Sunday, April 22, 2012


I should write about Earth Day but I've been lazy this week so how about baseball perfect games.

That fit young man on the right threw the first perfect game in 1880. Lee Richmond was the main pitcher for the hapless Worcester Ruby Legs for the entire three years they existed. It was a different game back then. It took seven balls to walk a batter; fielding gloves were only a little bigger than today's batting gloves; and the pitcher stood ten feet closer to the batter. Lee pretty much gave up pitching after they stopped playing baseball in Worcester.

Most Important
Don Larsen threw the only World Series perfect game in 1956 (but you already knew that). Don was a journeyman pitcher with a tendency to walk batters, he had 96 walks in 180 innings during the season. He beat the Yankees big rival of the decade, the Brooklyn Dodgers who had led the league in walks taken during the season. So, the surprising thing is Don went nine whole innings without walking anyone.

For four consecutive years from 1962 to 1965 Sandy Koufax threw a no-hitter. The last one was perfection. In 1965, Sandy pitched a perfect game with 14 strikeouts, the most in perfect game history, and only allowed seven flyballs to the outfield. His opponent, Bob Hendley, nearly matched him with a one-hitter. The only run of the game was scored by the Dodgers on a walk, sacrifice bunt, stolen base and throwing error.

Poor Harvey Haddix threw a perfect game in 1959. Unfortunately, his team was the Pittsburgh Pirates and they failed to score. The game continued. Perfect for the tenth, the eleventh, the twelfth. Thirty-six consecutive hitters put down. In the thirteenth Harvey was betrayed by an error from thirdbaseman Don Hoak. An intentional walk and a double put an end to everything. The winning pitcher, Lew Burdette, pitched all thirteen innings giving up twelve hits. Harvey Haddix is the only man to lose a perfect game.

Randy Johnson was the oldest (40) to throw a perfect game; Catfish Hunter the youngest (22). David Cone had the only perfect game interrupted by a rain delay. Ron Hassey is the only catcher to receive two perfect games.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Koufax was lucky that day not to follow in Harvey Haddix' footsteps. The Dodger hitters of the 60s could only barely be called "hitters".