Not Quite a Perfect Game

On May 26, 1959, Harvey Haddix pitched 12 perfect innings.  He pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Milwaukee Braves, in Milwaukee, keeping a roster that included both Eddie Matthews and Henry Aaron hitless and off the base paths.  Unfortunately for him, the Pirates were also unable to score, and the game went to a 13th inning.

Here’s how the bottom of the 13th unfolded:

1) Felix Mantilla reached on an error by third baseman Don Hoak.  That ended the perfect game bid.

2) Eddies Matthews, belter of over 500 homers in his HoF career, laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to second with one out.

3) Henry Aaron was intentionally walked.

4) Joe Adcock hit what appeared to be a 3 -run walk-off home run. No hitter gone, victory gone.  But…if you look at the line score, the final was 1-0 Braves, not 3-0.  Aaron, for unknown reason, ran off the base paths.  Adcock passed him.  The NL president ruled the game winning hit a double as a result.  Mantilla had already scored, thus 1-0.  Aaron was out, and the run unearned.

Harvey Haddix’ line that day:  12 2/3 innings pitched, 1 hit, 1 run, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts.  He didn’t win, but he garnered a permanent spot in baseball lore.

The Braves’ pitcher that day was Lew Burdette.  He gave up 12 hits, but no Pirate ever crossed the plate, so it’s in the books as a 13 inning complete game victory for him.


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