Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson was part of the inaugural class of the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson. He was born and raised in Factoryville, Pennsylvania, and around the turn of the 20th century, he began playing professionally with the New York (now San Francisco) Giants, and Mathewson went on to play most of his career with them. Mathewson became a formidable pitcher with his famous fade-away pitch, who was often recognized by his nickname "Big Six." With the Giants, and later the Cincinnati Reds, he achieved 373 wins over 17 seasons. Connie Mack remarking about Mathewson said, "It was wonderful to watch him pitch when he wasn’t pitching against you."
Mathewson's playing career ended in 1916, and in 1918 he enlisted with the army during World War I. Tragically, Mathewson was accidentally gassed during an army training exercise and developed tuberculosis. He returned to baseball in 1923 as president of the Boston (now Atlanta) Braves. However, Mathewson died in Saranac Lake, New York, on October 7, 1925 at just 45 years of age. He is buried at Lewisburg Cemetery in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Every year, on or around August 12th, the city of Factoryville, located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, holds "Christy Mathewson Day" in honor of the star baseball player.
Images of Christy Mathewson are available in HSP's Philadelphia Record morgue photographs collection (#V07). The society also has other resources on the history of baseball, both regionally and nationally.
Image: Christy Mathewson pitching, photographic print (11 February 1943)