Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Hall's 1963 'perfect game' took 25 days

Uncommon commons: In more than 30 years in sportscards publishing I have thrown hundreds of notes into files about the players – usually non-star players – who made up the majority of the baseball and football cards I collected as a kid. Today, I keep adding to those files as I peruse microfilms of The Sporting News from the 1880s through the 1960s. I found these tidbits brought some life to the player pictures on those cards. I figure that if I enjoyed them, you might too.

You won't find Dick Hall's perfect game in 1963 on the official lists of such achievements . . . but he felt it should have been so recognized.

Hall's perfect-o, you see, was achieved over 25 days and five appearances, July 24-Aug. 17.

"That was my first perfect game" Hall said,  "I never had one before and this one took 25 days." He told reporters he thought the rules should be changed to give a pitcher credit for a perfect game, even if it was pitched piecemeal.

Hall was the Orioles' ace middle relief man in 1963, at age 32. The tall (6'6") right-hander appeared in 47 games that season, often as the set-up man for closer Stu Miller. 

In his "perfect-game" streak he went one batter better, setting down 28 in a row.
On July 24 in Baltimore Hall threw 6.2 innings of scoreless relief against Washington t get the win. He retired the last four Senators in a row t begin his streak.

He extended his streak to 12 against the first-place Yankees on Aug. 4 in New York with 2.2 IP of perfect work, earning his fifth save of the season.

On Aug. 9 in Washington he pitched the last three innings, setting down nine Senators and earning his sixth save.

In Minnesota on Aug. 15 he retired four Twins in a row to run his tally to 25 batters up, 25 batters down.

Two days later in Kansas City he pitched a perfect ninth inning for his seventh save. He had now faced 28 batters without any reaching base.

Hall's perfect-o came to a halt at home on Aug. 21 in the first game of a mid-week double header with the L.A. Angels visiting. He entered the game in relief of Steve Barber with two out and one on in the top of the sixth inning. The first batter he faced, Albie Pearson, singled. Hall then retired 10 of the last 11 Angels to earn his eighth save.

Hall's record that year was 5-5 with a 2.98 ERA and credit for 12 saves. (The Sporting News began keeping track of saves in 1960; it didn't become an official MLB stat until 1969.)

Did you remember that Dick Hall first came to the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1952 as an infielder-outfielder? His rookie cards in 1955 Topps regular and Doubleheader show him in that role. 

He's a Pirates pitcher on his 1956 and 1957 cards, but Topps didn't issue cards of Hall in 1958 (he didn't pitch at all in 1958, sitting out the season with hepatitis) or 1959. He's with the A's on his 1960 and 1961 cards, though he was traded to the Orioles at the start of the 1961  season. 

Hall has Orioles cards from Topps for 1962 and 1963, then inexplicably he does not appear in their 1964-66 sets. He's back in the 1967 and 1968 sets, following his trade to the Phillies. He's again absent from the 1969 issue. The Phils had released him after the 1968 season and he returned to Baltimore as a free agent in 1969. 

Hall can again be found in the 1970 and 1971 Topps issues (O-Pee-Chee, as well) in O's livery. He retired at age 40 after the 1971 season, with a career pitching record of 93-75 with an ERA of 3.32 and 71 saves.


  1. Over the last 2/3 of his career, Hall had a incredibly-low UNINTENTIONAL walks ratio.

  2. Interesting bit of history. Well done!


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