Harvey Haddix

Harvey Haddix, Jr. (September 18, 1925 – January 8, 1994) was a Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher who played with the St. Louis Cardinals (1952–56), Philadelphia Phillies (195657), Cincinnati Reds (1958), Pittsburgh Pirates (1959–63) and Baltimore Orioles (196465). Haddix was born in Medway, Ohio, located just outside Springfield. He was nicknamed "The Kitten" in St. Louis for his resemblance to Harry "The Cat" Brecheen, a left-hander on the Cardinals during Haddix's rookie campaign.[1]

Haddix is likely best known for pitching 12 perfect innings in a game against the Milwaukee Braves on May 26, 1959; the Pirates lost the game in the 13th.

Haddix enjoyed his best season in 1953 pitching for St. Louis. He compiled a 20-9 record with 163 strikeouts, a 3.06 ERA, 19 complete games and six shutouts. After five-plus seasons with the Cardinals, he was traded to the Phillies. He also pitched for Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and finished as an effective reliever with the Orioles.[1] He was on the Pirate team that won the 1960 World Series, and was the winning pitcher of Game Seven as a reliever, the Pirates winning the game on Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth.

Harvey Haddix
Harvey Haddix 1953
Haddix in 1953.
Pitcher
Born: September 18, 1925
Medway, Ohio
Died: January 8, 1994 (aged 68)
Springfield, Ohio
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
August 20, 1952, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
August 28, 1965, for the Baltimore Orioles
MLB statistics
Win–loss record136–113
Earned run average3.63
Strikeouts1,575
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Near-perfect game

Haddix will always be remembered for taking a perfect game into the 13th inning against the Milwaukee Braves on May 26, 1959. Haddix retired 36 consecutive batters in 12 innings, essentially relying on two pitches: fastball and slider.[2][3] However, Braves pitcher Lew Burdette was also pitching a shutout,[1] which was seriously jeopardized on only three occasions: the 3rd inning, when a base-running blunder negated three consecutive singles; the 9th, when Pittsburgh finally advanced a runner as far as third base;[4] and the 10th, when pinch hitter Dick Stuart came within a few feet of ending Burdette's shutout bid with a two-run homer.[5]

A fielding error by third baseman Don Hoak ended the perfect game in the bottom of the 13th, with the leadoff batter for Milwaukee, Félix Mantilla, reaching first base. Mantilla later advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Eddie Mathews, which was followed by an intentional walk to Hank Aaron. Joe Adcock then hit an apparent home run, ending the no-hitter and the game. However, in the confusion, Aaron left the basepaths and was passed by Adcock for the second out and the Braves won 2-0. Eventually the hit was changed from a home run to a double by a ruling from National League president Warren Giles; only Mantilla's run counted, for a score of 1-0, but the Pirates and Haddix still lost.[1][6][7]

I could have put a cup on either corner of the plate and hit it.
— Harvey Haddix[1]

Haddix's 12 2/3-inning, one-hit complete game, against the team that had just represented the NL in the previous two World Series, is considered by many to be the best pitching performance in major league history.[1][8] Mazeroski later said of Haddix's dominance in the game, "Usually you have one or two great or spectacular defensive plays in these no-hitters. Not that night. It was the easiest game I ever played in."[1]

After the game, Haddix received many letters of congratulations and support, as well as one from a Texas A&M fraternity which read, in its entirety on university stationery, "Dear Harvey, Tough shit." "It made me mad", recounted Haddix, "until I realized they were right. That's exactly what it was."[1][9][10][11]

In 1991, Major League Baseball changed the definition of a no-hitter to "a game in which a pitcher or pitchers complete a game of nine innings or more without allowing a hit;" the rule's formalization had the effect of proclaiming Adcock's drive singularly fatal to Haddix's no-hit bid, irrespective of the score or the game's ultimate outcome. Despite his having thrown more perfect innings than anyone in a single game, Haddix's game was taken off the list of perfect games. Haddix's response was "It's O.K. I know what I did."[1]

