Monday, May 04, 2009

#67 Harvey Haddix

#67 Harvey Haddix
This is one of my favorite Orioles cards in this set. I remember reading about Harvey Haddix's lost-perfect-game (more on that later) as a kid, so a few years later it blew my mind when I found out that he went on to pitch for my favorite team. Harvey just has a classic baseball face; there's a lot of character in it. You can see every inch and line of that character in his 1964 Topps card, of course. I bet he would've been a big hit in the High Definition era.

Fun facts about Harvey Haddix:

-As a 21-year-old lefthander from Medway, OH, he signed with the Cardinals in 1947.

-Did not debut with St. Louis until 1952, in part because he served in the military the previous year. Was nicknamed "Kitten" due to his similarity to veteran teammate Harry "the Cat" Brecheen, who would later serve as his pitching coach in Baltimore.

-His first full season was the best of his career, as he went 20-9 with a 3.06 ERA and a league-leading six shutouts in 1953. He earned the first of three consecutive All-Star selections and was runner-up to Jim Gilliam in the Rookie of the Year voting, largely because Gilliam's Dodgers were the National League Champions.

-Won three straight Gold Gloves as the National League's top-fielding pitcher, 1958-1960.

-As a Pirate, turned in what is widely regarded as the best single-game pitching performance in major league history on May 26, 1959. Harvey threw 12 perfect innings against the defending N.L. champion Braves, but lost the whole ball of wax in the 13th. Third baseman Don Hoak's throwing error allowed Felix Mantilla to reach first. Eddie Mathews bunted the runner to second, Hank Aaron was intentionally walked, and Joe Adcock hit a three-run homer that was scored as a double thanks to a baserunning mishap. Eventually, the final score was recorded as 1-0. In 1993, ex-Brave Bob Buhl admitted that Milwaukee had been stealing signs, and still couldn't touch Haddix for 12 innings!

-Karma rewarded Harvey in 1960, as he won two games in the Pirates' seven-game World Series triumph over the Yankees, including the clincher in relief.

-Spent the last two years of his career (1964-1965) as a reliever for the Orioles, and excelled on an excellent Baltimore staff in 1964 (5-5, 2.31 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 10 SV).

-In parts of fourteen season, went 136-113 with 99 complete games, 1,575 strikeouts, and a 3.63 ERA.

-Because I love pitchers' hitting stats, Harvey was competent with the bat, hitting .212 in his career and turning in seasons of .289 and .309. He crushed the recently-featured Ron Kline (6-for-16, 2 BB, 2 K, 4 RBI, 1.069 OPS).

-Much like "the Cat", "the Kitten" became a pitching coach after he stepped off of the mound. He served in that capacity for the Mets, Reds, Red Sox, Indians, and Pirates.

-Haddix died in 1994 of emphesyma. He was 68 years old at the time.
#67 Harvey Haddix (back)


  1. Hey Kevin...

    "-Haddix died at age 64 of emphysema. He was 68 years old at the time."

    wait...what? LOL 4 bonus years!
    Haddix' O's cards are some of my favorites. Great cards!

  2. While I salute Haddix for his great game, I always argue for May 2, 1917, when Cincinnati's Fred Toney and Chicago's Jim "Hippo" Vaughn combined to pitch a dual no-hitter for nine innings (the Reds won 1-0 in the 10th). 36 in a row is amazing, but even Greg Minton retired 41 in a row (just not in the same game). Definitely in the top five though...

  3. Bob - Agh, I meant to say "died in 1994". Fixed now!

    Max - Finally, we have a Hippo Vaughn reference at The Great 1965 Topps Project. That is a heck of a game you mentioned!

  4. i am disappointed, i thought "-Haddix died at age 64 of emphysema. He was 68 years old at the time." was some kind of Mark Twain or Will Rogers-type witticism.

  5. I'm related to Harvey Haddix. :)