Ernie shore's only mistake on the afternoon of June 23, 1917, was that he didn't start what he finished. The man who did that day at Fenway Park, was none other than Babe Ruth, the star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, who were then the three-time defending World Series champs. Ruth had started the first game of a doubleheader against the Washington Senators and thrown four pitches—all balls—to the leadoff batter, Ray Morgan.
When umpire Brick Owens dispatched Morgan to first base, the Bambino went bananas. An enraged Ruth was not one to make the distinction between an ump and some wise-talking yahoo at a Back Bay bar. He stomped around home plate and emitted more than a few pleasantries. Owens, once described by Washington Post writer J.V. Fitz Gerald as able to "lick his weight in wildcats," waved his hands menacingly at Ruth. The Babe responded by taking a swing at Owens, catching him behind the left ear. Owens responded by ejecting Ruth from the game.
Onto the mound came Shore, a promising young righthander who had won 35 games in the I previous two seasons. Boston manager Jack Barry asked him just to keep the game close while he got another pitcher up in the bullpen. On Shore's first pitch Morgan took off for second and was caught stealing. Shore proceeded to retire the next 26 batters.
Shore's feat was long deemed a perfect game, but because he pitched in relief, there were repeated attempts to discount his gem. Last year Fay Vincent's committee for statistical accuracy cast 50 no-hitters out of the record book
for assorted reasons. Shore's was among them.
As for the Babe, he was given a lenient 10-day suspension and a $100 fine for his antics. The memory of the indignity, however, stuck with him. In his autobiography, The Babe Ruth Story, published in 1948, he wrote: "Though I've cooled off a lot in the 30 years since then, I still insist that three of the four [balls] should have been strikes."
NATIONAL BASEBALL LIBRARY
Shore threw a perfect game, but only after Ruth threw a fit.