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   Sometimes  the fates are not kind.  Things are not quite the same for all of us. Combinations of sinew, muscle, and tissue  placement, are arranged just right for one person and for another, the alignment is different and doesn’t work. The God’s looked down and said, “You Henry Mathewson are not going to be like your big brother. He’s going to be one of the greats and you…well you wont be like him, not even close. And the fates and Gods were right.

    When Henry Mathewson died in 1917 at the age of 31, the obituaries were embarrassing. Yes, they mentioned his Major League career (unfortunately they detailed his statistics), his death at an early age, and his lineage and his older brother. And that was interesting. Henry merited a few lines, his brother’s accomplishments dwarfed his achievements and dominated the death notices.

   It was felt that the only reason Henry Mathewson came up to the Major Leagues was out of deference to his famous brother. Living in his shadow could not have been easy and mercifully Henry’s baseball career encompassed only three games, the first of which was to go down as one of the most awful debuts of all time.

     Pitching in his first game in the Majors, the Giants had chosen Mathewson to face the Bos- ton Braves. It was December 28,1906 and the Braves were to end up in last place that year. The 6’3” righthander had not had a distinguished Minor League record and had not shown anything of merit in his short stay with the Giants. There was a tendency towards some wildness but nothing to prepare McGraw and his Giants for what was to come.

    Starting off the first inning with two walks and also two hits and a hit batsman, he then proc-eeded to walk twelve more during the game. He ended up with a total of seven runs, fourteen bases on balls, seven hits, and was in trouble in almost every one of the nine innings he pitched. It was to be his only complete Major League game and his only decision. He did pitch in one more game that year and in 1907 managed to pitch in one inning, giving up one hit.That was it. He returned to his birthplace of Factoryville Pa. where he died in 1907 at the early age of 31.

    Ah that placement of muscle tissue, sinews not being quite right, skeleton structure not add- ing up to the right combination, which is the difference between the unusual and the ordinary. Sometimes that difference is so minute that it shows up only when the extraordinary is asked for. In baseball we have that difference over and over again down through the ages. The names are there, the great ones with siblings or brothers that don’t measure up to their achievements.    Check out the great Eddie Collins and his far from great son, Eddie Collins Jr. Look up the records of Jim Bagby and Jim Bagby Jr. Who even bothers thinking of Tommy Aaron unless it’s to answer a tricky trivia question (what two brothers collectively hit the most HRs in the Majors?) Then there’s Ozzie Canseco who had a brother named Jose and Kevin Maas who’s brother ended up as a priest.

    Henry Mathewson had a brother and his name was Christy.     


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