- "Thirty-seven and eleven last season. Earned run average of 1.96."
- ―Indiana Jones[src]
Christopher "Christy" Mathewson was an American baseball player for the New York Giants as a pitcher. In an era when many athletes were not good role models, Mathewson provided a positive role model with his Christian lifestyle.
Young Indiana Jones believed him to be one of the best players ever, and treasured his baseball card highest in his collection. While teaching his friend and fellow runaway, Lev, how to play baseball in Russia, Jones pretended to be his idol Mathewson and was stunned when Tolstoy scored a home run on him.
Behind the scenes
Mathewson was one of the five original baseball players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. He won the National League Triple Crown in 1905 and 1908.
The quote from Indiana Jones about Mathewson's statistics matches to his 1908 season for wins and losses, however his real life ERA for that year was 1.43, not 1.96 as Jones reported to Tolstoy. His career ERA to that point might have been 1.96. Jones' reference to "last season" may be an error on Jones' part since the last season prior to the episode's timeline would have been the 1909 season.
The Mathewson baseball card shown in Travels with Father is based on a baseball card issued by the American Tobacco Company (for Piedmont Cigarettes) from 1909-1911, and was therefore unavailable when Jones left the United States in 1908. However, it is possible Indy acquired the card during his travels.