Being part of the media, and in the press box is an amazing thing especially during a baseball game, because the pace of the game allows ALOT of time to “chew the fat.” Most of the time I end up learning something that I never knew before, whether it be current or from days gone by…take for example last night during the Brewers 3 hour 3 minute 2-0 win over the Marlins at Miller Park. The Brewers are unfortunately in last place, in the National League Central sporting a 38-56 record, which allows for even more chatter… since we’re not hanging on every pitch.
Bob Buege, and Rick Schabowski of the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association, maintain and write for the TeePee Newsletter which is the publication that celebrates and keeps alive the History of the Milwaukee Braves. (www.milwaukeehistoricalassociation.com) Since I sit next to them in the press box I learn something new just about every night…take for example last night. I was asked “Jeff who do you think holds the professional record for strike-outs in a 9 inning game?” The key here is the word “professional”… which does not mean MLB (I’m beginning to catch on to their clever play on words) since I was thinking MLB… I thought 20, Roger Clemens…but was wrong.
I found out from my historian colleagues, that it was in fact Ron Necciai. Necciai who’s claim to fame and the answer to the question, came on May13th 1952 when he stuck out 27 batters in a 9 inning game pitching for the Bristol Twins, facing the Welch Miners. In fact Necciai had a history of ulcers and suffered through one on that particular night and had to eat cottage cheese during the game to sooth his stomach.
The game wasn’t 27 up and 27 down, Ron hit a batter, one reached on an error, one walked. As for the outs one batter was thrown out on a grounder early in the early innings but when catcher Harry Dunlop was charged with a passed ball on a third strike in the ninth inning Necciai struck out a fourth batter in the inning to give him strike out 27. Catcher Harry Dunlop had his hand or should I say mitt in yet one other play that helped his battery mate accomplish the rare feat, he dropped a foul ball per the “alleged” instructions from the fans near the play, Necciai went on to strike that batter out.
The feat by Necciai shouldn’t have come to surprise to anyone who followed the Pirate Farm team in the Class-D Appalachian League that year, he had already struck out 20 and 19 during earlier starts that season that was only 2 months old. Matter of fact in his very next start Rocket Ron struck out 24, that made 51 K’s in two consecutive starts a record likely to never be touched.
What an AMAZING feat.
As for his MLB career, it was cut short by a rotator cuff injury. Necciai was brought up late in ’52 and pitched for the Pirates from 8/10/52-9/28/52 had a 1-6 record in 54.2 innings a 7.08 ERA and 31 TOTAL strike outs .
(by the way I nailed the other question… How long was time wise was Game 7 of the 1960 World Series? The game where Bill Mazeroski hit the game/series winning homerun in the bottom of the ninth in a 10-9 Pirate victory which no batter struck-out…2 hours 36 minutes)