LANCASTER -- A young ball player at Franklin & Marshall College now believes he is related to a baseball icon; one of the sport's all-time greats from an era that also featured Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Cy Young.
How would anyone know the little lefty is linked to a legend?
His wind-up doesn't give it away; nor does his glove hand or his knee-high blue socks.
But the name changes everything: Chris Mathewson.
It caught the attention of CBS 21 News Sports Director Jason Bristol. Little did the reporter know that Mathewson had just discovered for himself that he not only shared the same name as Christopher “Christy” Mathewson, he was related to the pitching great, as well.
"It just proves that, I guess, I was supposed to play baseball," said Chris Mathewson, a freshman pitcher for the Diplomats.
While growing up in Garnet Valley, Delaware County, Chris was told that a lot, too; but only recently did he really research his roots.
Chris’s grandfather told him that Christy Mathewson was a cousin of Chris’ great-grandfather.
Christy Mathewson was from Factoryville, Pa. In the early 1900s, he was larger than life. Mathewson was a gentleman and educated, too; he went to Bucknell and was one of the few players to attend college during that time.
A right-hander, Christy Mathewson won 373 games – only two men in history have more – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936, a member of the Hall’s first-ever class.
But Christy Mathewson only lives on in black-and-white film, not highlights in high-definition; that’s why many of Chris' teammates didn't know what to make of the connection.
"There are few guys who don't know who Christy Mathewson is, unfortunately," said assistant coach Ryan Horning.
“So, they don't get the connection?" asked CBS 21 News Sports Director Jason Bristol.
"No, they don't; but we're trying to teach them all," replied Horning.
Chris Mathewson is also learning -- how to pitch. Again, he’s just a freshman and has compiled a 1-0 record and 10.38 ERA this season in nine appearances. Odds are Chris will never mow down hitters like Christy did.
"Got a real good breaking ball, got a really good change-up," said Diplomats head coach Adam Taylor, when asked about Chris’ stuff. "Not going to blow anything by you, but he commands the strike zone pretty well."
"When I have a good outing, I credit...more of the relation (with Christy Mathewson)," said Chris Mathewson.
"When a bad outing comes into place, I downplay it (laugh)," he joked.
Obviously, one’s ERA has little to do with DNA. Yet Chris doesn't feel any pressure now to live up to a legend.
He says it’s just cool knowing he has a connection to the great Christy Mathewson.
"I just think it’s awesome that there's a relation – both playing baseball,” he said.
“So it's really neat."
Some video used in this story is courtesy of YouTube/TheDeadBallEra.com.