The two pitchers were old by baseball standards. They were yesterday’s heroes. Christy Mathewson was 36 and Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown was a month shy of 40. Mathewson had been a star with the New York Giants and Brown with the Cubs and they had faced each other two dozen times over the years. Mathewson won 13 and Brown 11 of those games, and in one 1905 game, Mathewson threw a no-hitter and Brown allowed only one hit on his side, but it scored the run that beat him.
One hundred years ago today, the two legendary pitchers faced each other one final time. It was each man’s last game in Major League Baseball. Brown had announced his retirement (he continued pitching in the minor leagues into his 40s, though) and Mathewson had taken a new job: after 15-plus seasons pitching for the New York Giants, the Giants manager John McGraw allowed him to sign with the Cincinnati Reds as that team’s manager. Mathewson postponed his retirement from pitching for one last game and as manager assigned himself the start of the second game of a double-header against his old rival, Brown.
The game was played in Chicago, at Weeghman Park, which is now known as Wrigley Field. The newspaper ads were large (above) even though they were for a late-season game between two teams with losing records, but this was because history was going to be glimpsed one last time. (The ad also explains Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown’s famous nickname. He had lost his right index finger in a farming accident when he was a child. That half-finger gave him a wicked curve ball.)
Neither pitcher pitched well, although both pitched a complete game. The Reds won, 10 to 8, which gave Mathewson his 373rd and last victory and his only win for a team other than the New York Giants.
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Thomas Edison’s Pearl Street Station, the first electrical power plant in the United States, was fired up and started delivering electricity on this date in 1882. The plant served 59 customers, including the offices of his investors on Wall Street, south of Fulton Street in Manhattan. Edison helped dig trenches and lay the electric cables—fourteen miles of cable stretched out from the power station to the nearby buildings.
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Hank Greenberg died 30 years ago today. Georges Simenon died on this date in 1989. William Kunstler died on this date in 1995. Steve Irwin died 10 years ago today. Joan Rivers died two years ago today.
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Mitzi Gaynor is 85. Raymond Floyd is 74. Tom Watson is 67. Governor Brian Schweitzer is 61. Mike Piazza is 48. Ione Skye is 46. Beyoncé is 35.
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