It had to be a sight that sent shivers down the spines of National League hitters. Christy Mathewson, arms stretched above his 6’1 frame, a ball cradled in his right hand and tucked inside the glove. Soon the sphere would be hurtling toward home plate doing goodness knows what.
An original 1912 full-length silver gelatin photo of Matty, dressed in his New York Giants pinstripes, is among the top pieces in RMY Auctions’ online catalog this month. Taken by a Chicago Tribune photographer, the PSA Type I image measures 5×7” and carries remnants of a caption on the back that reveals its use in March of 1914 when Mathewson was considering a jump to the Federal League where he could manage.
The rare photo was utilized again much later and carries some moderate wear from handling by newspaper photo editors and decades of archival storage.
Mathewson was in his 13th season with the Giants in 1912. He wasn’t in his prime, but still among the best in the game. He worked 310 innings that season, winning 23 games with a 2.12 ERA at age 31. In the 1912 World Series against the Red Sox, he was brilliant. Mathewson compiled an ERA of under 1.00, tossing three complete games but defensive miscues cost the Giants and they were beaten by Boston.
The photo is one of over 1,200 being offered by RMY this month, with bidding set to close July 22.