On this day, seventy years ago, Ron Necciai, a 19-year-old Pirates minor league player, achieved a feat that has never been repeated on a professional level. He struck out 27 batters in a nine-inning regulation game, without giving up any hits. This remarkable performance earned him recognition for the rest of his career, although it was unfortunately short-lived. Necciai ended the 1952 season with a dismal 1-6 record in 12 games for the Pirates.
Although he had thrown a no-hitter, the game was far from perfect. He hit one batter, one hit by mistake, walked one batter and the other reached first base due to a passed ball. Despite this, Necciai released that night in May as if he were from another planet. In 1995, when I was 11 years old, I wrote to Necciai and asked him questions about pitching.
His former coach, Rip Sewell, confirmed that Necciai must have released nearly 200 pitches and also confirmed that the wild side of his drummer partner was still largely part of the epic performance. Many pitchers in the history of organized baseball have struck out many batters in a game, but Ron Necciai's 27-strikeout game stands out as one of the most remarkable. His coach at the time, Rip Sewell, was a former Major League Baseball pitcher who was best known for inventing the field of Eephus which helped revive his career. According to Necciai, Sewell summarized his repertoire quite well. The Pirates had twenty pitchers who pitched during the 1952 season and none of them had a winning record in their 42-112 record. One of the most similar forms to Necciai's feat could be a perfect game and we've recorded all the known release counts of these classics for you on the perfect gaming club page.
Nowadays it's quite unusual to see a pitcher complete more than two games in a season, but that wasn't always the case. Necciai may have only won one major league game but one night in May 1952 he was the best pitcher in baseball when he struck out 27 batters. His performance was so dominant that by the fourth inning Welch's batters started trying to hit for base hits but that didn't work when they could only commit fouls off the field. Branch Rickey, who had seen many baseball pitchers during his time in baseball, paid Necciai the highest praise for his incredible feat. Ron Necciai's 27-strikeout game is an unforgettable moment in baseball history and will remain as such for many years to come.