1905 World Series
After refusing an invitation to play the Boston Americans the 1904 World Series, the New York Giants agreed to participate in the 1905 Fall Classic in an effort to win back it's fan approval. Many were upset by the Giants' "no thanks" attitude of the previous year and it was clearly visible in their regular season attendance. This time, John T. Brush and company were eager to take on the American League champion Philadelphia Athletics after an National League race in which the Giants won one-hundred five games. The Series would be contested under guidelines drawn up by the Giants' owner, seeking to stabilize an event he earlier had cancelled. Besides outlining a revenue formula, the John T. "Brush Rules" called for a best-of-seven format.
The Giants were extremely confident going into their first combined post-season championship for obvious reasons. Their pitching rotation read like an All-Star ballot and featured Christy Mathewson (thirty-one victories), Joe McGinnity (twenty-one) and Red Ames (twenty-two) and also included Dummy Taylor (fifteen) and Hooks Wiltse (fourteen). New York wound up using only two of its "big five" as starters in the Series, but that twosome proved more than enough. The Athletics were not as fortunate and were still reeling from the late-season loss of standout lefthander Rube Waddell.
In the opening game, lefthander Eddie Plank, a twenty-five game winner for the Athletics, was matched up against the Giants ace Mathewson. Recalling memories of the first World Series, it remained a pitcher's duel until the fifth inning when the Giants offense finally broke through for two runs. Game 1 was all Mathewson - on both sides of the ball. At the plate, he contributed a single in the fifth that ignited New York's scoring drive and a key sacrifice in the ninth. On the mound, he completed a four-hit, 3-0 victory and did no walk a single batter. For Game 2, Athletic's manager Connie Mack called on righthander Chief Bender to even the score. He obliged the legendary skipper with support from Bris Lord's run-scoring singles in the third and eighth innings. In the end, Bender out-dueled the Giants' Joe McGinnity for a 3-0 victory. The Series was now tied and an interesting trend had developed with two shutouts in two games.
With two days rest, Game 1 winner Christy Mathewson was given the start for Game 3. Once again, the righthanded sensation dominated the contest and held Philadelphia to only four hits and one walk. First baseman Dan McGann was the Giants' big gun in a 9-0 romp, collecting two singles and a double and driving in four runs. New York was now ahead, but the Athletics refused to roll over and entered the following contest with a renewed vigor. Game 4 represented the ultimate pitcher's duel and to this day, is still considered one of the best match-ups ever on the mound during a World Series. This time McGinnity and Plank hooked up in a contest that allowed only nine hits and one run. Philadelphia matched the Giants play in every aspect of the game and only lost due to a crucial infield error. The 1-0 triumph increased New York's Series lead to three games to one.
Once again, Mack decided to go with Chief Bender to halt the Giants in Game 5, while McGraw decided to stick with a winner and brought Mathewson back for a third performance. Pitching on only one day of rest, the Giant's workhorse was again up to the challenge allowing only six hits with no walks. His counterpart was almost as good yielding only five hits, but allowing two runs. The 1905 New York Giants suddenly found themselves the champions of a contest that they had previously boycotted and had a newfound respect for their American League rivals who made them earn it.
Mathewson was clearly the most valuable player of the 1905 Fall Classic although the award had not yet been established. In the space of six days, he pitched three shutouts and permitted only fourteen hits. The Giants' ace struck out eighteen and walked one in twenty-seven innings. Besides Mathewson and McGinnity, the only other Giants pitcher to see action was Ames, who worked all of one inning (as a reliever in Game 2). Pitching was the most noteworthy aspect of the Series with five shutouts in five games.