On May 26, 1959, Pirates lefty Harvey Haddix pitched 12 perfect innings vs. the Braves yet still wound up with a loss after 13 frames. Focus On Sport/Getty Images

May 26 in sports history: The greatest game ever pitched

Here's a look back at notable sports news on May 26 through the years:


1959: Can you imagine pitching 12 perfect innings and losing? Well, believe it or not, that's exactly what happened to Pittsburgh's Harvey Haddix 61 years ago today.

Incredibly, Haddix's mound opponent that day, the Braves' Lew Burdette, threw 13 shutout innings, allowing 12 hits, striking out two and walking none. But it all unraveled for Haddix in the unlucky bottom of the 13th.

Felix Mantilla reached on a throwing error by third baseman Don Hoak. Eddie Mathews bunted Mantilla to second base. With first base open, Haddix intentionally walked Hank Aaron hoping to set up a double play. But Joe Adcock's shot out of Milwaukee's County Stadium ended the game — albeit in a surprising way.

Because Adcock passed Aaron on the bases during his home-run trot, the score ended up being 1-0, with only Mantilla's run counting. Adcock was credited with a double instead of a homer.

It was no solace for Haddix, who — 29 years before Michael Jordan had his famous "flu game" — or "food poisoning game" if you believe his Airness — pitched one of the greatest games in MLB history while he was under the weather.

"I had the flu; I felt terrible," Haddix said, according to sabr.org. "We took a morning flight over from Pittsburgh the day of the game, and we didn't have a lot of rest. I took throat lozenges the whole game to try to keep from coughing."

So Haddix was sick while losing arguably the greatest game ever pitched. As if that weren't enough, in 1989, at a banquet commemorating the 30th anniversary of Haddix's performance, Milwaukee pitcher Bob Buhl told the lefty that the Braves were stealing signs, according to Sports Illustrated.

Buhl's revelation made Haddix's final pitching line even more impressive: one unearned run, a hit, a walk and eight strikeouts over 12.2 innings. Still it was no consolation for Haddix.

"It was just another loss, and that is no good," said Haddix, who died of emphysema in 1994 at the age of 68.

1993: He obviously wasn't the cleanest player in the world, but Jose Canseco did hit 462 balls out of MLB ballparks over his 17-year career. However, this was the first time the 1988 AL MVP had used something other than his bat to produce a home run.

In the fourth inning of Cleveland's 7-6 win over Texas, the Indians' Carlos Martinez hit a fly ball off lefty Kenny Rogers that carried toward the wall in right field. As Canseco reached the warning track at Cleveland Stadium, he lost track of the ball in the sun.

As Canseco made a wild stab for the ball with his glove, it bounced off his head and over the fence for a solo homer.

"I'll be on ESPN for about a month," Canseco told the Dallas Morning News. "Anybody got a bandage?"

Apparently, the sun was really tough that day. In the sixth inning, Canseco turned a fly ball in the corner into a run-scoring triple.

"I lost it in the sun," Canseco said. "Bizarre game for me. Bizarre game for everybody."

It was funny, but I'll take it," said Martinez, who died in 2006 at the age of 40 of an undisclosed disease that forced him to retire after just seven years in the majors.

Russ Schneider, the official scorer for the game, considered giving Canseco a four-base error. But after mulling it over for several minutes, Schneider ruled it a home run.

Turns out, it was also Rangers manager Kevin Kennedy's 39th birthday that day.

Realizing that Canseco wasn't his best outfielder, Kennedy decided to let the slugger pitch in a game. Six days later, Canseco took the mound against the Red Sox,

A few days after that, Canseco complained of a sore arm and back problems. And in July of that season, the Rangers lost Canseco for the season when he had surgery on his right elbow.

Say what you want about Canseco. But at least he used his head, which is more than can be said for Kennedy that year.

Hardcore hoops

1987: Larry Bird steals an inbound pass from the Pistons' Isiah Thomas and throws an over-the-shoulder pass to a cutting Dennis Johnson for the winning layup, as the Celtics stun Detroit, 108-107, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

1999: Toronto's Vince Carter is named the 1998-99 NBA Rookie of the Year. Getting 95.8 percent of the votes, Carter averaged 18.3 points, and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 45 percent from the floor for the 23-27 Raptors in a lockout-shortened season. Jason "White Chocolate" Williams was second, and Paul Pierce was third.