In May 1989, Milwaukee's Bob Buhl revealed that the Braves pitchers had been stealing signs from Pittsburgh catcher Smokey Burgess, who was exposing his hand signals due to a high crouch.[12] From their bullpen, Braves pitchers repeatedly repositioned a towel to signal for a fastball or a breaking ball, the only two pitches Haddix used in the game. Despite this assistance, the usually solid Milwaukee offense managed just the one hit.[1][13] All but one Milwaukee hitter, Aaron, took the signals.[1]

Career

Over his 14-year career, Haddix had a 136-113 record with 1,575 strikeouts, a 3.63 ERA, 99 complete games, 21 shutouts, 21 saves, and 2,235 innings pitched in 453 games (285 as a starter).[14] He was in the spotlight in the 1960 World Series against the Yankees. After winning Game 5 as a starter, Haddix relieved late in Game 7 and won when Bill Mazeroski hit his famous home run.[1]

Haddix later followed his namesake Brecheen into the ranks of major league pitching coaches, working with the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Pirates.

Death

He died from emphysema in 1994 in Springfield, Ohio, at the age of 68.[1][15]

Highlights

Tributes

Haddix's near-perfect game is memorialized by The Baseball Project, whose song, "Harvey Haddix", appears on their debut album, Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails (2008).

Haddix Field, the little league baseball park in New Carlisle, Ohio is named for Haddix.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Chen, Albert (June 1, 2009). "The Greatest Game Ever Pitched". Sports Illustrated: 62–67. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
  2. ^ May 26, 1959 Pirates-Braves Box Score at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ May 26, 1959 Pirates-Braves Box Score at Baseball Almanac
  4. ^ Biederman, Les (May 27, 1959). "Haddix Loses 'Greatest Game'; Pirate Lefty Hurls 12 Perfect Innings Before Bowing, 1-0; Bucs' 12 Hits to No Avail". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  5. ^ Biederman, Les (May 27, 1959). "The Scoreboard: Pirates Tried Hard to Win for Haddix; Loss Hard to Take; Haddix had Terrific Control". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  6. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (May 24, 2009). "Linked to Haddix's Perfection by Western Union Ticker Tape". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  7. ^ Lew Freedman (2009). Hard-Luck Harvey Haddix and the Greatest Game Ever Lost. McFarland. ISBN 9780786441242.
  8. ^ Dvorchak, Bob (2009-07-24). "In 1959 Harvey Haddix pitched perhaps the best game ever -- and lost". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  9. ^ Tales from the dugout: the greatest true baseball stories ever told, Mike Shannon, McGraw-Hill Professional, 1997 ISBN 0-8092-3107-7 ISBN 978-0-8092-3107-2
  10. ^ The Annotated This Day in Baseball History
  11. ^ Tales From The Pirates Dugout, John McCollister, Sports Publishing LLC, 2003 ISBN 1-58261-630-2 ISBN 978-1-58261-630-8
  12. ^ Bouchette, Ed. "Flashback: "Some perfect—and imperfect—memories of Haddix's game. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 24, 1989. pp. 21, 23. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  13. ^ Harvey Haddix | BaseballLibrary.com Archived 2004-06-03 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ a b Harvey Haddix at Baseball Reference
  15. ^ Harvey Haddix obituary at the New York Times
  16. ^ National League Gold Glove Award winners at Baseball Reference
  17. ^ Baseball's Top 100: The Game's Greatest Records, p.29, Kerry Banks, 2010, Greystone Books, Vancouver, BC, ISBN 978-1-55365-507-7

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Willie Mays
Major League Player of the Month
May, 1959 (with Hank Aaron)
Succeeded by
Roy Face
Preceded by
Wes Westrum
New York Mets pitching coach
1966–1967
Succeeded by
Rube Walker
Preceded by
Mel Harder
Cincinnati Reds pitching coach
1969
Succeeded by
Larry Shepard
Preceded by
Charlie Wagner
Boston Red Sox pitching coach
1971
Succeeded by
Lee Stange
Preceded by
Clay Bryant
Cleveland Indians pitching coach
1975–1978
Succeeded by
Chuck Hartenstein
Preceded by
Larry Sherry
Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach
1979–1984
Succeeded by
Grant Jackson
1952 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1952 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 71st season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 61st season in the National League. The Cardinals went 88–66 during the season and finished 3rd in the National League.

