Think of the best pitching performance you have ever seen or heard about in professional baseball. I bet names like Cy Young, Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Pedro Martinez, Don Larsen, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Matt Cain, and Felix Hernandez come to your mind. But does the name Harvey Haddix mean anything to you?
Harvey Haddix, the ace pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the late 1950's and early 1960's, pitched the greatest game in MLB history in 1959. You may not remember him because it was so long ago, it wasn't a perfect game, it wasn't a no-hitter, and he didn't even get the win.
So how on earth was that the best pitching performance ever?? Well, Haddix pitched a perfect game through 12 innings! It was not until the 13th inning when the perfection ended on an error.
After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk to (who else but) Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock hit what would be a walk-off 3 run homer. coincidentally, Joe Adcock passed Hank Aaron in his homerun trot so the Milwaukee Brewers were only credited with one run.
Since 1880, there have been 23 perfect games. But none of them were as great as Harvey Haddix's one-hitter.
Harvey Haddix's stat line went something like this: 12 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO
The final score was 1-0. The Pirates lost. Despite the loss, Harvey Haddix still pitched the greatest game in MLB history. So remember the name, Harvey Haddix, and think of him when you're thinking about the best pitching performances ever.