Mathewson Defeats Athletics in Opener

Damon Runyon

The Hutchinson Gazette/October 15, 1911

M’Graw’s Giants Win First In World’s Series.

Mighty Christy Held Them in Palm

But Bender Was Equally Great

Batting Rally Won Game in Seventh

Christy Mathewson, greatest of his kind, held the Philadelphia Athletics, champions of the world, in the hollow of his mighty hand this afternoon and the New York Giants scored first blood in the world series. 

They won by a narrow margin of two to one after a baseball battle that will live forever in the memory of the enormous throng that saw it. 

It was no easy victory. Great as was Mathewson, no less great was Albert Bender, the Chippewa Indian who opposed him. It was a struggle between two of the most remarkable pitchers of their time. 

For days and days the peerless Mathewson has been preparing himself for this event and the result was seen today in his wonderful work at the Polo Grounds. 

Just last spring they were discussing the question of whether or not the big pitcher was all in. 

The Athletics got a flying start in the second inning and the Giant following looked glum, but the master hand of McGraw soon showed and the speed that he had been developing all year finally brought home the victory. 

Clean hitting gave the Athletics their single run in the second. Then the score was tied in the fourth when the wonderful Eddie Collins fumbled, Snodgrass giving a great exhibition of running when he brought home the coveted run. 

In the seventh inning Big Chief Meyers, the man whose possibilities in this series have been so often debated, smashed the left wall with a two base hit. Little Joseph Devore followed with another two bagger, the Indian scoring from second. The game was over so far as the Athletics chances of winning were concerned. 

After that blow they seemed to fade away while the young Giants backed up their veteran pitcher with added enthusiasm. They proved their gameness. They had to come along from behind and they came with a rush that swept away the opposition like ashes. They were undismayed by the fact that they were facing the title holders and the club that had shown up Chicago last year. Mathewson and Devore—these are the names that stayed with a great deal to be said for the stout-hearted Fred Merkle, who saved the game by a marvelous plunging play. 

It was a battle of pitching Titans throughout. Bender seemed to give way toward the end, while Matty closed tight like a schoolboy. His somber-faced rival seemed greatly pertrubed during the closing innings. 

McGraw’s men stole all the bases they went after, which was just two. They came from behind with a dogged determination, which stamps them a plucky team of the real McGraw school, and to them the result was never in doubt. Bender bothered them with his crushing speed from start to finish and had the youngsters fighting bad balls all the way. But Meyers and Devore hit him when hits were needed. 

Mathewson pitched a wary game. He quickly sized up his men and once he passed Eddie Collins purposely in a tight hole to take a chance at Baker. 

Over 38,000 people saw the game. Their sympathy was largely with the Giants but it was a doleful gathering that watched the game. 

The clubs were so evenly matched in playing strength that there was no great advantage to be noted during the first few innings, but as the game went along the Giants gradually showed stronger in every department. They seemed the more resourceful. They seemed to taunt the Athletics with their speed, and when the game was at an end, few there were who would not say that the best team won. 

Mathewson probably never pitched a game of ball which showed his wisdom and his amazing craft to the same degree. While it cannot be said that he made the Athletics look any weaker than the big Chippewa made the Giants appear at times, certain it is that his craft was too subtle for Mack’s men. He was always at his best in the pinches. He carried the youngsters behind him along by the sheer impetus of his wonderful work and only the hardest kind of luck could have cheated him of victory.


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