Following his acquisition during the offseason, Eddie Stanky was named player-manager and eased himself out of the lineup over the course of the season.

1953 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1953 Philadelphia Phillies season was the 71st in franchise history.

1954 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1954 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in Major League Baseball. The Phillies finished fourth in the National League with a record of 75 wins and 79 losses.

1955 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1955 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 22nd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 12, 1955, at Milwaukee County Stadium, the home of the Milwaukee Braves of the National League.

1955 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1955 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 74th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 64th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 68–86 during the season and finished seventh in the National League, 30½ games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Outfielder Bill Virdon won the Rookie of the Year Award this year, batting .281, with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs. This was the second consecutive year a Cardinal won the Rookie of the Year Award, with Wally Moon winning the previous season. The Cardinals would have this occur again in 1985 and 1986, with Vince Coleman and Todd Worrell, respectively.

1959 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1959 Philadelphia Phillies season was the 77th season in the history of the franchise. During spring training, manager Eddie Sawyer told the press, "We're definitely not a last place club... I think the biggest thing we've accomplished is getting rid of the losing complex. That alone makes us not a last place club." The Phillies finished in last place in 1959, seven games behind seventh-place St. Louis and 23-games behind the pennant and World Series winning Dodgers.

1959 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1959 Pittsburgh Pirates season saw the team finish in fourth place in the National League at 78–76, nine games behind the NL and World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

1960 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the team's 79th season. The team finished with a record of 95–59–1, seven games in front of the second-place Milwaukee Braves to win their first National League championship in 33 seasons. The team went on to play the heavily favored New York Yankees, whom they defeated 4 games to 3 in one of the most storied World Series ever.

1965 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1965 Baltimore Orioles season involved the Orioles finishing 3rd in the American League with a record of 94 wins and 68 losses.

Billy Queen (baseball)

William Eddleman Queen (November 28, 1928 – April 23, 2006) nicknamed "Doc", was an American outfielder in Major League Baseball. Listed at 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m), 185 pounds (84 kg), he batted and threw right-handed.

The native of Gastonia, North Carolina, was 25 years old when he entered the Majors in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves. A right fielder, he was hitless in his only two at bats in three games. He struck out against Harvey Haddix of the St. Louis Cardinals on April 24, and whiffed the following day against Al Brazle.

He then was sent to the Triple-A Toledo Sox to continue what would be a 14-season (1947–1960) minor league career.

Queen died in Gastonia at the age of 77.

Dave Hillman

Darius Dutton "Dave" Hillman (born September 14, 1927) is an American former professional baseball player, a pitcher who played in Major League Baseball between the 1955 and 1962 seasons. Listed at 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) and 168 pounds (76 kg), he batted and threw right-handed.

Hillman entered the majors in 1955 with the Chicago Cubs, playing for them five years before joining the Boston Red Sox (1960–61), Cincinnati Reds (1962) and New York Mets (1962). In 1956 had a 21–7 record with a 3.38 earned run average while playing most of the season for the PCL Los Angeles Angels.

His most productive Major League season came in 1959 with the Cubs, when he posted career-numbers in appearances (39), wins (8), starts (24), complete games (4), strikeouts (88), and innings pitched (191). On May 6, 1959, at Forbes Field, he posted his only big-league shutout against Harvey Haddix and the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3–0, giving up two hits, walking one and striking out two. Strictly a reliever for the 1961 Red Sox, he went 3–2 with a 2.77 ERA in 78 innings and 28 games.

