Extraordinary Christy Mathewson Autographed 1912 "Pitching in a Pinch" First Edition Book - Signed "Christy Mathewson - June 10, 1912" on the Interior First Page PSA 9 MINT AUTO LOA
Before the 1901 season, the New York Giants decided to trade for a baby-faced right-hander from Factoryville, PA., and history was surely in the making. N.Y. Giants' standout 19th century flame-thrower Amos Rusie was the veteran hurler traded to Cincinnati, and the unproven rookie pitcher sent to the "Big Apple" just happened to be the iconic Christy Mathewson. Amazingly, Rusie would not win a single other baseball game with Mathewson embarking on a virtually unparalleled Hall of Fame career that would tally an incredible 373 victories. Christy would ultimately become the most beloved, worshiped and admired pre-WWI baseball player, the "turn of the century" Babe Ruth in popularity, with his sense of fair play and decency earning him the revered nickname "The Christian Gentleman". Along with his National League record 373 wins (tied for top honors with Grover Alexander), Matty posted a microscopic lifetime E.R. A. of 2.13.
He won 30 or more games in four different seasons (including three consecutive years from 1903-05) and won 20+ games for 12 consecutive seasons (1903-14). Mathewson was famous for his pinpoint control as well as his virtually un-hittable fade away pitch (now more commonly called the screwball), ably assisting the New York Giants to claim four pennants and one World Championship during his N.Y. Giants 17-year tenure. It was that 1905 championship campaign that the "Big Six" twirled a miraculous three complete-game World Series shutouts against Connie Mack's mighty Philadelphia Athletics, a record that will outlast eternity. Never again will our National Pastime witness such a performance on its grandest stage, prompting the legendary Mack to eventually state: "Mathewson was the greatest pitcher I ever saw. It was great to watch him pitch when he wasn't pitching against you!" Yet, for all of his magnificent performances and records, it is Mathewson's wholesome image and beloved nature that places him second to none as a pre-WWI idol, and it is with little surprise he was dubbed the "Christian Gentleman." He was the game's first "National Hero" with a God-like persona that immensely assisted baseball in ultimately becoming our National Pastime.
Matty's devotion to baseball and its young American faithful inspired him to write a number of fictional stories that would become known as "The Matty Books." Christy's first masterpiece was issued in 1910 and titled "Won in the Ninth". Published by the R. J. Bodmer Company, the inaugural 500 First Edition copies included a template in the inside front cover that were signed by Christy Mathewson and numbered 1-500. While there remains some 15-20 surviving scripted examples, a majority of the original signed 500 copies remain unaccounted for. Mathewson's second book, the classic 1912 "Pitching in a Pinch" publication, remains the much scarcer signed Mathewson book. Less than ten known Matty autographed "Pitching in a Pitch" copies exist (all signed within the interior cover or blank first page), with a majority of the known scripted copies penned on a particular day in June 1912. Considered extremely rare and much scarcer than its 1910 "Won in the Ninth" brethren, presented here just happens to be one of those obscure "Pitching in a Pinch" examples eloquently scripted "Christy Mathewson - June 10, 1912" in fine black fountain pen.
PSA has appropriately awarded the signature a "9 MINT" assessment, with the world-class signature perfectly affixed across the central portion of the inaugural blank page. We can only assume that since this book was first published in 1912, the N.Y. Giants extensive 1912 May 31st - June 18th home stand allowed Mathewson to engage in a local promotion, visiting one or several local bookstores to sign his newly published book. This would explain why the few known examples virtually all reveal a particular June 1912 date. Issued by the New York based GROSSET & DUNLAP publisher, the book was written by the immortal Christy Mathewson with assistance from ghost writer John N. Wheeler. It reveals 13 chapters and 304 pages of baseball insight, classic stories, diamond lore, wisdom, and most of all, the player's sheer love of the grand old game. Its most captivating section continues to be chapter nine, which details the 1908 "Merkle-Boner" game events and the subsequent make-up game that Mathewson would lose to the Chicago Cubs legendary Mordecai "Three Fingered" Brown by a 4-2 score, costing the Giants the 1908 pennant.
Baseball historian Bill James has always insisted this intriguing chapter is one of the finest written pieces associated with America's Pastime, for it literally turns back the clock to that period in time when Mathewson and Brown toed the rubber in a furious duel for the National League crown. The book itself reveals eye pleasing aesthetics, depicting typical edge wear, toning within the interior pages, some negligible surface abrasions, scuffing and areas of foxing on the outer cover. Although somewhat loosened, the spine still remains somewhat fastened to its interior pages, with the critical Christy Mathewson June 10, 1912 autograph page completely intact. This early "Matty era" autograph provides a very eloquent left to right slant as well as the standard crossed/slanted 'T's' that are a trademark of all Mathewson signature variations throughout his career. We cannot over emphasize the magnitude of this grandeur offering or any Mathewson autograph.
Due to his untimely death on October 7, 1925 from tuberculosis at the tender age of 45 (from the ill effects of breathing poisonous gas in WWI), only a scant gathering of signed checks, contracts, baseballs and other eclectic relics still exist with Mathewson's iconic signature. While Ruth, Cobb, Wagner and Johnson (the remaining four HOF charter members) signatures are certainly desirable, Mathewson's is virtually unattainable and typically demands an immense premium well in excess of five figures. Mathewson left an indelible mark on our National Pastime due to his arguable stature as baseball's greatest all-time hurler and unequivocal integrity, and what finer possible keepsake could any avid Mathewson fan hope to obtain than a breathtaking 1912 Christy Mathewson autograph within one of his highly coveted First Edition books. With that said, now is the time to seize this grand opportunity by jumping aboard the "Big Six" and riding this museum worthy heirloom directly to the winner's circle! - FULL PSA "9 MINT" AUTO LOA
MIN BID $5,000