#Shortstops: A ball good for only strikeouts
After striking out 27 batters in one minor league game in 1952, Ron Necciai was destined for the big leagues.
When he was called up to the Pittsburgh Pirates in August of 1952, the Bucs’ management – by way of locker selection – let Necciai know that he was ready for prime time.
“They put me between Murry Dickson, who had been in the big leagues for (11) seasons, and Ralph Kiner, who as you know is a Hall of Famer,” said Necciai during a visit to Cooperstown. “Then, I went out in that first game and gave up a huge homer to Hank Sauer of the Cubs. It hit off the clock in left field in (Pittsburgh’s) Forbes Field, and I swear that clock was rocking back and forth for a few minutes.
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“It was sure different from the minor leagues.”
Necciai recounted his famous outing on May 13, 1952, when he struck out 27 batters in a nine-inning no-hitter for the Bristol Twins of the Class D Appalachian League. Necciai is the only professional pitcher to record 27 strikeouts in a nine-inning game, and a ball from that 7-0 win over the Welch Miners – which Necciai donated to the Hall of Fame in 2001 – is on display in the Museum’s One for the Books exhibit.
Once in the big leagues, Necciai lasted only one season with the Pirates before a rotator cuff injury ended his career. But his amazing game during that 1952 season lives on in baseball lore.
“The doctor I saw (when he hurt his shoulder) told me that I’d never pitch again and that I should go home and buy a gas station,” Necciai said. “I didn’t do that, but I’ve been married for more than 50 years, so I must have done something right.
“And on that day (of the no-hitter), everything went right.”
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum