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Hired for the express purpose of facing Mathewson just once, Johnson joined the tourists in Joplin, Mo., where the celebrated game was scheduled to take place on Monday, Oct. 27. But when snow from the previous day’s blizzard melted, the diamond was left a muddy mess, and Giants manager John McGraw decided not to pitch Mathewson, postponing the duel for the next day’s game. Johnson, not wanting to disappoint some 5,000 fans in attendance, pitched the first three innings. A pair of relievers finished the contest for the White Sox in what ultimately resulted in a sloppy 13-12 victory for the Giants.
The next day the tour stopped at Exhibition Park in Tulsa, Okla., and a crowd of at least 4,000 fans prepared for the face-off between Mathewson and Johnson. Once again, however, events conspired to quash the eagerly-awaited contest. Shortly before the scheduled start of the game, the ballpark’s right field bleachers collapsed, sending some 500 fans sprawling amidst the debris. Nearly 50 people were injured and one was killed. Astonishingly, after the injured were carted away and the jumble of seats cleared, local authorities decided to play the game. In fact, the players took the field just half an hour later than billed and, despite a persistent snowstorm, the contest went the full nine innings.
Johnson’s speed proved too much for the Giants, as the lanky fireballer tossed a complete-game shutout, scattering eight hits and striking out eight. Meanwhile, Mathewson lasted just four innings, giving up a pair of runs in the fourth before giving way to reliever Hooks Wiltse. There’s little doubt that the bitter cold, the blowing snow, and the shocking effects of the pregame accident resulted in the game being played as quickly as possible, as New York bowed to Chicago, 6-0, in just 70 minutes.
With the much-anticipated contest completed, the clubs continued barnstorming westward. In mid-November, Mathewson announced that he was leaving the ball-playing expedition in order to vacation in California with his wife and son. No doubt the highly-competitive Mathewson was disappointed with his lackluster 3-5 record during the tour, but the real reason behind his premature exit was his fear of seasickness. As he wife Jane later recalled, “It was a great fear. [In 1903] we took a boat trip on our honeymoon, a trip to Savannah where the Giants were training. He was terribly ill all the way down and nobody ever got him on a boat again.”