Born into a wealthy family, Mathewson attended Bucknell University, but immediately after graduation signed with the New York Giants. Extremely intelligent, he was a master checkers player and once defeated the World checkers champion.
The dominant pitcher of his era, Christy Mathewson won more than 20 games for twelve straight years, including winning 30 or more games for three seasons in a row between 1903 and 1905. In 1908 he won 37 games, a National League record that still stands.
During his illustrious 17-year career, Mathewson won 373 games, of which 79 were shutouts, while losing only 188 with an astonishingly low career ERA of 2.13. He had outstanding control, striking out 2,502 batters while walking only 844. He pitched in four World Series, his team winning it in 1905 when he won three games by shutout. In 1916 he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, where he won the only game he pitched before becoming the team's manager.
During World War I, Christy Mathewson enlisted in the United States Army, serving overseas in 1918. He died at the age of 45, after suffering from tuberculosis. He is buried at Lewisburg Cemetery in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
In 1936, he became one of the first five players admitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.