Making history

First Posted: 4/14/2015

SCRANTON – From Christy Mathewson to Cory Spangenberg, the history of northeastern Pennsylvanians in Major League Baseball is being told in a new exhibit at Everhart Museum.

“Baseball Dreams: They Played the Game” opened last week and will continue through Oct. 12.

Mathewson is the first of six inductees in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum who is featured in the exhibit. In fact, the Factoryville native was part of the original group of five enshrined in Cooperstown, New York along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson.

While Mathewson is positioned to perhaps forever remain as the most legendary baseball figure to come out of the region, Spangenberg is the newest to make it to the majors.

Spangenberg, who led Abington Heights to a state Class AAA title on his graduation day in 2009, made it to the San Diego Padres last September and made the team again coming out of spring training this year.

“The outcove space has a summary history of baseball to bring people up to speed by giving them the context, not just of the general history of baseball, but baseball in this region,” Everhart Museum executive director Cara Sutherland said. “ … It’s a combination of historic photographs – new printing of historic images, many of which are from the Library of Congress – and some artifacts that are on loan from Keystone College and other lenders.”

The items from Keystone help make Mathewson the prominent figure at the exhibit. Books written by Mathewson are among the items on display.

A more modern portion of the room, which includes information about the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, includes one of Spangenberg’s gloves.

Mathewson was born in Factoryville in 1880. He spent much of his career with the New York Giants, winning 20 games as a rookie in 1901.

That was just the start of posting impressive numbers. Mathewson pitched three shutouts in the 1905 World Series and won 37 games in 1908, the fifth time in six seasons that he led the National League in strikeouts.

Mathewson served in the Army in France during World War I. He was accidentally gassed during training and suffered from tuberculosis for seven years until his death in 1925.

The first Hall of Fame class was inducted in 1936.

A listing of players from northeastern Pennsylvania, which is part of the exhibit, also includes Henry Mathewson.

Henry Mathewson, Christy’s younger brother, was born in Factoryville in 1886. He pitched three games for the New York Giants in 1906 and 1907. He died in 1917.

Spangenberg made an impressive debut as a September call-up by the Padres, the team that made him a first-round pick in the Major League Baseball Draft. He hit .290 with two homers and nine runs batted in during 20 games.

This season, Spangenberg has started once and come off the bench six times in the first eight San Diego games. He is 1-for-7 at the plate (.143).

Six Hall of Famers are at the focus of the Everhart display.

Scranton artist William Chickillo provided the collages and other creative works that are part of the presentation.

The other Hall of Famers from northeastern Pennsylvania are Hughie Jennings and Stanley “Bucky” Harris from Pittston, Ed Walsh from Plains Township, Stan Coveleski from Shamokin and Nestor Chylak from Olyphant.

The exhibit also recognizes “Honest” Eddie Murphy and Jean Marlowe, among others.

Murphy, from Dunmore, received his nickname as one of the 1919 Chicago White Sox, who was not implicated for fixing the World Series. Scranton’s Marlowe, born Jean Malonoski, was one of the stars of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and is one of the AAGPBL players recognized in the Women in Baseball exhibit in Cooperstown.

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