Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The first perfect game - Cy Young

As promised, the August installment of book review will be broken into installments chronicling the 14 perfect games detailed in “27 Men Out” by Michael Coffey. Andrew will also be delighted to know that the author was inspired to write the book after witnessing David Cone’s perfect game.

While I have read only of the games so far, I was pleasantly surprised that the writing (at least in the first one) is not a detailed account of the game, but it set the stage for the game and the details of the actual perfect game itself, were minimal. Which I like.

Continued in comments.

1 comment:

  1. The first perfect game (of modern times) was thrown by Cy Young in May 1904 for the Boston Somersets (named after their owner Charles Somers) – who would officially become the Red Sox in 1907. There were two earlier perfect games perfect (five days apart in 1880), but they were in old days when pitchers threw underhand from 45 feet away and it took 8 balls to walk a batter.

    Lots of details on early baseball were give. A few items of note:

    Cy Young was born Denton True Young and received the nickname Cy, short for Cyclone because he threw so hard he often broke the backstops and left them splintered as if a cyclone had swept through.

    His opponent in the game was Hall of Famer Rube Waddell – the original eccentric lefty. Of Wadell it was written: “Rube began that year sleeping in a firehouse in Camden, NJ and ended it tending bar at a saloon in wheeling, WV. In between those events he won 21 games for the Philly A’s, played left end for the Business Men’s Rugby Football club of Grand Rapids, toured the nation in a melodrama called Stain the Guilt, courted married and became separated from May Skinner of Lynn, Massachusetts, saved a woman from drowning, accidentally shot a friend, and was bitten by a lion.” Also the following year he missed some of spring training recovering from bites suffered while wrestling an alligator. And we get frustrated with some of Manny and Johnny Damon’s antics.

    Not only did Young pitch the perfect game, but he had made two appearances prior to that start (one in relief) in which he had compiled 14 scoreless innings, the last 7 hitless. Combined with his perfect game and then his next start he pitched 15 (fifteen!) shutout innings, holding the Tigers hitless for the first 6. so even though his 45 consecutive scoreless innings were surpassed several times, his 24 hitless innings streak remains unchallenged.

    At the time, the game was viewed more as an oddity than anything truly special.