In an eight-season career, Hillman posted a 21–37 record with 296 strikeouts and a 3.87 ERA in 188 games pitched, including 64 starts, eight complete games, one shutout, 42 games finished, three saves, 185 walks, and 624 innings pitched. Along with his Cubs teammate Jim Marshall, Hillman was part of the very first inter-league trade without waivers in MLB history, when he went to the Boston Red Sox in return for Dick Gernert. The November 21, 1959, transaction was the first during a three-week period of trading permitted by a change in both leagues' rules.

Harvey Haddix's near-perfect game

On May 26, 1959, at Milwaukee County Stadium, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched a perfect game for 12 innings against the Milwaukee Braves, but lost the game in the 13th. His perfect game bid was broken up in the bottom of the 13th by a throwing error; he would lose the no-hitter, and the game with it, on a Joe Adcock hit (a baserunning mistake caused it to be changed from a 3-run home run to a 1-run double) later in the inning.

Braves starter Lew Burdette, despite giving up eight hits through nine innings, was pitching a shutout of his own. Three times, the Pirates came close to scoring the winning run for Haddix. In the third inning, a baserunning blunder by Don Hoak negated three consecutive singles; in the ninth, Bill Virdon, after reaching base on a hit with one out, advanced to third on Rocky Nelson's single; however, Bob Skinner grounded back to Burdette the threat. In the 10th inning, with the Pirates still not having scored, pinch-hitter Dick Stuart flied out to center fielder Andy Pafko on a ball that came within a few feet of a two-run home run. The Pirates also recorded hits in the 11th, 12th and 13th innings, but left a runner on base in the latter two innings.

Félix Mantilla, who entered the game in the 11th after Del Rice had pinch-hit for Johnny O'Brien, was the Braves' first hitter in the 13th inning. He hit a ground ball to third baseman Hoak, who fielded the ball cleanly but threw wide to first, pulling Nelson off the base. Mantilla was then sacrificed to second by Eddie Mathews. Haddix, his perfect game bid gone but his no-hit bid still intact, then intentionally walked Hank Aaron to set up a double play situation for Adcock, who had already grounded out twice earlier in the game, striking out the other two times. Adcock hit a fly ball to deep right-center field, just beyond the reach of right fielder Joe Christopher, who was making his Major League debut (he replaced Román Mejías in right field after Stuart had pinch-hit for Mejías), for an apparent home run, the ball landing between the outfield fence and another fence behind it, in front of a line of pine trees. Mantilla rounded third and touched home plate for the winning run; however, in the confusion, Aaron saw the ball hit the second fence but did not realize it had carried over the first and, thinking that the game had ended when Mantilla scored the winning run, rounded second and headed for the dugout. Adcock rounded the bases, running out his home run. First base umpire Frank Dascoli ruled that the final score was 2-0; he was overruled by National League president Warren Giles, who changed Adcock's home run to a double and declared that only Mantilla's run counted for a final score of 1-0. In addition to Stuart being used as a pinch-hitter, two other Pirate regulars did not play in this game: Dick Groat, who would win the 1960 National League Most Valuable Player Award, was mired in a slump and had been benched, and Roberto Clemente was sidelined with a sore shoulder.

