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Harvey Haddix, Jr. (September 18, 1925 – January 8, 1994) was a Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher who played with the St. Louis Cardinals (1952–1956), Philadelphia Phillies (1956–1957), Cincinnati Redlegs (1958), Pittsburgh Pirates (1959–1963) and Baltimore Orioles (1964–1965). Haddix was born in Medway, Ohio, located just outside of Springfield. He was nicknamed "Kitten" in St. Louis for his resemblance to Harry "The Cat" Brecheen, a left-hander on the Cardinals during Haddix' rookie campaign.
Haddix enjoyed his best season in 1953 pitching for St. Louis. He compiled a 20-9 record with 163 strikeouts, a 3.06 ERA, 19 complete games and six shutouts. After five-plus seasons with the Cardinals, he was traded to the Phillies. He also pitched for Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and finished as an effective reliever with the Orioles.He was on the Pirate team that won the 1960 World Series, and was the winning pitcher of Game Seven as a reliever.
Haddix will always be remembered for taking a perfect game into the 13th inning of a game against the Milwaukee Braves on May 26, 1959. Haddix retired 36 consecutive batters in 12 innings essentially relying on two pitches: fastball and slider. However, his Pittsburgh teammates didn't score, as Braves pitcher Lew Burdette was also pitching a shutout.
After a fielding error by Don Hoak ended the perfect game in the bottom of the 13th, which brought Felix Mantilla to first base. Mantilla later advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, which was followed by an intentional walk to Hank Aaron. Joe Adcock then hit a home run, ending the no hitter and the game. However, in the confusion, Aaron left the basepaths and was passed by Adcock for the second out and the Braves won 2-0. Eventually the hit was changed from a home run to a double by a ruling from National League president Warren Giles; instead of three runs on a home run, Adcock was out having passed Aaron, and only the first Braves run counted. The score was changed to 1-0, but the Pirates and Haddix still lost.
|“||I could have put a cup on either corner of the plate and hit it.||”|
Haddix's 12 and 2/3-inning, one-hit complete game, against the team that had just represented the NL in the previous two World Series, is considered by many to be the best pitching performance in major league history. Mazeroski later said of Haddix's dominance in the game, "Usually you have one or two great or spectacular defensive plays in these no-hitters. Not that night. It was the easiest game I ever played in."
After the game, Haddix received many letters of congratulations and support, as well as one from a Texas A&M fraternity which read, in its entirety on university stationary, "Dear Harvey, Tough shit." "It made me mad," recounted Haddix, "until I realized they were right. That's exactly what it was."
In 1991, Major League Baseball changed the definition of a no-hitter to "a game in which a pitcher or pitchers complete a game of nine innings or more without allowing a hit." Despite having thrown more perfect innings than anyone in a single game, Haddix game was taken off some of the lists of perfect games. Haddix's response was "It's O.K. I know what I did." Haddix and Pedro Martinez, who pitched 9 perfect innings before giving up a double to start the 10th inning, deserve to be listed with the perfect games - even if given only a footnote.
In 1993, Milwaukee's Bob Buhl revealed that the Braves pitchers had been stealing the signs from Pittsburgh catcher Smoky Burgess, who was exposing his hand signals due to a high crouch. From their bullpen, Braves pitchers repeatedly repositioned a towel to signal for a fastball or a breaking ball, the only two pitches Haddix used in the game. Despite this assistance, the usually solid Milwaukee offense managed just the one hit. All but one Milwaukee hitter, Aaron, took the signals.
Over his 14-year career, Haddix had a 136-113 record with 1575 strikeouts, a 3.63 ERA, 99 complete games, 21 shutouts, 21 saves, and 2235 innings pitched in 453 games (285 as a starter). He was in the spotlight in the 1960 World Series against the Yankees. After winning Game Five as a starter, Haddix relieved in Game Seven and won when Bill Mazeroski hit his famous home run.
Harvey Haddix later followed his namesake Brecheen into the ranks of major league pitching coaches, working with the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Pirates. He died from emphysema in 1994 in Springfield, Ohio, at the age of 68.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- Near-Perfect Game box score and play by play
- Greatest Baseball Moments, at ESPN
- Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments: Haddix's Perfect Loss
|Preceded byWillie Mays||Major League Player of the Month|
May, 1959 (with Hank Aaron)
|Succeeded byRoy Face|
|Preceded byNone||National League Gold Glove Award (P)|
1958, 1959, 1960
|Succeeded byBobby Shantz|
|Preceded byCharlie Wagner||Boston Red Sox Pitching Coach1971||Succeeded byLee Stange|