On October 11, 1913, the Philadelphia Athletics win the World Series as Eddie Plank outduels New York Giants pitching great Christy Mathewson in Game Five. Plank allows only two hits in the A’s 3-1 victory, giving Philadelphia its third World Championship in the last four seasons…

Eddie Plank (photo) delivers the final pitch of the 1913 World Series at the Polo Grounds as Giants’ second baseman Larry Doyle hits a weak fly ball to right field, putting the finishing touches on the 38-year-old lefty’s masterful two-hit performance in which he outdueled the great Christy Mathewson by a score of three to one – giving the Athletics their third World Championship in four years. “Thousands of Philadelphia fans poured onto the field,” wrote famed newspaperman and author Damon Runyon, “and picking up the ‘Gettysburg Gatling,’ they bore him in triumph from the field.” Brooklyn first baseman Jake Daubert – who was in attendance – declared: “I didn’t think the old fellow had it in him. That was wonderful pitching!”

Plank and Matty had previously squared off in Game Two: each man hurled nine shutout innings before “Gettysburg Eddie” faltered in the tenth frame, allowing three runs as the Giants emerged victoriously. Needless to say, the sporting world was abuzz with anticipation leading into Game Five. Gus Malbert of The Richmond Times-Dispatch eloquently wrote of the impending rematch: “Verily youth does demand its toll, for here are the most dexterous of all dwellers in the firing pit, gathered for the final and irrevocable war that is to tell the story for all times. . . . Each is built of the same stuff from which the Spartans sprung, and yet one has to lose.”

Though the 33-year-old Matthewson pitched well – allowing only six hits and two earned runs – he and the Giants were no match for Plank, who kept the hitters hopelessly off-balance with a combination of guile and pinpoint control, retiring the side in order eight times along the way. “The pitching of Plank was almost perfection in itself,” opined the New-York Tribune. Philadelphia second baseman Eddie Collins, who hit .421 in the Series, later declared: “Plank was not the fastest, not the trickiest and not the possessor of the most stuff . . . he was just the greatest.” (Surprisingly, Mathewson and Plank – a pair of all-time greats with an eventual 4,753 strikeouts on their collective résumé – combined to fan three batters; the game lasted one hour and 39-minutes.)

Gus Malbert wrote of Mathewson: “The blond-haired titan shed tears of blood as he saw his most cherished hope thwarted at the end of Mackian bats.” In a postgame interview, an ever-gracious Connie Mack remarked, “Too bad Matty had to be beaten.” Among the most respected players and role models of all-time, baseball’s beloved “Christian Gentleman” took it all in stride. “You can learn little from victory,” Mathewson once explained. “[But] you can learn everything from defeat.” — BK2

◾Sources: https://www.baseball-reference.com + https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov + https://www.sportscollectorsdaily.com

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