Sunday, May 24, 2009

Harvey Haddix's Masterpiece

No one too young to hold a college degree could believe this, but the Pittsburgh Pirates once were a proud organization, unsurpassed among National League clubs in tradition and glory.

Strangely, their success was built almost entirely on decade upon decade of hitting -- Hall of Famers two deep at most fielding positions, especially crowded in the outfield -- with barely a peep from the pitchers. The batting tradition in Pittsburgh was so rich that some of the great Pirates -- Max Carey, Arky Vaughan, Ginger Beaumont, Kiki Cuyler, Al Oliver -- are barely remembered, crowded out by all-time giants (Honus Wagner, Paul Waner) or more recent stars (Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell). Not yet mentioned: the likes of Pie Traynor, Lloyd Waner, Fred Clarke and Dave Parker. I doubt any club beats the Pirates in tradition at bat.

And yet the greatest single-game performance in Pirates' history was that of a pitcher, Harvey Haddix. The extraordinary events of May 26, 1959, recounted in today's Post-Gazette, likely featured the most remarkable one-game performance by a pitcher in the history of major league baseball.

Hats off to Harvey Haddix.

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