Home Page Steves Writings: Matty and the Browns: A Window Onto the AL-NL War (1901 - 1902)
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Matty and the Browns: A Window Onto the AL-NL War (1901 - 1902)

Steve's feature article, MATTY AND THE BROWNS: A WINDOW ONTO THE AL-NL WAR (1901-1902), has just been published in the Spring 2006 issue of Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, Vol. 14, No. 2.

It is based on a paper Steve delivered at the NINE Conference last spring about the ironclad contract that Christy Mathewson signed with the St. Louis Browns in the summer of 1902 and how Browns' owner Robert Lee Hedges gave up his rightful claim to Matty, to help broker the peace between the AL and the NL in January 1903. This remarkable story has been long forgotten and is a compelling tale. The article goes in depth and is heavily footnoted.

In the summer of 1902, the Browns were in first place most of the season (their inaugural campaign, after they raided the Cardinals of most of their best players), and the Giants were having another dreadful year. Mathewson was already an emerging star.

Only one book made the briefest of mentions of this incident, and that was Fred Lieb's lesser-known history, his 1950 The Baseball Story, p. 161:

"One can imagine the change in the fortunes of the Giants, John McGraw, the St. Louis Browns, and even of Mathewson himself, if the peace commissioners had awarded him to St. Louis instead of returning him to New York." 

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