PG Archive: Haddix Calm Under No-Hit Clamor
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Harvey Haddix last night revealed himself to be an athlete whose pitching is exceeded only by his logic.
The shortweight Pirate southpaw had just pitched an eight-hit 3-0 shutout over the St. Louis Cardinals in his first night's work since he pitched 12 innings of perfect ball at Milwaukee.
There Joe Adcock had broken up the game with a double, the only hit off Haddix. Last night Don Blasingame of the Cards led off the game with a single.
"Did Blasingame's hit release any tension?" Harvey was asked.
"How could it?" he replied. "The last guy I pitched to before him had a base hit."
There was no quarreling with Harvey's logic, nor, for that matter, with his pitching. Laboring under the stress of a bad chest cold, he worked steadily, refusing the pauses that were justifiably due a sick man.
"I was coughing a little bit there," said Harvey, sitting with his rump on the bottom of his locker in the Pirate clubhouse.
"I was a little short of breath and I started tiring in the seventh inning. But other than that, I felt okay -- not as fast as last week, but okay."
Really and truly, Harvey was asked, did beating the Cardinals feel better to him than pitching that historic game which resulted in a 1-0 defeat?
"Much better," shot back Haddix.
"I mean much better."
"Look at the clubhouse," he added, glancing around at the chattering Pirates. "It's a happy clubhouse."
As for the nifty shutout he rammed down the Cardinals' throats, he said he didn't care whether he won by a score of 10-9, as long as he won.
As it happened, he did such a professional job that, as teammate Vern Law pointed out, only one man, Hal Smith, got a solid hit off him.
From 6 o'clock until it came time, an hour later, for Haddix to put on his uniform, he lay on his back on a rubbing table, swathed in lavender towels from neck to foot. Only his face, his wiry arms, dangling over the sides of the table, and his sandaled feet were exposed.
He looked like a High Lama in repose. Trainer Danny Whelan sat at Harvey's side like a nurse watching over a critical case.
On Harvey's chest rested a steam pack, which also was wrapped in lavender toweling so as not to disturb the ensemble.
"My cold," said Harvey, "might have gotten better today if it weren't for that miserable wet weather."
Third baseman Don Hoak entered trainer Whelan's temple, took one look at the well-nursed Haddix, and joshed: "Why don't he go over to the PAA club till game time? I suppose you got a cold."
Pitcher Ronnie Kline came in and picked up Hoak's tune. "Why don't you pass up the game, Harvey, and get Frank Scott [Harvey's agent] to take you to dinner?"
Trainer Whelan explained that the steam pack, a ribbed affair resembling a miniature life belt, holds wet heat for 40 minutes.
"Before I put it on his chest," said Whelan, "I put analgesic balm on his chest to break up the congestion. I put some into his nostrils, too."
A newspaperman, wanting to raise the possibility of Harvey's pitching a second consecutive no-hitter, hedged by saying first:
"Are you superstitious, Harvey?"
"Superstitious? No," replied Haddix. "I used to be superstitious but that only lasted till I lost a few games."
"Have you though about the possibility of pitching another no-hitter," Haddix was asked.
"Oh, it occurred to me," Harvey said. "But I feel like I'm just going out to pitch another ball game. I don't feel a thing. The only thing that scares me is to have to go up to that microphone at home plate and talk to the crowd."
Later, Harvey went up to that microphone and as soon as he got there the crowd arose as one and cheered him while drums boomed and a band played robustly from the third base grandstand.
First, Bob Prince and Lester Rawlins of KDKA presented Harvey with a recording of the broadcast of his no-hitter. Then Paul Reinhold, Republican mayoralty candidate, gave him a citiation on behalf of the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.
Harvey thanked them and added, pointing to the St. Louis dugout:
"I want to thank this club for giving me my first chance in baseball, and I want to thank the Pirates for giving me the opportunity I know have."
With that, he walked to the dugouot as the crowd cheered the most celebrated sniffles patient in baseball history.
First Published May 25, 2009 12:00 am