Harvey Haddix’s 12 Innings of Perfection

On May 26, 1959, in Milwaukee, Harvey Haddix, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ left-hander, pitched a perfect game through 12 innings, but did not have the win over the Braves because it was a 0-0 tie. Then, leading off the 13th, the Braves’ second baseman, Felix Mantilla, hit a routine grounder to Don Hoak, the Pirates’ third baseman. Later on, Haddix said: “I’ll never forget that play. Hoak had all night after picking up the ball. He even looked at the seams. And then he threw it away.”

Eddie Mathews bunted Mantilla over, Haddix walked Henry Aaron intentionally to set up the double play, and Joe Adcock hit a drive over Bill Virdon and the wire fence in right-center for a homer, or, as it turned out when Aaron left the basepath after touching second, a double and a 1-0 defeat for Haddix.

He said: “Whatever the score, it was a heartbreaking defeat. It still hurts.” In 1989, Haddix remembered: “Every batter, it was zip, zip — two strikes. I’ve had a lot better stuff than that night, but I never had control like that.”

Haddix died in January of 1994. After the death, Adcock said: “He [Haddix] knew what he had in mind when he let the ball loose. The wind had been blowing in all night and maybe it was a freak because when I came to bat, the flag in center field was still. I was thinking he’d been keeping the ball away from me all night and maybe he’d do it again, and he did and I hit it.”

You can read quite a bit more about Haddix and his extra-perfect game in a 50th anniversary article Sports Illustrated ran this summer. Or, read about Pedro Martinez taking his perfect game into the 10th inning and losing it.


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