The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 9, 2013

Pitcher perfect

133 years ago Wednesday, John Lee Richmond, born in Sheffield Twp. and raised in Geneva, threw the first perfect game in Major League Baseball history

(Continued)

The game

Richmond was matched against Big Jim McCormick, a just happened to be Cleveland’s manager as well, and they combined in a classic matchup at Worcester Agricultural Fair Grounds.

Richmond himself got the first hit in the game in the home half of the fourth, but he was erased on a double play. While Richmond continued to shut down Cleveland, Worcester would manage only other hits off McCormack, both by shortstop Art Irwin.

The only run of the contest came courtesy of a double-error by Cleveland second baseman Fred “Sure-Shot” Dunlap. Irwin singled and eventually scored, thanks mostly to Dunlap. First, the rookie second baseman dropped a double-play ball that would have erased Irwin at second. However, he fumbled the ball and Irwin headed for third and then, daringly, home.

The stunned Dunlap, caught off-guard by Irwin’s daring dash, then threw the baseball over catcher Doc Kennedy’s head, allowing Irwin to score.

Years after his perfect game, Richmond said, “I used to think Dunlap was the greatest second baseman in the world.”

Like almost every game that is put in the “classic” category by baseball historians, Richmond’s historic game featured a game-saving play.

In the top of the fifth, Cleveland’s cleanup hitter, Bill Phillips, hit a ball between the first and second baseman for an apparent base hit. However, Worcester right fielder Alonzo Knight, the team captain and “old man” of the squad at age 26, charged in, scooped the baseball with his bare hand (fielding gloves were not in use, yet) and fired a strike to first baseman J.F. Sullivan. Umpire Foghorn Bradley called Phillips out on a bang-bang play to preserve the perfect game.

If Richmond had been rough on the Cleveland hitters to that point, they hadn’t seen anything yet. After Knight’s play, Richmond was virtually untouchable, recording all five of his strikeouts over the final four innings. He also dominated Cleveland to the point only three balls were hit out of the infield all day.

As it turned out, Richmond’s most difficult opponent that day may not have been the Forest Citys, but Mother Nature. In the eighth inning, the skies opened and a downpour delayed the game for several minutes.

Richmond refused to allow the cloudburst to break his concentration, though. After a pile of sawdust was placed behind the pitching position to help the pitchers dry the ball. Richmond completed his masterpiece in only 86 minutes, including the rain delay, and forever earned himself a place in baseball history.

The game was witnessed by only 700 fans, or “cranks,” as spectators were referred in those days.

Text Only
Sports
  • Coming attractions

    While it seems only yesterday school was letting out and summer vacation was starting, the time for respite will have the curtain drop for area high school football players this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • AREA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGES:

    TUESDAY, AUG. 12

    • Lake Catholic at Perry (10)

    July 28, 2014

  • Lexi Outlaws gunning for national title in Virginia

    There’s gold in their name and that’s just what the Ohio Outlaws Gold softball squad is gunning for at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals this week in Salem, Va.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Brandon Easton A Don McCormack column:Easton on right pitch in Florida

    Paying a Monday morning visit to the variety store...

    Firing away
    The second summer as a professional baseball player has been an excellent one for Brandon Easton, to this point.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: OEW doing good job of passing it on

    On July 18, 19 and 20, the Ashtabula County Wildlife Conservation League (ACWCL) along with Ashtabula Rod & Gun Club (ARGC) held their annual OEW (Outdoor Education Weekend) Weekend.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kaydee Vaulting to The Rock

    When Jefferson’s Kaydee DeVivo first started pole vaulting as a freshman for the Falcons, she knew it was the event for her.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • run VanHoy racing on

    Geneva track star Hailey VanHoy had a near unbelievable run of success during her final months running for the Eagles.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video