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Transcript — LAZY MONDAY AFTERNOON — September 9, 1996


An Evening With Christy Mathewson

Lamb’s Theatre

130 West 44th Street

Whether you are a baseball fan or not, Eddie Frierson’s play, "MATTY: An Evening With Christy Mathewson," is a superb theatrical experience at the Lamb’s Theatre (130 West 44th in Manhattan).

Written and performed by Mr. Frierson, "MATTY" tells a tale of baseball’s Hall of Fame star Christy Mathewson at a time when baseball was in its infancy. But "MATTY" is more than a play about baseball, it is about a man whose presence transformed a ruffian dominated sport into the national pastime.

Mathewson was a country boy who went on to college at Bucknell University before starting his brilliant pitching career with the New York Giants. Women began flocking to the Giants’ games to watch "the college boy" pitch. He was the toast of New York and the Country, setting records for career victories and most games won in a season. He was also a man of moral convictions — never pitching on a Sunday because of a promise to his mother.

After his years with the Giants, Mathewson briefly played with and managed the Cincinnati Reds, then served in France in World War I, where he was the victim of a gas attack. He died of tuberculosis in 1925 and was one of the first players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame when it was established in 1936. Beyond baseball he was also a writer of novels and stories for boys, an endorser of products, an author on Broadway and an actor in Vaudeville.

Author and star Eddie Frierson, who once played baseball for UCLA, resembles Mathewson and gives a winning narrative performance. He also portrays other characters at the time including Mathewson’s fiery baseball manager, John McGraw, "Jinx Killer" Charley Faust, evil first baseman Hal Chase and many others.

Directed by Kerrigan Mahan, "MATTY" is solid and superior theatre even for someone who doesn’t know a double play from a double steal. "MATTY" hits a home run!