In 1989, during a banquet attended by players from both teams commemorating the game's 30th anniversary, Milwaukee pitcher Bob Buhl told Haddix that the Braves' bullpen had stolen Smoky Burgess' signs, the Pittsburgh catcher exposing them due to a high crouch. From their bullpen, the Braves pitchers repeatedly repositioned a towel to signal for a fastball or a breaking ball, the only two pitches Haddix used in the game. If a fastball was coming, the towel was made visible to the batter; if a breaking pitch was coming, the towel was out of sight. Despite this assistance, the usually solid Milwaukee offense managed only the one hit. All but one Milwaukee hitter, Aaron, took the signals. Haddix's 12 2/3-inning complete game, in which he struck out eight batters against the team that had just won the previous two National League pennants (including winning the 1957 World Series), and featured one of the top offensive lineups in the Major Leagues, is considered by many to be the best pitching performance in Major League history. Pirate second baseman Bill Mazeroski would say, "Usually you have one or two great or spectacular defensive plays in these no-hitters. Not that night. It was the easiest game I ever played in." In 1991, Major League Baseball changed the definition of a no-hitter to "a game in which a pitcher or pitchers complete a game of nine innings or more without allowing a hit." Under this new definition, Haddix's masterpiece was one of 12 extra-inning no-hitters to be struck from the record books. Haddix's response was, "It's O.K. I know what I did." Haddix's near-perfect game is immortalized by the Baseball Project, whose song, Harvey Haddix, appears on their debut album, 2008's Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails.

Joe Adcock

Joseph Wilbur Adcock (October 30, 1927 – May 3, 1999) was a major league baseball player and manager in the Major and Minor Leagues. He was best known as a first baseman and right-handed slugger with the powerful Milwaukee Braves teams of the 1950s, whose career included numerous home run feats. A sure-handed defensive player, he later retired with the third highest career fielding percentage by a first baseman (.994). His nickname "Billy Joe" was modeled after Vanderbilt University basketball star "Billy Joe Adcock" and was popularized by Vin Scully.

Born in Coushatta, the seat of Red River Parish in northwestern Louisiana, Adcock attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he played on the baseball team; before attending college he had never played a game of baseball in his life.He was signed by the Cincinnati Reds, however Ted Kluszewski had firm hold on the team's first base slot. Adcock played in left field from 1950 to 1952, but was extremely unhappy, demanding a trade, which he received.

His first season with the Milwaukee Braves was capped by a mammoth home run into the center field bleachers at the Polo Grounds on April 29, 1953, a feat which had never been done before and would only be accomplished twice more, by Hank Aaron and Lou Brock.

On July 31, 1954, Adcock accomplished the rare feat of homering four times in a single game, against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, also hitting a double off the top of the wall to set a record for most total bases in a game (18) which stood for 48 years, until broken by Shawn Green in 2002.Another notable home run was the blast ending the epic duel between Lew Burdette and Harvey Haddix on May 26, 1959, in which Haddix took a perfect game into the 13th inning. Adcock did not get credit for a home run, however, because Aaron – who was on first base – saw Félix Mantilla, the runner ahead of him, score the winning run and thought the hit had only been a double and walked back to the dugout, causing Adcock to be called out for passing him on the base paths. (Eventually, the ruling was that instead of a 3-run home run for a 3–0 Braves victory, Adcock got a double and 1 RBI, and the Braves won 1–0.)Adcock was often overshadowed both by his own teammates Aaron and Eddie Mathews, and by the other slugging first basemen in the league, Kluszewski and Gil Hodges, although he did make one All-Star team (1960) and was regularly among the league leaders in home runs. In 1956, he finished second in the National League in home runs, runs batted in, and slugging average.

After concluding his playing career with the Cleveland Indians (1963) and Los Angeles/California Angels (1964–66), Adcock managed the Cleveland Indians for one year (1967), with the team registering its worst percentage finish in 21 years (.463, vs. .442 in 1946), finishing eighth in a 10-team league. Following the season he was replaced as Cleveland manager by Alvin Dark. Adcock managed two more years in the minor leagues before settling down at his 288-acre (1.2 km2) ranch in Coushatta to raise horses.

He later died in Coushatta at age 71 in 1999 as a result of Alzheimer's Disease.

List of Boston Red Sox coaches

The following is a list of coaches, including role(s) and year(s) of service, for the Boston Red Sox American League franchise (1901–present), known during its early history as the Boston Americans (1901–1907).

