1913 World Series
In the 1913 World Series, the Philadelphia Athletics beat the New York Giants four games to one.
The A's pitching gave the edge to a closer-than-it-looked Series in 1913. The great Christy Mathewson lost his Series swan song in the final game to an old college rival and eventual fellow Baseball Hall of Fame member, Eddie Plank.
The Giants thus became the first National League team since the Chicago Cubs (1906–1908) to win three consecutive pennants. They were also the second club (following the Detroit Tigers (1907–1909) to lose three consecutive World Series; and, as of at least 2008, the last to do so.
In a classic rematch, the New York Giants (who had just won their third consecutive pennant and were making their third consecutive World Series appearance) squared off against their post-season rival Philadelphia Athletics. Giants manager John McGraw was still trying to escape the recurring questions surrounding his selected pitching rotations in the previous Fall Classic that had resulted in a Red Sox victory. Once again, he had taken his team through another magnificent season while winning the National League pennant by 12½ games, but many fans had lost faith in his post-season coaching capabilities. Pitching aces Rube Marquard, Christy Mathewson and Jeff Tesreau had been given a second chance and were determined not to make the same mistakes that had cost them game-winning leads in the 1912 championship. Connie Mack's A's were a worthy opponent and many felt that this series would go down to the wire like the last one.
Marquard was given the Giants' start in the opener and was shelled for five runs and eight hits in five innings. The last Series' hero "Home Run Baker" validated his handle by driving in one run in the fourth and knocking a two run home run in the fifth. The Athletics' Chief Bender, faired the same and gave up an unlikely eleven hits while managing a slim 6-4 victory. The Giants' veteran journeyman, Christy Mathewson was given the ball for Game 2. "Matty" as he was called by teammates, was coming off of his next-to-last 20+ victory season in the majors as he posted a 25-11 record. The Bucknell star was matched up against his former collegiate rival, Eddie Plank from Gettysburg University. Both aces were at the top of their game, matching each other pitch-for-pitch through nine scoreless innings. Surprisingly, it was Mathewson himself, who managed to turn his adversary with a tenth inning single setting up a 3-0 triumph.
For Game 3, Mack decided to take a page from the last Series and start a bright twenty year-old rookie named "Bullet" Joe Bush who had won fourteen games for him during the regular season. McGraw answered the challenge with his own young gun, Jeff Tesreau, who had successfully debuted as a rookie in the previous Fall Classic. Philadelphia proved to be the better team that day and whopped the Giants' 8-2. The A's maintained their Series leading momentum well into Game 4 and were leading 6-0 after five innings. That was until Fred Merkle stepped up to the plate and fueled a Giants' comeback bid with a three run homer in the seventh. Bender was able to recover and the A's managed to hold on for a 6-5 victory. The win was Bender's fourth straight in Series competition.
Trailing three games to one, New York's Christy Mathewson once again, found himself sharing the mound with Game 1 rival Eddie Plank. However, this time Plank was in control, allowing only two hits in a shocking 3-1 decision and Series deciding victory. For the third consecutive year, the New York Giants had played magnificent during the regular season, only to fall short of a championship. It was a heartbreaking defeat to the players and their fans. McGraw and his Giants vowed to shake their "curse" and restore the club to it's former post-season glory. Little did they know that it would be four years before they would get another chance.
Home Run Baker had led the A's with a .450 batting average and seven runs batted in. Eddie Collins hit .421, while Wally Schang contributed six RBIs and a .357 average. Chief Bender's performances in Games 1 and 4 boosted his Series victories to six. Mathewson, pitching in what would be his final Series, wound up with a 5-5 lifetime mark in the Fall Classic. At one point, he was 4-0 after splitting two decisions in 1913.
Giants manager John McGraw, still smarting from consecutive World Seriess defeats, desperately wanted to beat Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics. Unfortunately for McGraw, as the World Series opened two of his regulars -- center fielder Fred Snodgrass and first baseman Fred Merkle -- were nursing injuries. Snodgrass would play, but sparingly, and Merkle's mobility was limited.
Already leading 3-1 in the fifth inning of Game 1, the Athletics scored another pair of runs when Home Run Baker blasted a two-run homer into the right-field bleachers. Given that big lead, A's starter Chief Bender allowed three runs in the bottom of the inning, but he clamped down and finished off a 6-4 Philadelphia victory.
With the World Series switching cities each game, Christy Mathewson and Eddie Plank both spun shutouts through nine innings of Game 2, but the Giants scored three times in the 10th on Matty's RBI single and Art Fletcher's two-run hit. Mathewson retired the A's in order in the bottom of the inning, and the Series was evened. Game 3 saw little drama, as the Athletics scored five runs in the first two innings on their way to an easy 8-2 win. Bullet Joe Bush went the distance to earn the victory, allowing only five hits. Philly made it two straight with a 6-5 win in Game 4. Chief Bender enjoyed a 6-0 lead after six frames, then held on as the Giants nearly mounted a comeback.
In Game 5, even the great Mathewson wasn't enough to keep the Giants alive, as Eddie Plank tossed a two-hitter. Home Run Baker, who led all World Series hitters with seven RBIs, knocked in two runs to lead the Athletics to the clinching victory, 3-1. For John McGraw, losing three straight World Series to the hated American Leaguers was a bitter pill.