The big league careers of Mordecai Brown, Walter Johnson, and Christy Mathewson overlapped for a decade of dominance from 1907-1916. During that time the trio combined for twenty 20-win seasons, three 30-win campaigns and 625 wins. At least one of them appeared in seven of the ten Fall Classics.
They were among the pitching backbone of the Deadball Era that lasted from the inception of the American League in 1901 and ended with the banning of the spitball and the emergence of Babe Ruth in 1920.
The end of the Deaball Era also coincided with the beginning of the Office of the Commissioner. The first man to hold the position was Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
Shown here is a letter written by Landis just three days before he took the job. In it Landis praises the aforementioned pitching trio.
Landis first mentions The Big Train and The Christian Gentleman before writing about Brown.
“Walter Johnson is one of the outstanding characters of the game. You can’t think of it without thinking of him,” Landis writes in the second paragraph. Appointed as a federal district court judge by President Teddy Roosevelt, Landis continues, “Men like he (Johnson), Mathison (sic), and Old Mordecai Brown, and a host of others, made a real contribution to our society.”
Though Landis letters are plentiful due to his position as commissioner, early letters with such outstanding baseball content are quite difficult to come by.