2015: Behind a game-high 23 points from LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers rout the Atlanta Hawks, 118-88, to complete a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Stars and cars

1925: Ty Cobb doubles to become the first player in MLB history with 1,000 career extra-base hits in the Tigers' 8-1 win over the White Sox. Cobb would finish with 1,139 extra-base hits.

1985: Danny Sullivan wins the Indianapolis 500 in thrilling fashion. On lap 119, Sullivan avoids the wall and Mario Andretti while pulling off a 360-degree spin.

1988: With MVP Wayne Gretzky leading the way, the Edmonton Oilers beat the Boston Bruins, 6-3, to cap a four-game sweep and win their fourth Stanley Cup in five years.

1991: Rick Mears joins A.J. Foyt and Al Unser as the only four-time winners of the Indy 500. Mears wins by 3.1 seconds after passing Michael Andretti with 12 laps to go.

2000: In one of the greatest comebacks in Stanley Cup playoff history, the New Jersey Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. Patrick Elias scored both goals for New Jersey, which won the last three games of the series.

2005: For the second year in a row — and the second time at a Grand Slam in more than 30 years — no American man makes it out of the second round of the French Open. Andy Roddick, James Blake and Vince Spadea fail to make it through the second week at Roland Garros.

2013: After finishing second in 2004 and coming in third twice, Tony Kanaan finally wins the Indy 500. Kanaan passes Ryan Hunter-Reay on a restart then crosses the finish line under caution when Dario Franchitti — the 2012 Indy winner — crashes far back in the field.

Happy birthday...

  • Legendary broadcaster and radio play-by-play voice of the Las Vegas Raiders, Brent Musburger. Formerly the host of "The NFL Today," Musburger worked for CBS Sports from 1975-90 before calling games for ABC/ESPN for 27 years. He is also VSiN's lead on-air talent and managing editor. (81)
  • Veteran infielder/DH Darrell Evans, the first MLB player to hit 40 or more home runs in each league. At age 38, Evans became the oldest player to lead the AL in home runs with 40 in 1985. In his 21-year career, Evans hit 414 home runs — at least 131 each for the Braves, Giants and Tigers. (73)
  • Dan Pastorini, the third pick of the 1971 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers who also played for the Raiders, Rams and Eagles. A Pro Bowler with Oakland in 1975, Pastorini won Super Bowl XXV with the Raiders. His drag racing career took off in 1986, when he won the NHRA Southern Nationals and finished seventh in NHRA Championship Points. (71)
  • Two-time Pro Bowl wideout Wesley Walker, who led the NFL in receiving yards in 1978 when he was named a First Team All-Pro. Walker, who played for the Jets from 1977 through 1989, is second only to Hall of Famer Don Maynard on Gang Green's all-time receiving lists in yards (8,306) and TDs (71). 65
  • Greg Lloyd, a five-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Steelers who was also a three-time All Pro. After leading Pittsburgh to Super Bowl XX, he retired in 1998 after playing his only season with the Panthers. (55)
  • Long-distance runner Zola Budd, who collided with Mary Decker in the 3,000-meter final in the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. That same year, at age 17, Budd — who ran barefoot — broke the women's world record in the 5,000 meters. (54)
  • Ben Zobrist, the 2016 World Series MVP for the Cubs who also won the Fall Classic the previous year with the Royals. The three-time All Star, who retired after the 2019 season, is one of eight players to have won back-to-back World Series with different teams. (39)

R.I.P.

1954: 
Hall of Fame outfielder Al Simmons, who played for seven teams, including three stints with the Philadelphia Athletics. The three-time All-Star won two World Series and two batting titles. He died of a heart attack. He was 54.

2017: Jim Bunning, who is one of two pitchers — fellow Hall of Famer Cy Young is the other — to pitch a no-hitter, record 100 wins and record 1,000 strikeouts in each league. He also represented Kentucky as a congressman and senator. He died of a stroke. He was 85.

2019: Bart Starr, who won five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls as quarterback of the Packers. He also coached Green Bay from 1975-83, compiling a 52-76-3 record. He suffered two strokes and a heart attack in 2014. He was 85.

A deputy editor for Yardbarker since February 2019, Stan Chrapowicki also has written for the New York Daily News, New York Post and saturdaydownsouth.com. Too young to witness Super Bowl III, he hopes to see the Jets win the Vince Lombardi Trophy before it’s too late.

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