List of Pittsburgh Pirates no-hitters

The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball franchise based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They play in the National League Central division. Also known in their early years as the "Pittsburgh Alleghanys" (1882–90), pitchers for the Pirates have thrown 6 no-hitters in franchise history. A no-hitter is officially recognized by Major League Baseball only "when a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no hits during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings", though one or more batters "may reach base via a walk, an error, a hit by pitch, a passed ball or wild pitch on strike three, or catcher's interference". No-hitters of less than nine complete innings were previously recognized by the league as official; however, several rule alterations in 1991 changed the rule to its current form. A no-hitter is rare enough that one team in Major League Baseball has never had a pitcher accomplish the feat. No perfect games, a special subcategory of no-hitter, have been thrown in Pirates history. However on May 26, 1959, Harvey Haddix threw a 12-inning perfection until the fielding error by Don Hoak ended his perfection and eventually lost his no-hit bid and a game. As defined by Major League Baseball, "in a perfect game, no batter reaches any base during the course of the game."Nick Maddox threw the first no-hitter in Pirates history on September 20, 1907; the most recent no-hitter was jointly thrown by Francisco Córdova and Ricardo Rincón on July 12, 1997. Two left-handed starting pitchers have thrown no-hitters in franchise history while four were by right-handers. Three no-hitters were thrown at home and three on the road. They threw one in May, one in June, one in July, one in August, and two in September. The longest interval between no-hitters was between the games pitched by Maddox and Cliff Chambers, encompassing 43 years, 7 months, and 16 days from September 20, 1907 till May 6, 1951. Conversely, the shortest interval between no-hitters was between the games pitched by Moose and Dock Ellis, encompassing merely 8 months and 23 days from September 20, 1969 till June 12, 1970. They no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers (formerly "Brooklyn Superbas") the most, which occurred twice, which were no-hit by Maddox in 1907 and a combined no-hitter by Córdova and Rincón in 1997. There is one no-hitter which the team allowed at least a run, thrown by Maddox in 1907. There is one no-hitter which had a dramatic finish: Mark Smith hit a game winning three-run home run in the bottom of the tenth inning on July 12, 1997. The most baserunners allowed in a no-hitter was by Ellis (in 1970), who allowed nine. Of the 6 no-hitters, three have been won by a score of 3–0, more common than any other results. The largest margin of victory in a no-hitter was a 3–0 wins by Cliff Chambers in 1951, Bob Moose in 1969, and a combined no-hitter by Córdova and Rincón in 1997. The smallest margin of victory was a 2–1 win by Maddox in 1907.

The umpire is also an integral part of any no-hitter. The task of the umpire in a baseball game is to make any decision "which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out... [the umpire's judgment on such matters] is final." Part of the duties of the umpire making calls at home plate includes defining the strike zone, which "is defined as that area over homeplate (sic) the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap." These calls define every baseball game and are therefore integral to the completion of any no-hitter. A different umpire presided over each of the Pirates' six no-hitters.

The manager is another integral part of any no-hitter. The tasks of the manager is to determine the starting rotation as well as batting order and defensive lineup every game. Managers choosing the right pitcher and right defensive lineup at a right game at a right place at a right time would contribute to a no-hitter. Five different managers have led to the Pirates' six no-hitters.

Rocky Nelson

Glenn Richard "Rocky" Nelson (November 18, 1924 – October 31, 2006) was an American professional baseball first baseman. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1949 through 1961 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Cleveland Indians.

A native of Portsmouth, Ohio, Nelson batted and threw left-handed. Despite pre-1959 stints with five major league clubs, Nelson failed to stick with a major league team for half a season. Reggie Otero, manager of the Havana Sugar Kings, saw Nelson clobber major league pitchers while playing winter baseball in Cuba. It was Otero's view that Nelson needed a major league manager that would show patience toward him.

