World Series: Scherzer vs. Cole and the best matchups ever

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros pitches during Game 1 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros pitches during Game 1 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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(photo by: GHI/Universal History Archive via Getty Images)
(photo by: GHI/Universal History Archive via Getty Images) /

7. Christy Mathewson vs. Andy Coakley, Game 3, 1905, +375 ERA+

It is time to lament the World Series matchup that might have been.

In only the second playing of the Fall Classic, fans anticipated a collision between Mathewson and Philadelphia Athletics left-handed ace Rube Waddell. Matty had run up a 31-5 record and league-leading 1.28 earned run average for John McGraw’s Giants, working  338 innings for a 230 ERA+.

Waddell was the left-handed version of Mathewson. He had gone 27-10 for Connie Mack’s A’s with a  league-leading 1.48 ERA and an astonishing 287 strikeouts. It all added up to a 179 ERA+, giving Waddell and  Mathewson a combined score of 409.

Alas, the matchup never took place. Waddell was injured late in the season and did not pitch in the Series. Instead, Mathewson was pitted against Eddie Plank, Andy Coakley, and Chief Bender in his three World Series starts, all of them shutout victories.

Of the three, Coakley, at 145, had the best ERA+, making his third game meeting with Mathewson the most attractive. But the game proved to be no contest. Giants batters lit into Coakley for nine runs and nine hits, and since Mathewson wasn’t giving anybody anything that was more than enough to give New York the Series edge. They clinched two days later on Mathewson’s third straight shutout.