SABR

Thorn: Ring Lardner's eerie 'obituary' for Christy Mathewson

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on July 2, 2013:

Ring Lardner published this jocular “obituary” for Christy Mathewson in the Chicago Tribune on October July 22, 1916. Lardner’s standing column head in the Trib was the portentous “In the Wake of the News.” The “obituary” appeared alongside an account of Matty’s first game as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, a 6-4 loss in ten innings to the Phillies. Three years later the Black Sox Scandal would sour Lardner on baseball for life, though he would continue to write on the subject, concluding in 1933 with Lose with a Smile. Matty would require a more conventional obituary before that, succumbing on October 7, 1925 to tuberculosis brought on by gas poisoning in a World War training exercise.

The baseball world was shocked yesterday by the news that Christy Mathewson, one of the game’s greatest expo­nents, had signed to manage the Cincinnati Reds at the age of thirty-seven years, the very prime of life. Mathewson is the seventh prominent baseballist to succumb to this disease in a space of twelve years.

It is the opinion of prominent physicians that “Matty,” as he was fondly known, hastened his own end by taking up golf, which undermines the intellect and, thereby, the general health. Those who were closest to him say that he has never was the same since he first sliced off the tee.

There is no argument for prohibition in the case of the deceased. He was always abstemious. He took the best possible care of himself. Before being bitten by the golf bacillus, his favorite amusements were chess, checkers, poker, and auction bridge, at all of which athletic sports he excelled. He smoked, but never to excess. He usually retired before midnight and was careful as to his victuals.

Read the full article here: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2013/07/02/obituary-by-ring-lardner/

This page was last updated July 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm MST.

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