Charlie Robertson’s Perfect Game

When Charles Robertson threw his perfect game on Sunday, April 30, 1922, the Chicago Tribune’s Irving Vaughan was there, and he filed this report the next day:

The name of Charles Robertson will live in baseball lore alongside those of Cy Young and Addie Joss. Hurling himself to heights attained only twice before in modern major league history, the young Texan today turned back the Tigers without a hit, without a run, and without a hostile reaching first base. To say the White Sox won is hardly necessary. The score was 2-0.

Fully 25,000 fans were packed into the arena to witness this thriller. At the start they were anything but favorable toward the lean Texan. They howled at him and booed him. The Tigers themselves tried to break him down by unwarranted complaints that he was practicing some illegal trick. Undaunted, Robby kept right on going, and when it was all over the fans showed their appreciation of his work by carrying him off the field.

Despite the startling results attained by Robertson, the game itself was not particularly spectacular. The Texan’s mates were not called upon to perform hair raising feats to keep the Tygers away from first base. Robby was so good that ordinary fielding was all he needed.

What made Robby the pitcher he was today, was control. He shot fast ones, slow ones, and hooks right through the spots where the other fellows didn’t like ’em.

As a sample of his effectiveness, it might be mentioned that only seven balls were hit on the ground. Fourteen were slammed into the air, and six of the twenty-seven batters took their medicine in the form of strikeouts.

Only six balls were driven into the outfield.

Just what caused the Tygers to break out with their protests against the young pitcher is a mystery. Nothing was said during the first four innings, but in the fifth Harry Heilmann, while batting, called for the ball and tried to show Umpire Nallin that it had been soiled by some foreign substance. Nallin found nothing wrong.

The fact that the arbiter could find no fault with Robby didn’t satisfy the Tygers, however. Heilmann continued to “wolf” throughout the game. Once Cobb even went out to first base to see whether Sheely’s glove did not conceal coloring matter. It didn’t.

Later, the irrepressible Tyrus inspected all parts of Robertson’s uniform. He was foiled again,  but even after it was all over he still insisted there was something wrong. To a spectator it sounded like the squawk of a trimmed sucker. . . .

Hurling against Robby this afternoon was Herman Pillette from the Portland, Ore., team.

He also performed fairly well, but even then was lucky not to have half a dozen runs scored against him. He was in trouble time and again, but the Sox nicked him for hits only seven times.

The rally that won the game, started with a pass to Hooper in the second inning. Mostil bunted along the third base line and beat the throw to first base, after which Strunk sacrificed. Sheely then drove a hard bounder between short and third. Jones managed to reach the ball, but couldn’t get his glove around it and it caromed off into the outfield for a hit, Hooper and Mostil scoring.

After the runs went across, no one dreamed they would be sufficient to clinch victory. The fans surely didn’t think Robby could maintain the pace.

They still howled at him when they rose en masse for the lucky seventh, but when he got by that point without results, sentiment changed. He suddenly became a hero, and when Bassler, a pinch hitter, sent a fly to Mostil for the concluding out, Robby got an ovation that an athlete seldom is granted on a  foreign field.

Some pictures from the Tribune: first the headline:


And second, the box score:


Read the play-by-play for the 27 outs here.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I read some were that ROBERTSON’S perfect game was almost lost when the final out was hit into left field a standing room only crowd that jostled the ball. During this umpire’s had to wait to see if the fielder actually caught the ball to make it a perfect game.

    Frank Kekes

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