ON THIS DATE (September 24, 1943)
Joe Dobson came within one pitch of a perfect game, as the Red Sox
right-hander had two strikes on Lou Boudreau the first batter for
Cleveland in the seventh inning. Joe whipped one over the lower
outside corner the plate, and Boudreau reached out and clipped a
clean single into right-center field. With this hit, Boudreau blocked
his former teammate from pitching the first perfect game seen in the
major leagues in 21 years. Not another Cleveland batter reached first
on Dobson during the first nine innings.
Specs Klieman, a rookie
from Baltimore who was throwing his first major-league game was pitching some
great ball for Cleveland, so Dobson was forced to pitch 10 innings to get the
win. He yielded another single in the 10th on a clean liner into right field by
Oris Hockett. Then in the last of the 10th, the Red Sox won it 1 to 0. Rookie
Tom McBride doubled to left and with the Cleveland firstbaseman playing in for
the bunt, Tony Lupien hit a grounder that rolled over the first-base bag and
trickled in the right-field for two bases and the ballgame.
Dobson was superb. His curveball was snapping over the corners with
rattlesnake quickness and his fastball had the aim of an arrow. Over the 10
innings he faced only 32 batters and Boudreau was the only player to reach
second base. He was sacrificed over there by Roy Cullenbine after his single in
the seventh inning. Two men got on base for the Indians in the 10th, Hockett who
singled, and Cullenbine who tried to sacrifice but forced Hockett at second.
Then Dobson got Hank Edwards and Ken Keltner to pop out.
In the history of the major leagues, only six perfect games have been
pitched. The last was by Charlie Robertson of the White Sox against the Tigers
in 1922. Boston fans saw a close one two years ago when Whit Wyatt, with one
down in the ninth-inning against the Braves had two strikes on Phil Masi, only
to have the Braves catcher thump one into centerfield.