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Harvey Haddix, Jr. (September 18, 1925 – January 8, 1994) was an American professional baseball player and coach. He played in Major League Baseball as a left-handed pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals (1952–56), Philadelphia Phillies (195657), Cincinnati Reds (1958), Pittsburgh Pirates (1959–63) and Baltimore Orioles (196465). Haddix was born in Medway, Ohio, located just outside 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]

Harvey Haddix
Harvey Haddix 1953.png
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
MLB statistics
Win–loss record136–113
Earned run average3.63
Career highlights and awards

Haddix is most notable for pitching 12 perfect innings in a game against the Milwaukee Braves on May 26, 1959; the Pirates lost the game in the 13th.

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.

Near-perfect gameEdit

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] which was seriously jeopardized on only three occasions: the 3rd inning, when a base-running blunder negated three consecutive singles; the 9th, when Pittsburgh finally advanced a runner as far as third base;[4] and the 10th, when pinch hitter Dick Stuart came within a few feet of ending Burdette's shutout bid with a two-run homer.[5]

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][6][7]

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][8] 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][9][10][11]

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 his 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]

In May 1989, Milwaukee's Bob Buhl revealed that the Braves pitchers had been stealing signs from Pittsburgh catcher Smokey Burgess, who was exposing his hand signals due to a high crouch.[12] 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][13] All but one Milwaukee hitter, Aaron, took the signals.[1]


Over his 14-year career, Haddix had a 136-113 record with 1,575 strikeouts, a 3.63 ERA, 99 complete games, 21 shutouts, 21 saves, and 2,235 innings pitched in 453 games (285 as a starter).[14] He was in the spotlight in the 1960 World Series against the Yankees. After winning Game 5 as a starter, Haddix relieved late in Game 7 and won when Bill Mazeroski hit his famous home run.[1]

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][15]



Haddix's near-perfect game is memorialized by The Baseball Project, whose song, "Harvey Haddix", appears on their debut album, Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails (2008).

Haddix Field, the little league baseball park in New Carlisle, Ohio is named for Haddix.


  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 2015-10-22.
  2. ^ May 26, 1959 Pirates-Braves Box Score at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ May 26, 1959 Pirates-Braves Box Score at Baseball Almanac
  4. ^ Biederman, Les (May 27, 1959). "Haddix Loses 'Greatest Game'; Pirate Lefty Hurls 12 Perfect Innings Before Bowing, 1-0; Bucs' 12 Hits to No Avail". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  5. ^ Biederman, Les (May 27, 1959). "The Scoreboard: Pirates Tried Hard to Win for Haddix; Loss Hard to Take; Haddix had Terrific Control". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  6. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (May 24, 2009). "Linked to Haddix's Perfection by Western Union Ticker Tape". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  7. ^ Lew Freedman (2009). Hard-Luck Harvey Haddix and the Greatest Game Ever Lost. McFarland. ISBN 9780786441242.
  8. ^ Dvorchak, Bob (2009-07-24). "In 1959 Harvey Haddix pitched perhaps the best game ever -- and lost". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  9. ^ Tales from the dugout: the greatest true baseball stories ever told, Mike Shannon, McGraw-Hill Professional, 1997 ISBN 0-8092-3107-7 ISBN 978-0-8092-3107-2
  10. ^ The Annotated This Day in Baseball History
  11. ^ Tales From The Pirates Dugout, John McCollister, Sports Publishing LLC, 2003 ISBN 1-58261-630-2 ISBN 978-1-58261-630-8
  12. ^ Bouchette, Ed. "Flashback: "Some perfect—and imperfect—memories of Haddix's game. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 24, 1989. pp. 21, 23. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  13. ^ Harvey Haddix | Archived 2004-06-03 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ a b Harvey Haddix at Baseball Reference
  15. ^ Harvey Haddix obituary at the New York Times
  16. ^ National League Gold Glove Award winners at Baseball Reference
  17. ^ 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 linksEdit