Wednesday, July 19, 2006
July 19th, 1974
Oakland at Cleveland
Like just about every baseball writer who ever lived, I've written before about Harvey Haddix' near perfect game; to say nothing of the many other near perfect games I've done. This one, however, takes the cake. Facing the two-time defending World Series champions--who would go on to their third title in a row--Indians' pitcher Dick Bosman came as close as is possible to throwing a perfect game. Over the course of nine innings, facing a line-up that included Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando, Bosman allowed no hits and no walks. The only blemish on his record was a throwing error in the fourth inning which allowed Bando to reach second base.
Normally in this situation, the player behind the error would feel one of two ways. The first (and more obvious) is terrible at having cost his pitcher a shot at a perfect game. The second is a sense of regret but also the knowledge that it was a do-or-die play and the perfect game would have been lost anyway, thus allowing the pitcher to keep a no-hitter. This game introduced a new and unique feeling for the perfect game stopping error: I've got only myself to blame! The man behind the error in this case was the pitcher himself, Bosman. Able to go nine innings without giving the A's a good pitch to hit or four bad ones to take, Bosman was nonetheless unable to make a throw to first base to retire Bando.
Funnily enough (well, not for him, but you get the idea) Bosman was usually an excellent defensive pitcher, one who made only eleven errors over the course of his career and finished with a better-than-average .968 fielding percentage. Unfortunately for Bosman, one of those errors happened to come at the worst possible time.