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Christy Mathewson (d.1925) is the iconic New York Giants hurler who is without a doubt one of the greatest pitchers of his era. His twenty-five legendary pitching duels against fellow Hall of Famer Mordecai Brown saw some of the best battles in baseball history. Mathewson is the subject of this offered 1909-1913 Official National League Spalding Baseball that exhibits definitive diamond use. The orb features even wear throughout and features relatively clear stampings and tight orange and brown stitching. Mathewson’s signature is easily discernible on the top of the north panel, which also features a penning from Chief Meyers (d.1971), his batterymate from 1909-1915. Although JSA cannot confirm or deny it, we believe that the East Panel is graced by the signature of iconic Giants manager John McGraw. Comes with a full photo LOA from JSA and a letter of provenance from the original owner:
“I have a National League baseball that is over 100 years old. It was autographed by Christy Mathewson, one of the first five players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 (along with Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner).
Mathewson pitched for the New York Giants from 1900 to 1916. He won 372 games and lost 188 for a .665 winning percentage. He pitched 4780 innings 434 complete games, 79 shutouts, with 2502 strikeouts versus 844 walks. He started 550 games. He had 20 or more wins each year from 1903 to 1914, including over 30 wins three times. In the 1905 World Series versus the Philadelphia Athletics he pitched three shutouts in six days!
This ball was also autographed by “Chief” J.T. Myers, who was Mathewson’s primary catcher from 1909 to 1913, which means it dates from one of those years.
How do I happen to have possession of this ball? My father, who grew up in Indiana and Utah, attended Harvard University from 1905 to 1909 when he graduated. A year later he entered Harvard Law School from which he received his law degree in 1913. It was during these years that he became a strong major league baseball fan, going to school near the home of the (then) Boston Braves.
In later years he made a strong baseball fan out of me, although living in southern California we were Pacific Coast League fans. For years in my childhood he took me to numerous “Hollywood Stars” games. Once in 1942, I accompanied him on a business trip to New York City, where I saw my first Giants games, a Sunday doubleheader at the Polo Grounds. Before he died in 1949, he passed this historical ball along to me. I have now been an avid Giants fan for over 50 years, since they moved to San Francisco.
I wish I had a chance to experience Christy Mathewson first-hand. But it’s not so shabby that thanks to my dad’s passing the baseball torch on to me, I have had the opportunity to experience Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Madison Bumgarner and many other great Giants.
May some other Giants fan treasure this piece of the past and all it represents of our great national pastime.”
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