He was regarded as one of the best sluggers to ever play in the International League. As a rookie in 1948, he helped the Rochester Red Wings qualify for the Governors' Cup playoffs. From 1953 to 1955, while playing for the Montreal Royals, Nelson led the International League once in batting average (1955), twice in home runs (1954, 1955), and twice in RBIs (1953 and 1955). He would win his first Triple Crown in 1955 and was the International League Most Valuable Player Award winner in 1953 and 1955. His performances were a topic of conversation among many managers of the time. They were baffled as to how to pitch to him, and even more mystified that he was still playing in the minor leagues.Although Nelson finally caught on in the majors, he had to endure two more failed tryouts with the Dodgers and the Cardinals, plus one more stint in the International League. In 1957, he would sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose owner, Jack Kent Cooke boasted that "…whatever is worth buying in the pitching or power line will find its way to Toronto." In 1958, Nelson was voted International League most valuable player after winning the triple crown, leading the league in batting average (.326), home runs (43) and RBIs (120) while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was later inducted into the International League Hall of Fame and into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.

In 1959, Nelson would catch on with the Pittsburgh Pirates. From 1959 to 1961, Nelson was a platoon first baseman, playing behind right-handed slugger Dick Stuart. He wound up with two seasons of .291 and .300 batting averages, but never duplicated his success in Triple-A. Despite these shortcomings, Nelson would have some memorable moments with the Pirates. He was the first baseman in May 1959 when Harvey Haddix lost his perfect game bid in the 13th inning.Nelson would also make an appearance in the 1960 World Series, where he belted a two-run home run off pitcher Bob Turley in the first inning of the seventh game. Not as dramatic as teammate Bill Mazeroski's Home Run in the same game to win the 1960 World Series, Nelson had the privilege of playing for a world champion.

As a major leaguer, he helped the Dodgers win the 1952 and 1956 National League Pennants, the Indians win the 1954 American League Pennant and the Pirates win the 1960 World Series.

During all or parts of nine major league seasons, Nelson played in 620 games and had 1,394 at-bats, 186 runs scored, 347 hits, 61 doubles, 14 triples, 31 home runs, 173 RBI, 7 stolen bases, 130 walks, .249 batting average, .317 on-base percentage, .379 slugging percentage, 529 total bases, 11 sacrifice hits, 8 sacrifice flies and 13 intentional walks. But as a minor leaguer, Nelson amassed 1,604 hits, 308 doubles, 81 triples, 234 home runs, 1,009 runs batted in, and batted .319, with 87 stolen bases. He retired after the 1962 season in the minor leagues.

His Baseball card was featured in the 1993 Movie "Deception" starring Andie MacDowell and Viggo Mortensen.

Nelson died at age 81 in 2006 in his native city of Portsmouth.

Whammy Douglas

Charles William "Whammy" Douglas (February 17, 1935 – November 16, 2014) was an American professional baseball player. The right-handed pitcher stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg) during his active career. According to multiple sources, Douglas was able to forge a professional baseball career despite being blind in one eye.Although Douglas only played part of one season in Major League Baseball out of his ten-year pro career, he had a measure of success for the 1957 Pittsburgh Pirates, appearing in 11 games (eight as a starting pitcher), and posting a respectable 3.26 earned run average. In 47 innings pitched, he allowed 48 hits and 30 bases on balls, with 28 strikeouts.

Douglas also was part of a major trade between the Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds in January 1959. Douglas was sent to Cincinnati in a package of players headlined by Pittsburgh slugger Frank Thomas. In return, the Bucs received Smoky Burgess, Harvey Haddix and Don Hoak — and that trio would play integral roles in the Pirates' 1960 world championship season.

Douglas never appeared in an MLB game for the Reds. His minor league record of 82–57 (compiled from 1953–1961; 1965) included a stellar season with the 1954 Brunswick Pirates of the Class D Georgia–Florida League, in which he won 27 games, lost only six and posted a 2.06 ERA.

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