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My Perfecto, by Addie Joss

Editor's note: I'd like to welcome Adrian "Addie" Joss to the Let's Go Tribe front-page team. And what better for him to make his debut than to have to talk about his perfect game?

The painter didn't capture my face too well. (A. Joss)
The painter didn't capture my face too well. (A. Joss)

MLB 2K13 proudly announces the return of the Perfect Game Challenge. Pitch a perfect game for your favorite team and you could win some serious money, including a top prize of $250,000. Go to for details.

The editor of the Let's Go Tribe newspaper has commissioned me to provide occasional commentary on base ball topics that may be of interest to its readers. You may have recognized my work in the Toledo News-Bee and Cleveland Press, and my wishes are that those good feelings follow me here. I was a bit perplexed at having to use this special typewriter to submit my story, so I apologize for any errors, malapropisms, or other errors that may possibly mar this first submission.

My first subject is a feat that I have the good fortune to have experienced as a base ball player. It is the perfecto, or in more mundane language, the perfect game. A perfect game is a contest in which one team does not reach base at all. I believe that my feat was the first time a 27-up, 27-down performance was actually referred to as a perfect game, as Mr. Sanborn's column called it: absolute perfect game, without run, without hit, and without letting an opponent reach first base by hook or crook, on hit, walk, or error, in nine innings.

Chicago Tribune, 1908

As brevity is the soul of wit, the moniker "perfect game" seemed a more apt description than a "without letting an opponent reach first base by hook of crook" game.

Apparently the Let's Go Tribe readers may be unfamiliar with the events of October 2, 1908, so I will fill in the basic details. Our ball club was locked in a real battle with the Detroit and Chicago ball clubs, and when the White Sox came to town for a two-game series, they were just one game behind us in the standings, and we were just one-half behind the pennant-leading Tigers:

Club. Wins. Losses. Games Back.
Detroit 87 61 -
Cleveland 87 62 0.5
Chicago 85 62 1.5

After the series, we were to go on the road to St. Louis to end the season, so it was crucial that we take the series from the Pale Hose to give us a chance to take our first pennant. But it was not going to be easy, as Chicago was sending Ed Walsh to the mound to face me in game one. Big Ed's spitball had American League batters breaking their backs trying to make contact, and on that day, our batters were especially helpless; after the game was over, Walsh tallied fifteen batters in eight innings, a world's record for an outing of that length. So I needed to keep up with Big Ed, although my game was not the whiff, but the controlled fastball. Although the spitballers had great success, I believe that it was more important to know where my pitches were going; sometimes the "spit ball" breaks better than the pitcher or catcher is expecting, and that fact helped us win the game.

But first I need to talk about my outing. I am known around the game for my smooth delivery that lulled batters to sleep. But once the sphere was out of my hands, the ball was on the batters quicker than they had anticipated, and the result was a weak strike and an easy out. Apparently there is a concept called "pitch to contact" practiced by one current base ball clubs, but is not successful. If they would like my advice, I will be happy to give it, but I caution that some cases cannot be fixed with the best coaching.

Anyways, I knew I had to match Big Ed out for out and hope my batters could squeak out a run some how. They did just that in the third inning, when Big Ed's spitter took a crazy shoot and got by catcher Ossie Schreckenghost, allowing Joe Birmingham to score from third.

After that I had to pitch the rest of the game knowing that I would get no more help. Big Ed was mowing down the Cleveland batters, and the mood at League Park was very tense. For not only was there the perfecto in progress, but the pennant was on the line. Finally the ninth came, and after a close call on a line drive down the line, I retired the 27th out, finishing off Big Ed and the Pale Hose.

As I've written in the past, a pitcher that doesn't have a great bender or speedball can still get by with three things: control, change of pace, and nerve. On that October day, I used all three to tie the world's record.