Search for photos of Christy Mathewson and you normally see those that were taken during his days as baseball’s most admired pitcher with John McGraw’s New York Giants. RMY Auctions has something a little different.
Mathewson had been traded to Cincinnati on July 20,1916, in part because of his desire to manage and as part of its May auction, the company is offering a rare 6 1/2 x 8 1/2″ image of Mathewson seated in the dugout next to a bat boy, apparently filling out the lineup card. Snapped by legendary New York photographer Paul Thompson, it’s the first time the image has ever appeared for sale. It’s among over 450 photos on the auction block through May 13.
Mathewson remained on Cincinnati’s active roster but appeared in only one game for the Reds–a late season showdown with future fellow Hall of Famer Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, a final showdown that generated a lot of attention. Mathewson won the high-scoring game and then retired from playing.
The photo captures Mathewson before his life took a turn for the worse. He managed the Reds for the remainder of 1916, all of 1917 and most of 1918. Against the wishes of his wife Jane, Mathewson enlisted in the service during World War I. He was accidentally gassed during a chemical training exercise and later came down with tuberculosis. He died at age 45 on October 7, 1925 at Saranac Lake, NY, just nine years after becoming a big league manager.
For more information on the auction, visit RMYAuctions.com.