Perfection Personified

Written by: Samantha Carr

Nobody’s perfect, right?

Tell that to Chelsea Baker and her knuckleball.

Baker pitched her second perfect game in less than a year on April 9, 2010 at the age of 12 for her Little League team in Plant City, Fla. Baker then donated her jersey from that game to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It is currently on display in the Museum’s Diamond Dreams exhibit.

“This donation is just the latest way of showing that baseball is an equal opportunity employer. Size doesn’t matter, it is heart that matters most,” said Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson, who accepted the jersey on behalf of the Museum.

Baker went 12-0 on the mound in 2010, helping her team to a 29-1 record while adding two grand slams at the plate. She had a four-year span on the mound without a loss. Baker was also the only girl in her league.

Chelsea Baker and Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson holding up the uniform top that Baker donated to the Hall. (Milo Stewart Jr. / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

One of the reasons for Baker’s incredible success is a knuckleball taught to her by the late Joe Niekro, a successful Major League pitcher and brother of Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro.

Joe Niekro taught Baker the pitch shortly before he passed away in 2006, when Baker was only 8-years-old.

“I think he would have been amazed, and he would have been so proud of me,” Baker said.

Samantha Carr is a freelance writer from Fairport, N.Y.

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