Saturday, October 08, 2005

October 8th, 1925

Christy Mathewson Dies

Being that the playoffs are upon us, it only seems appropriate to honor the man who had, almost inarguably, the greatest single series post season pitching performance in history: Christy Mathewson. The New York Giants, Mathewson's team, opened the 1905 World Series at the home field of the Philadelphia A's, Columbia Park. Mathewson was matched with the A's ace Eddie Plank. Plank pitched a decent game, throwing a complete game while giving up just three runs and scattering ten hits. He was on the losing end however, as Mathewson put on an absolute clinic, allowing just four hits—all in different innings—while striking out six and not allowing a single run.

Mathewson then started--on two days' rest--Game Three for the Giants, again at
Columbia Park. And again the A's starter pitched well; this time it was Andy Coakley who allowed just three Giant runs across nine innings. But once again the A's starter was on the losing side as Mathewson was even better than in Game One, once again shutting out the A's and allowing just four hits, but this time striking out eight. Mathewson had thrown then, two shutouts allowing just nine baserunners (he walked a man in Game Three) while striking out fourteen and allowing no runs.

The Giants' won Game Four and manager John McGraw would ask Mathewson to come back and pitch the potential clinching game on one days’ rest. Mathewson was facing a third A's opposing pitcher, Charles "Chief" Bender. Bender had won Game Two for the A's and once again pitched well, allowing just two runs. However, Mathewson was again even better, throwing his third shutout of the series, allowing just five hits as the Giants wrapped up the title.

Mathewson's final line was a mind-blowing three games started, twenty-seven innings pitched, fourteen hits and one walk allowed (that's an average of under five baserunners per nine innings) while striking out eighteen. Mathewson’s strikeout to walk ratio was an astounding eighteen-to-one, and he did so while striking out more men than he allowed to reach base. He won three games of a five game series--seventy-five percent of his team's victories--all in starts. There have been some exceptional post-season pitching performances since then. But if you ask me, Mathewson still reigns supreme.

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