13 of the most extraordinary baseball games of all time

Over the past nearly 100 years, a baker's dozen worth of outrageous major league baseball games.

9. May 26, 1959: Harvey Haddix dealt gut-wrenching defeat after 12 perfect innings


The Milwaukee Braves defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 1-0.

Unlike most of the games listed here, this one is famous, even if many of the details have been forgotten over the years. Although one of the smallest pitchers of his era at 5 ft., 5 in. and 155 lbs., Pittsburgh southpaw Harvey Haddix battled for 12 innings against Milwaukee’s Lew Burdette, retiring 36 straight batters in what some have called “the greatest game ever pitched.” His perfect game and shutout all went out the window in the top of the 13th, when Braves slugger Joe Adcock hit a double to drive in Felix Mantilla, who had reached base on an error in leading off the frame and advanced to second on a sacrifice.

Additional facts:

- Haddix reportedly felt under the weather on the day of the game. 

- Dick Hoak, the Pirate infielder whose error ended Haddix’s perfect game, shared a cab back to the team hotel with Haddix afterward. (How’s that for forgiveness?)

- Joe Adcock’s winning hit appeared to be a three-run homer, since two runners had reached base before him via an error and an intentional walk. But in his enthusiasm, Adcock passed one of the runners on the base paths. This mistake didn’t wipe out the winning run, but it gave him a double and a single RBI. 

- The game was relatively short given the number of innings, lasting just 2 hours and 54 minutes.

- Haddix’s brilliance tended to overshadow Burdette’s effort to go the distance in a complete-game shutout in which he limited Pittsburgh to 12 singles and didn’t walk a batter.

- The game, which marked the first and only time a perfect game went beyond nine innings, was not televised. 

- Haddix’s masterpiece came against the powerhouse lineup of the two-time defending National League champion Braves, whose batting order boasted a murderer’s row of Hank Aaron, Adcock, Eddie Mathews, Wes Covington, and Del Crandall. Aaron was batting a blazing .453 at the time. 

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