Harvey Haddix

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Harvey Haddix
Harvey Haddix 1953.png
Haddix in 1953.
Pitcher
Born: (1925-09-18)September 18, 1925
Medway, Ohio
Died: January 8, 1994(1994-01-08) (aged 68)
Springfield, Ohio
Batted: LeftThrew: 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 record136–113
Earned run average3.63
Strikeouts1,575
Teams
Career highlights and awards
 
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Harvey Haddix
Harvey Haddix 1953.png
Haddix in 1953.
Pitcher
Born: (1925-09-18)September 18, 1925
Medway, Ohio
Died: January 8, 1994(1994-01-08) (aged 68)
Springfield, Ohio
Batted: LeftThrew: 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 record136–113
Earned run average3.63
Strikeouts1,575
Teams
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[edit]

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]

I could have put a cup on either corner of the plate and hit it.

—Harvey Haddix[1]

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]

Career[edit]

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]

Highlights[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

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
1966–1967
Succeeded by
Rube Walker
Preceded by
Mel Harder
Cincinnati Reds pitching coach
1969
Succeeded by
Larry Shepard
Preceded by
Charlie Wagner
Boston Red Sox pitching coach
1971
Succeeded by
Lee Stange
Preceded by
Clay Bryant
Cleveland Indians pitching coach
1975–1978
Succeeded by
Chuck Hartenstein
Preceded by
Larry Sherry
Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach
1979–1984
Succeeded by
Grant Jackson