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Harvey Haddix

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Harvey Haddix

Harvey Haddix
Haddix in 1953.
Born: (1925-09-18)September 18, 1925
Medway, Ohio
Died: January 8, 1994(1994-01-08) (aged 68)
Springfield, Ohio
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
August 20, 1952 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
August 28, 1965 for the Baltimore Orioles
Career statistics
Win–loss record 136–113
Earned run average 3.63
Strikeouts 1,575
Career highlights and awards

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 (19561957), Cincinnati Redlegs (1958), Pittsburgh Pirates (1959–1963) and Baltimore Orioles (19641965). Haddix was born in Medway, Ohio, located just outside of Springfield. He was nicknamed "The Kitten" in St. Louis for his resemblance to Harry "The Cat" Brecheen, a left-hander on the Cardinals during Haddix's rookie campaign.[1]

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.[1] He was on the Pirate team that won the 1960 World Series, and was the winning pitcher of Game Seven as a reliever, the Pirates winning the game on Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth.

Haddix is perhaps best known for pitching 12 perfect innings in a game against the Milwaukee Braves; the Pirates lost the game in the 13th.

Near perfect game

Haddix will always be remembered for taking a perfect game into the 13th inning against the Milwaukee Braves on May 26, 1959. Haddix retired 36 consecutive batters in 12 innings essentially relying on two pitches: fastball and slider.[2][3] However, Braves pitcher Lew Burdette was also pitching a shutout.[1]

A fielding error by third baseman Don Hoak ended the perfect game in the bottom of the 13th, with the leadoff batter for Milwaukee, Félix Mantilla, reaching first base. Mantilla later advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Eddie Mathews, which was followed by an intentional walk to Hank Aaron. Joe Adcock then hit an apparent 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; only Mantilla's run counted, for a score of 1-0, but the Pirates and Haddix still lost.[1][4][5]

Haddix's 12 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.[1][6] 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."[1]

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 stationery, "Dear Harvey, Tough shit." "It made me mad", recounted Haddix, "until I realized they were right. That's exactly what it was."[1][7][8][9]

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;" the rule's formalization had the effect of proclaiming Adcock's drive singularly fatal to Haddix's no-hit bid, irrespective of the score or the game's ultimate outcome. Despite having thrown more perfect innings than anyone in a single game, Haddix's game was taken off the list of perfect games. Haddix's response was "It's O.K. I know what I did."[1]

Some years later, Milwaukee's Bob Buhl revealed that the Braves pitchers had been stealing 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.[1][10] All but one Milwaukee hitter, Aaron, took the signals.[1]


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).[11] He was in the spotlight in the 1960 World Series against the Yankees. After winning Game 5 as a starter, Haddix relieved in Game 7 and won when Bill Mazeroski hit his famous home run.[1]

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.[1][12]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Chen, Albert (June 1, 2009). "The Greatest Game Ever Pitched". Sports Illustrated: 62–67. Retrieved 2013-08-27. 
  2. ^ May 26, 1959 Pirates-Braves Box Score at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ May 26, 1959 Pirates-Braves Box Score at Baseball Almanac
  4. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (May 24, 2009). "Linked to Haddix’s Perfection by Western Union Ticker Tape".  
  5. ^ , Lew Freedman, McFarland, 2009, ISBN 0-7864-4124-0, ISBN 978-0-7864-4124-2Hard-Luck Harvey Haddix and the Greatest Game Ever Lost
  6. ^ Dvorchak, Bob (2009-07-24). "In 1959 Harvey Haddix pitched perhaps the best game ever -- and lost".  
  7. ^ , Mike Shannon, McGraw-Hill Professional, 1997, ISBN 0-8092-3107-7, ISBN 978-0-8092-3107-2Tales from the dugout: the greatest true baseball stories ever told
  8. ^ The Annotated This Day in Baseball History
  9. ^ , John McCollister, Sports Publishing LLC, 2003, ISBN 1-58261-630-2, ISBN 978-1-58261-630-8Tales From The Pirates Dugout
  10. ^ Harvey Haddix |
  11. ^ a b Harvey Haddix at Baseball Reference
  12. ^ Harvey Haddix obituary at the New York Times
  13. ^ National League Gold Glove Award winners at Baseball Reference
  14. ^ Baseball's Top 100: The Game's Greatest Records, p.29, Kerry Banks, 2010, Greystone Books, Vancouver, BC, ISBN 978-1-55365-507-7

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
  • ESPNGreatest Baseball Moments, at
  • Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments: Haddix's Perfect Loss
  • Harvey Haddix at Find a Grave
Preceded by
Willie Mays
Major League Player of the Month
May, 1959 (with Hank Aaron)
Succeeded by
Roy Face
Preceded by
Wes Westrum
New York Mets pitching coach
Succeeded by
Rube Walker
Preceded by
Mel Harder
Cincinnati Reds pitching coach
Succeeded by
Larry Shepard
Preceded by
Charlie Wagner
Boston Red Sox pitching coach
Succeeded by
Lee Stange
Preceded by
Clay Bryant
Cleveland Indians pitching coach
Succeeded by
Chuck Hartenstein
Preceded by
Larry Sherry
Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach
Succeeded by
Grant Jackson
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