Jackson: Harvey Haddix and heartbreak in overtime

From SABR member Frank Jackson at The Hardball Times on December 20, 2019:

Imagine you are in a race with a clearly defined finish line. You are well in the lead as the race progresses and your victory seems assured…then you see the finish line receding in the distance. You keep on running, you’re getting winded, but you can’t get any closer to the finish line. Next thing you know … you’ve lost. It sounds like a bad dream, but that’s what happened to the Pirates’ Harvey Haddix on May 26, 1959.

Though it happened more than 60 years ago, the Haddix game has justifiably gone down in history as the ultimate pitcher’s heartbreak. Haddix, a 33-year-old veteran, was hampered by the flu bug, yet he pitched 12 perfect innings on the road against the Milwaukee Braves, only to lose the perfect game, the no-hitter, and the game in the bottom of the 13th.

Overlooked to a large degree was the performance (13 shutout innings, 12 hits, no walks) of winning pitcher Lew Burdette. Also overlooked was the fact that in 1959, Haddix led the league in hits-per-nine (7.6), WHIP (1.061) and lowest OBP (.268). In his 14-year career, Haddix fashioned a respectable career (136-113, 3.63 ERA, yet his 12 perfect/one imperfect inning game remains one of baseball’s most heralded feats.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/heartbreak-in-overtime/

Originally published: December 20, 2019. Last Updated: December 20, 2019.