Baseball can be a cruel mistress. Just ask Harvey “Hard Luck Harv” Haddix. Never heard of him have you? Neither did I, but he is responsible for the greatest pitching performance in baseball history. Despite the most dominate performance a pitcher has ever had, he still lost the game. You’re probably saying “wait how can a pitching performance be so great if the guy lost”? It’s not like he threw a perfect game. Ah, but he did throw a perfect game, and more. On May 26, 1959, against the Milwaukee Braves, Haddix toed the rubber for the Pittsburgh Pirates. With just a fastball and a slider, the Braves couldn’t figure out the southpaw. Inning after inning, batter after batter, Haddix dominated the Braves potent lineup. Haddix said that “I could have put a cup on either side of the plate and hit it” and displayed pinpoint control with the baseball. Even with the Braves bullpen pitchers stealing the signs and telling the hitters what was coming, the Braves still couldn’t buy a hit. Finally, after 9 innings, Haddix had done it- 27 up 27 down- a perfect game, erh sort of. Despite the performance, the Pirates offense couldn’t score a single run in order to get Harvey the win. So what did he do, he kept pitching. Soon the 10th,11th, and 12th, innings flew by with Haddix still perfect. Finally, in the 13th, the pursuit of perfection was over. After an error by Don Hoak, a sac bunt, and a home run by Joe Adcock the shutout and no-hitter evaporated too. The game would end in a 2-0 loss for the Pirates and
Harvey’s performance was soon forgotten. How can we judge this performance? A record of 36 outs of pitching perfection, or a performance that should be forgotten without the win? Without question this was one of the greatest feats in baseball history. To get 27 outs in a row is almost impossible as it is, but 36? Think of all the factors that have to go into a perfect game. As human beings, we are designed to be imperfect, to have flaws. Baseball is a great representation of this because while a pitcher can be perfect, his team can be imperfect. The whole perfect game was broken up because of a fielding error. Trying to be perfect in an imperfect game filled with fielding errors, bloop singles, bad umpires, and bad luck is just a representation of what we have to through in life. If anything, Haddix has taught us all an important life lesson. No matter how perfect we are, we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Instead of blaming people for their imperfections, or in this case, costing a player the greatest pitching performance ever, you just have to let it go. It’s tough to do, but we have to accept that the past has already been written and that all we can do is be ready to write our future.