Christopher "Christy" Mathewson (August 12, 1880 – October 7, 1925), nicknamed "Big Six", "The Christian Gentleman", or "Matty", was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. He played in what is known as the dead-ball era; and in 1936 was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its "first five" inaugural members.Mathewson was born in Factoryville, Pennsylvania and attended Bucknell University, where he served as class president and played on the school's football and baseball teams. He was also a member of the fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta. His first experience of semi-professional baseball came in 1895, when he was just 14 years old. The manager of the Factoryville ball club asked him to pitch in a game with a rival team in Mill City, Pennsylvania. Mathewson helped his hometown team to a 19–victory, but with his batting rather than his pitching. He continued to play baseball during his years at Bucknell, pitching for minor league teams in Honesdale and Meridian, Pennsylvania.
In 1899, Mathewson left college and signed to play professional baseball with Taunton of the New England League. The next season, he moved on to play on the Norfolk team of the Virginia-North Carolina League. He finished that season with a 20-2 record.
In July of that year, the New York Giants purchased his contract from Norfolk for $1,500.. Between July and September 1900 Mathewson appeared in six games for the Giants. He started one of those games and compiled a 0-3 record. Displeased with his performance, the Giants returned him to Norfolk and demanded their money back. Later that month, the Cincinnati Reds picked up Mathewson off the Norfolk roster. On , the Reds quickly traded Mathewson back to the Giants for Amos Rusie.During his 17-year career, Mathewson won 373 games and lost 188 for an outstanding .665 winning percentage. His career ERA of 2.13 and 79 career shutouts are among the best all-time for pitchers and his 373 wins is still number one in the National League, tied with Grover Cleveland Alexander. Employing a good fastball, outstanding control, and, especially, a new pitch he termed the "fadeaway" (later known in baseball as the "screwball"), which he learned from teammate Dave Williams in 1898, Mathewson recorded 2,502 career strikeouts against only 844 walks. He is famous for his 25 pitching duels with Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, who won 13 of the duels against Mathewson's 11, with one no-decision.Mathewson's Giants won the 1905 World Series over the Philadelphia Athletics. Mathewson was the starting pitcher in Game 1, and pitched a 4-hit shutout for the victory. Three days later, with the series tied 1-1, he pitched another 4-hit shutout. Then, two days later in Game 5, he threw a 6-hit shutout to clinch the series for the Giants. In a span of only six days, Mathewson had pitched three complete games without allowing a run.
The 1905 World Series capped an impressive year for Mathewson as he had already won the National League Triple Crown for pitchers, and threw the second no-hitter of his career. He claimed the Triple Crown again in 1908, and by the time he left the Giants, the team had captured four more National League pennants, in addition to the aforementioned 1905 appearance in the World Series.
As noted in The National League Story (1961) by Lee Allen, Matty never pitched on Sunday. The impact of this on the Giants was minimized, since, in the eight-team National league, only the Chicago Cubs (Illinois), Cincinnati Reds (Ohio), and St. Louis Cardinals (Missouri), played home games in states that allowed professional sports on Sunday.
Along with his brother Henry Mathewson, he holds the major league record for combined wins by brothers playing for the same team: Christy 373, Henry 0.
On July 20, 1916, Mathewson's career came full circle when he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with Edd Roush. He won one game with the Reds and served as their manager for the next three seasons.
Mathewson and Brown wrapped their respective careers by squaring off on September 4, 1916. The game was billed as the final meeting between the two old baseball warriors. The high-scoring game was a win for Mathewson's Reds over Brown's Cubs
In 1918, Mathewson enlisted in the United States Army for World War I. He served overseas as a Captain in the newly formed Chemical Service along with Ty Cobb. While in France, during a training exercise he was accidentally gassed and consequently developed tuberculosis. Although he returned to serve as a coach for the Giants from 1919–1920, he spent a good portion of that time in Saranac Lake fighting the illness, initially at the Trudeau Sanitorium, and later in a house that he had built. In 1923, Mathewson got back into professional baseball when he served as part-time president of the Boston Braves.