Oct. 14, 1905: Christy Mathewson throws third shutout in Series to lead Giants to title
By Bridget Bielefeld
Long before Reggie Jackson earned the title “Mr. October” for his dominance in the Fall Classic, Christy Mathewson’s 1905 World Series performance epitomized postseason supremacy.
Mathewson, dubbed “Big Six” by teammates, was coming off a stellar regular season for the New York Giants. At 31-9, he led the National League in wins, strikeouts (206) and ERA (1.28).
His efforts propelled the Giants to the top of the NL leader board and earned the team a coveted place in the 1905 Fall Classic against Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. The postseason appearance marked the first for the 25-year-old pitcher.
In Games 1 and 3, Mathewson stifled the A’s – pitching a combined 18 shutout innings and striking out 14 men. The A’s were pushed to the precipice of defeat in Game 4, as the Giants increased their lead in the Series 3-games-to-1.
Game 5 was slated for Oct. 14, 1905, and Mathewson, on two days rest, was scheduled to take the mound once again. In a blistering one hour and 35 minutes, Mathewson utilized his famed fadeaway pitch and blanked the A’s 2-0 – throwing his third complete game shutout in a mere five days. No pitcher has ever matched that feat in a World Series.
With the victory, the Giants locked up the World Series, topping the A’s four-games-to-one.
“Mathewson was the greatest pitcher who ever lived,” Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack said. “He had knowledge, judgment, perfect control and form. It was wonderful to watch him pitch – when he wasn’t pitching against you.”
The Bucknell University alum holds the record for most National League wins with 373 – along with Grover Cleveland Alexander – and is third on the all-time list behind only Cy Young and Walter Johnson.
“Mathewson pitched against Cincinnati yesterday,” writer Damon Runyon once said. “Another way of putting it is that Cincinnati lost a game of baseball. The first statement means the same as the second.”
Those winning ways earned Mathewson a spot in the Hall of Fame in 1936. Along with Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner, they make up the first class of inductees.
Bridget Bielefeld was the 2009 public relations intern at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.