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Lee Richmond

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Worcester
  • Team: Worcesters
  • League: National League

J. Lee Richmond (1857-1929). One of the most noteworthy scholar-athletes of the 19th century, Richmond set many firsts in MLB: 1st regular left-handed pitcher, 1st to record five consecutive strikeouts, 1st minor-leaguer to single-handedly gain his team major-league status, 1st lefty to win 30 games, 1st M.D. to play in the majors, and, oh yes, 1st pitcher to hurl a perfect game. The latter accomplishment was noted at the time more for the unlikeliness of nine bare-handed fielders achieving “perfection” and Richmond always credited his team’s support as the key to his career highlight. Richmond also accomplished one last: his dominance for Brown University’s squad – while he was being lured in and out of the majors by Harry Wright and Frank Bancroft – so upset the Ivy League that they legislated against any “professionalism” in the college ranks, laying the foundation of NCAA policy to this day.

  • Threw two no-hitters in 1879 (one was a 7 inning exhibition game). His perfecto came on June 12, 1880, giving Lee 3 no-hitters in 54 weeks!
  • As with many early pitchers, Lee’s arm suffered from overwork, leading to his early departure for private medical practice back in Ohio
  • Found his true calling as a teacher of Greek, physics, chemistry and math while coaching baseball, conducting the orchestra and serving as principal. A polymath indeed
  • Lee Richmond did not appear in the Old Judge series as he had retired in 1886. This image is taken from a studio cabinet of unknown origin.

Here's an original scorecard from Lee Richmond's perfect game, the first in MLB history, June 12, 1880:


A few notes from the game:

  • Only 6 months into the new decade, notice how the scorekeeper amended the date on a scorecard that was left over from the 1870s
  • Richmond's opponent, the 1880 Cleveland Blues, were a good team. They finished 3rd in the National League with a 47-37 record & featured young standout talent such as Fred Dunlap, Jim McCormick, Jack Glasscock, Orator Shafer & Ned Hanlon. Richmond threw his gem against excellent competition.
  • The Worcester Worcestors won the game 1-0, with Arthur "Foxy" Irwin scoring the game's only run in the 5th inning. The losing pitcher for the Blues, Jim McCormick, tossed a 3-hitter.
  • The Worcestors weren't quite as stacked as the Blues (finished 5th with a 40-43 record), but featured some excellent players: Charlie Bennett, Dandy Wood, Art Whitney, Arthur Irwin, Harry Stovey & Bill McGunnigle.
  • 12 of the 18 players who participated in the game have Ars Longa Art Cards: Dandy Wood, Lee Richmond, Arthur Irwin, Charlie Bennett, Art Whitney, Fred Dunlap, Frank Hankinson, Orator Shafer, Jim McCormick, Barney Gilligan, Jack Glasscock & Ned Hanlon.

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