My late father was quite a baseball fan. He loved telling my brother and I lots of baseball stories. Like many of our fathers and grandfathers, he followed major league baseball on the radio, TV and those wonderful sports pages in Cuban newspapers.
One of his favorite stories was about Harvey Haddix and perhaps one of the greatest pitching performances ever.
This is what happened on this day in 1959:
“Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves, only to lose the game on a two-run double by Braves’ first baseman Joe Adcock in the 13th inning.
It was the first time a pitcher threw more than nine perfect innings in major league history…
Haddix took the mound in the 13th inning after retiring 36 Braves in a row, nine more than usually required for a perfect game.
The fleet-footed second baseman Felix Mantillia came to bat first. He hit a grounder to Pirate third baseman Don Hoak, who threw the ball across the diamond and into the dirt near first baseman Rocky Nelson.
Mantillia was safe, and the perfect game was over, though the no-hitter remained intact.
The next batter, Hall of Famer Eddie Matthews, sacrificed Mantillia to second base.
Then Hank Aaron, who was leading the National League in batting, came to the plate. Haddix intentionally walked the future career home run king on four pitches.
Adcock was up next, and he hit a drive that just cleared the fence in right-center field.
In their jubilation over the win, the Braves became muddled on the base paths, and Adcock passed Aaron between second and third base.
The umpire Frank Dascoli called Adcock out, changing his three-run homer to a two-run double after several minutes of deliberation.”
It was the greatest pitching performance ever but he lost the game.
Harvey Haddix won 136 games with a 3.63 ERA. His best years were with the Cards and Pirates. On this day in 1959, he had everyone talking about what he did in Milwaukee!