100 years ago, Matty in his final Series
BY JOHN LUND
Wyoming County Press Examiner
One hundred years ago, the Philadelphia Athletics and the New York Giants, featuring Factoryville native Christy Mathewson, dueled in a heated World Series on Oct 7-11.
It turned out to be Mathewson’s final appearance in the fall classic, although he obviously didn’t know that.
Mathewson pitched in two games and went 1-1, losing the final game of the series to Eddie Plank.
The Giants had become the first National League team since the Chicago Cubs to win three consecutive pennants, but after the week was over were also the second team to lose three consecutive World Series.
Mathewson grew up in Factoryville and played for college prep school Keystone from 1895 1898 and for Bucknell University from 1898 to 1901.
He made his Major League debut in 1900 and went on to have an historic career on the mound, which came to an end in 1916 with the Cincinnati Reds, which he would manage for the next two seasons.
Below is a brief summary of the 1913 battle between the A’s and Giants.
In game one at the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan, N.Y, the A’s beat the Giants, 6-4.
Chief Bender gave up three earned runs and went the distance to pick up the win, while Rube Marquard suffered the loss by giving up five runs in five innings.
The Giants got on the board first in the third inning after an RBI single to right by Larry Doyle drove in Fred Merkle.
The A’s immediately answered in the top half of the fourth. Eddie Collins ripped a triple to deep right center and scored on a RBI single by John ‘Home Run” Baker. Wally Schang also tripled to drive in Barry and Amos Strunk, who had hit into a fielder’s choice, to give the A’s a 3-1 lead.
Baker would live up to his nickname in the fifth with a towering two-run home run to extend the lead to 5-1.
The Giants answered with three runs in the fifth to cut the lead to 5-4, but a Stuffy McInnis RBI double in the top of the eighth sealed the win.
Mathewson got the start in game two against Philadelphia’s Plank at Shibe Park in Philadelphia.
Both pitchers dueled and crafted their way through nine innings. The game remained scoreless heading into the bottom of the ninth, when Mathewson ran into a jam.
With no outs and runners on first and second, Hooks Wiltse, a Giants’ pitcher filling in at first base, fielded a grounder and nailed Strunk at home for the first out. Wiltse again threw out a runner at home on the next play, and Mathewson retired the next batter to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the tenth, the Giants broke the game open with three runs, highlighted by Mathewson, who plated the winning run on a RBI single and closed out the A’s in the bottom of the inning for the 3-0 win.
The series went back to the Polo Grounds for game three, where the A’s would respond with an 8-2 win over the Giants. ‘Bullet’ Joe Bush went the distance and picked up the win, while Jeff Tesreau earned the loss.
Schang homered for the A’s while Collins tripled twice and drove in three runs.
Murray and McLean each had an RBI for the Giants.
Game four was back at Shibe Park where the A’s would hold off the Giants for a 6-5 win. Bender picked up his second win of the series while Al Demaree suffered the loss.
The A’s scored first in the sceond inning and built up a 6-0 lead by fifth.
The Giants’ bats would finally wake up in the seventh when Fred Merkle crushed a three-run home run to left field that cut the lead in half.
A George Burns double in the eighth drove in Art Fletcher and Tillie Shafer drove in Burns with a triple to cut the lead to one, but the Giants went down in order in the top half of the ninth.
Mathewson was back on the hill in game five with the series on the line at the Polo Grounds, Oct. 11.
The A’s got to Mathewson early in the first inning, and a sacrifice fly by Baker gave Philadelphia the 1-0 lead. Baker would drive in another run in the third on a bunt single, and another sacrifice fly put the Giants down 3-0.
The Giants answered in the bottom half of the fifth when Shafer walked and later scored on a McLean single.
Mathewson went the distance and kept the A’s in check for the rest of the game, allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out two and walking only one.
The Giants offense went cold, however, and the A’s would win the game, 3-1, and World Series.
Mathewson finished the 1913 regular season with a 25-11 record in 40 games and a league-leading 2.06 ERA in over 300 innings pitched. He struck out 93 batters and during the season he threw 68 straight innings without allowing a base on balls.
Robert Gaines in his 2012 book, ‘The Three Mathewsons,’ noted that following the World Series with the As, Matty and Jim Thorpe, who had joined the Giants before the 1913 season began, took star billing as the Giants and the Chicago White Sox undertook a thunderous 30,000-mile adventure whose intent was to bring the baseball game, to the rest of the world.
In the second game of the 1913 World Series at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Factoryville native Christy Mathewson is on the mound for the New York Giants and ends up taking a 10 inning 3-0 decision over the Philadelphia Athletics.
Christy Mathewson warms up before a World Series crowd in 1913.