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Fan’s perspective: Giants’ Mathewson remains one of baseball’s best pitchers
Franchise leadership roles were reversed way back in the day, when Grover Cleveland Alexander's Phillies met Christy Mathewson's then-New York Giants.
New York Giants
Long before the Giants moved to San Francisco, they were based in New York. In 1900, a lanky right-hander made a less than impressive debut for that Big Apple bunch.
As a result of Mathewson's performance, the Giants assigned him to Norfolk after the season. He was then subsequently taken by the Cincinnati Reds in December during the Rule 5 Draft.
In what proved to be one of the most historically important boomerangs in franchise history, the Giants reacquired Mathewson during that same month.
He responded by going 20-17 in the 1901 season. By the time his 17 years in New York were behind him, the Pennsylvania native became a pitching icon.
Over 34 times
"Matty" cranked out four 30-plus win seasons between 1903 and 1908.
In 1903, he went 30-13 with a 2.26 ERA. In 1904, he went 33-12 with a 2.03 ERA. In 1905, he went 31-9 with a 1.28 ERA. His combined record during those three years was 94-34.
In 1908, he generated 37 more and had a 1.43 ERA.
The overwhelming majority of his career wins came between 1901 and 1914. Between 1903 and 1914 he never won fewer than 22 games each season.
Mathewson posted 372 wins for the Giants and one for the Reds during his last season in 1916.
His 373 victory total was matched by his old Phillies foe Alexander. Both men remain tied for third best on baseball's all-time win's list.
Mathewson's Giants beat the Philadelphia Athletics to win the 1905 World Series, but lost three subsequent trips to the Fall Classic.
Two of those series losses came at the hands of the Athletics, in 1911 and 1913. The Boston Red Sox also defeated them in the sandwiched year of 1912.
Serving his country
"Big Six" was one nickname that Mathewson earned during his short, but great, time on the planet. The moniker was actually a reference to a New York City fire engine.
After joining the army during World War I, he was exposed to mustard gas and developed tuberculosis. In 1925, he died at the age of 45.
Mathewson was one of the Hall of Fame's initial inductees in 1936. He received a higher percentage vote than fellow inductee Walter Johnson.
After earning a Communications degree from Penn State in 1990, I started my career in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons front office. At that time they were the Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A farm team. Read my blog Insight and follow me on Twitter @ SeanyOB.
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