Renowned for his good sportsmanship and gentlemanly nature, pitching great Christy Mathewson (d.1925) served up more than just pinpoint accurate pitches. He also served up some early baseball books, including a children’s series known as the “Matty Books”. Offered is a signed copy of the first book in the series “Won in the Ninth”, featuring a fantastic cover photo of “Big Six” in action.
This first edition book was published in 1910 by the R.J. Bodmer Company of New York. More than a century later, this valued volume remains complete and intact with a solid but worn spine, fairly clean cover boards and supple off-white pages to rate as (VG). Multiplying the book’s value greatly is Mathewson’s remarkable (“9”) strength autograph, which appears on a numbered bookplate adhered securely to the front flyleaf page. Full photo LOA from JSA. More on our website.
The signed bookplate is printed with “Presentation Copy No.” followed by the typed entry “410”, then the book title “Won In The Ninth”, then another typed entry (To) “Tom Swope” and ends with the declaration “with the Compliments of” followed by Mathewson’s precise signature. Of note: the recipient, Tom Swope, was actually a Cincinnati sportswriter (and BBWAA President) who of course knew Matty during his days with the Reds. What’s more, historian Lee Allen once referenced Swope and Mathewson together in a letter to another historian regarding Mathewson's personal life.
Mathewson has dedicated this book to pioneering baseball reporter/statistician Henry Chadwick, cited in the dedication text as “The Father of Baseball”. The title page lists the author as “Christopher Mathewson, The Famous Pitcher Of The New York Giants” and “Edited by W.W. Aulick, The Well-Known Writer On Sports” and “Illustrations By Felix Mahony” and finally “New York, R.J. Bodmer Company, 1910”.
The contents are 298 pages of fiction with illustrations interspersed throughout, followed by a section at the back titled “The Fade-Away and Other Deceptive Curves as Held and Delivered by Christy Mathewson” with the credit “Illustrations by Courtesy of American Sports Publishing Co. from “How to Play Baseball””. This section consists of 12 pages of pitching grip illustrations with instructional text.
Altogether a fine example of one of the hobby’s great treasures, this signed antique book positions as a blue chip investment worthy of inclusion in any advanced collection.