Carl Mathias and the flip side of Boston’s biggest rally

One of the pleasures of researching a project like Boston’s 100 Greatest Games is to learn startling things, even if they don’t make it into the book. Like the story of an obscure pitcher named Carl Mathias.

The Red Sox, as I noted in the book’s introduction, once rallied for eight runs with two down in the ninth for a 13–12 win over the Washington Senators. That game, in June 1961, didn’t make the cut. But a detail from that game became lodged in my mind. While cross-referencing various sources, I noticed that Carl Mathias, Washington’s starting pitcher, was still in the game when the Red Sox started their historic rally. Then I noticed Mathias’s lifetime record: 0–2.

In other words, the poor guy was on the mound at Fenway Park with a seven-run lead in the ninth inning, one out away from picking up his first win in the major leagues … and he never got it.

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