- Christy Mathewson’s aggressive baseball style led him to attain the most career wins by a pitcher in the National League
- He became a role model due to his intense pitching style on the field as well as his clean living off the field
- His hometown of Factoryville established the Christy Mathewson Little League in 1957
Christopher “Christy” Mathewson is a baseball legend who was one of the inaugural members inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame along with Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, and Walter Johnson. His career wins as a pitcher at 373 leaves him tied with Grover Cleveland Alexander as having the most wins in the National League. He was known as a gentleman off the field but had an aggressive baseball style when he took to the mound. This aggressive baseball style was known as “Christy Mathewson baseball.”
Christy Mathewson Biography: The Role Model
In the early 1900’s baseball players were known as hard-drinking reprobates by night and heroes by day. Christy Mathewson was different. He was college educated with a wide range of interests including singing, football, and was a voracious reader. Due to his clean living Christy became known as the “Christian Gentleman.” His role model status for children and parents alike led to the formation of the Christy Mathewson Little League.
His status as a role model to young baseball players of the day can be summed up in this famous quote:
“First of all, no one can live up to everything that’s been written or said about me. And, I keep to myself. I’m a private man. Yet, because I pitch for the New York Giants, I realize that I’m able to reach more young men than the President of the United States. That’s not due to the fact that I’m more popular than Mr. Taft – I don’t believe – but, it’s a fact boys would rather read about yesterday afternoon’s event at the Polo Grounds. Because of that, I feel very strongly that it is my duty to show those youth the good, clean, honest values that I was taught by my Mother when I was a youngster. That, really, is all I can do.”
Christy Mathewson Biography: Career Milestones
• During a 17-year career, Christy had a remarkable .665 winning percentage having won 373 games to 188 losses
• He pitched 79 career shutouts
• His lifetime ERA was 2.13
• He recorded 2,502 career strikeouts versus 844 walks
• In what is known as the greatest pitching performance in World Series history, Christy pitched three complete scoreless games against the Philadelphia Athletics.
• He led the league in wins four times
• He won 30 or more games four times
• Won at least 20 games in 12 consecutive seasons
Mathewson enlisted in the army in 1918 to serve in World War I. He served in the Chemical Services Division along with Ty Cobb. He was exposed to poison gas and eventually developed tuberculosis. After many years valiantly struggling against his illness he succumbed on October 7, 1925 at the age of 45.
The Christy Mathewson Baseball League
In 1957, the Christy Mathewson Little League was formed in District 17 in Pennsylvania. The league covered his home town of Factoryville as well as Nicholson, Fleetville, and Dalton.
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