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A rookie 33 years ago pitched the majors' last perfect game

Rookie Charley Robertson, pitching his second start of the season, tried not to think about the spot he was in. The last of the ninth, with two out and a count of two and two was no time to realize your next pitch for the White Sox might give you one of history's six perfect games. The 1922 Tigers, one of baseball's greatest hitting clubs, must have known because Ty Cobb had made the umpires examine Charley's glove and uniform for suspected trickery. But in spite of this, none of the 26 previous Tigers—including Heilmann and Veach—had made first, so why should the 27th, a fat pinch hitter?

Keeping 25,000 fans at Detroit's Navin Field breathless with suspense, Charley took his time serving up the last pitch. He performed the pitcher's time-honored delaying tactics, and when he couldn't think of another place to scratch, he delivered. Bassler, a Tiger catcher, hit a looping fly which Johnny Mostil caught easily to win for the White Sox 2-0. Robertson was carried off the field by the hysterical crowd. He had joined the inner sanctum of perfect-game pitchers.

Only five other major leaguers have ever, to this day, pulled the trick. John Richmond and John Ward did it in 1880, Cy Young in 1904, Addie Joss in 1908 and Ernie Shore in 1917. They went on to further fame, but Robertson had just one taste of glory. During his eight years in the majors, he never had a year in which he won more than he lost. Today he's an independent pecan broker in Ft. Worth.


A HERO FOR A DAY, Charley Robertson on April 30, 1922 pitched a perfect game, a stunt unequaled in the more than 41,000 major league games played since. The White Sox had paid only $2,000 for the amazing 25-year-old rookie pitcher.