 11, Boston won 3-1 to regain a 2-1 lead in the series with Wood picking up the pitching victory over Tesreau.
Wood pitched all nine innings and gave up nine hits and one earned run while striking out eight. Hick Cady scored the Giants’ only run with a single to score Stahl in the fourth.
Matty made his second mound appearance at Fenway on Oct. 12. The Giants took a 2-1 loss to give Boston a 3-1 advantage, even though Mathewson pitched eight innings giving up just five hits and two runs while striking out two and walking none.
Back at the Polo Grounds on Oct. 14, the Giants gained some ground with a 5-2 win to make it a 3-2 series off a strong pitching performance from Marquard who hurled a complete game giving up seven hits and no earned runs while striking out three.
New York then tied the series at three games apiece on Oct. 15 at Fenway Park, as Tesreau picked up a mound victory in an 11-4 rout of the Red Sox.
The second World Series to go to eight games saw the public eagerly awaiting a pitcher’s duel between the Giants’ Mathewson and the Red Sox’s Wood.
It was tied up at 1-1 at the end of nine, and looked for a brief time that Matty might have the upper hand.
However, going into the bottom of the 10th after the Giants gained a 2-1 lead in the top of the inning, Mathewson gave up a sacrifice fly to Gardner to hand the Red Sox the victory.
In the loss, Mathewson gave up eight hits, one earned run and five walks while striking out four in nine-and-two-thirds innings.
A FINAL WORD
The Tunkhannock Republican and New Age observed after the series that “Baseball easily takes the lead over any other game in interest by the American people. In the series played between New York and Boston for the world’s championship, the total attendance was 250,000 or upward. Thousands of others would have witnessed the games, but were unable to gain admittance to the grounds. The gate receipts were nearly half a million dollars.
“Though the Red Sox, of Boston, won five out of eight games and were therefore declared the world’s champions, this, in itself, does not prove that they are the best ball players. The Giants made more scores during the series than the Red Sox, the totals being 31 and 26. A good proportion of these runs were earned, and not made through errors of their opponents.