John Barr
(During the 2006 Carpenter Cup)

John Barr=Perfection

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   On March 26, 2007, in Germantown Academy's opener, sr. RH John Barr, bound for the University of Virginia as an outfielder, pitched a perfect game as the Patriots topped visiting Archbishop Wood, 4-0. Barr recorded 10 strikeouts. This was GA's first time outdoors this season. No scrimmages, no practices.
    We wondered whether any pitcher, at the three primary levels (high school, college, pro), had thrown a perfect game in his team's opener. We reached out to several contacts and they spread the word on baseball boards and the responses came in. They're posted below. Hope you find them interesting . . .


 Special thanks to John Shiffert, director of university relations at Clayton State, in Georgia, for
getting this started. John, a Philly native, formerly was the SID at Drexel. He writes about baseball
on a national level.
 His work is posted on www.
BaseballLibrary.com and www.all-baseball.com.
 Also, if you would like to receive John's columns via e-mail, just send a note to
johnshiffert@clayton.edu.

-- 

Pitcher Dennis Burlingame was selected by the Atlanta
Braves in the 5th Round of the 1987 amateur draft. He
threw a perfect game on the Carolina League's Opening
Day in 1989 for the Durham Bulls against the Frederick
Keys in the first game of a doubleheader.
From the Baseball Reference Bullpen. It was a 7 inning
game.
-- David Dyte
www.brooklynballparks.com
  (Ted's note: As it turns out, Dennis is a Philly-area guy.
He's a product of South Jersey's Kingsway High. David's
first note mentioned that he'd seen a plaque commemorating
an Opening Day minor league game at some stadium and
thought it was Durham, but couldn't remember for sure.
He then followed up with the note above. Thanks, David.)
---
  Rudy Fortin of tiny St. Mary High School of Claremont,
New Hampshire opened the 1953 season with a perfect
game against St. John's. He pitched a no-hitter in his
second game. Within days, Fortin had been contacted by
15 of the 16 major league clubs (all but Cleveland,
who later followed suit.)
   I'm looking at the 1954 St. Mary yearbook. There is a
photo following the championship game with Fortin, his
coach, a teammate and three scouts -- George Lippe,
Browns; Dusty Morgan, Giants; and Bill O'Connor,
Dodgers. Morgan has his hands on Fortin's shoulders
and looks as if he has no intentions of letting go of
the star pitcher.
  Fortin signed with the Braves and pitched in their
organization 1954-55.
-- Wayne McElreavy
  (Ted's note: Thanks, Wayne. I can only imagine what the
temperature must have been for an opener in N.H. -- smile.)
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Not a perfect game, but still cool. This was sent in by Rod
Nelson, of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR.)
Game took place 1/25/07. Thank you, Rod.
   HILO, Haw. – Oregon State’s Mike Stutes, Josh Keller, Mark Grbavac and Jorge Reyes combined to pitch a no-hitter as the Beavers beat Hawai’i-Hilo 5-0 on Thursday evening in the baseball season-opener for both teams at Wong Stadium. It was the third no-hitter in OSU history, and the first in 40 years.
  On Thursday, the Beavers began defense of their 2006 national championship and their centennial season of varsity baseball, and they did it in a special way. Stutes struck out seven hitters in five innings of work, then Keller worked two innings and Grbavac and Reyes one each to finish off the no-hitter.
  “It just shows that we’ve got a lot of potential in our pitching staff, maybe more than people give us credit for,” OSU shortstop Darwin Barney said. “We’re just going to keep working hard and getting better to help them out.”
  It was OSU’s first no-hitter since April 11, 1967,  when Cleve Benson, Eric Selberg and Jack Humphrey blanked Portland 11-0 in Corvallis; the Beavers’ only other no-hitter was thrown by Fred Gallagher in a 1-0 win over Montana on April 12, 1947 in Corvallis.
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Rod also sent us this note, with regard to Cleveland Indians' hall of famer Bob Feller . . .
   Rapid Robert Feller threw a no-no on Opening Day 1940, but gave up five walks.  The list of MLB perfectos is short enough to know that it’s never happened in an opener, the earliest being Charlie Robertson’s gem for the White Sox vs. the Tigers at Navin Field on 4/30/1922. That’s the easy part, getting a qualified answer for minor league, collegiate or high school ball is a whole other matter.  I’ll float the question in some of our forums and see what comes up.
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The NCAA's baseball record book, which can be found online, lists a perfect game for Bloomsburg's Sean Holden on 3/4/99. I called Bloomsburg's sports information office and was told the game was the Huskies' fifth that season.
-- Ted
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Also, in the same book, Auburn's Eric Brandon is credited with a perfect game for 3/2/02. A phone call to Auburn's SID confirmed that this also was not an opener.
-- Ted
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In 1946, a month after finishing a tour of duty with the U.S. Army, Leon Day, of the Newark Eagles, pitched a no-hitter vs. the Philadelphia Stars on Opening Day of the Negro Leagues season. It was NOT a perfect game.
-- mentioned on numerous websites
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This story was sent to us by Joe Mason, who has done a lot of games in Northeast Philly and South Jersey for
two different publications. This one was for the Burlington County Times in 2005 and concerned the VERY
FIRST varsity game in Seneca High's history.

Brecko gets Seneca off to a perfect start

  The Seneca High School baseball team's bus ride to Camden Catholic was a lot different than its bus ride home.
  On the ride up, the Golden Eagles were preparing for their first ever varsity baseball game.
  On the way home, they were celebrating history.
  Ryan Brecko pitched a perfect game, struck out 10 batters and only allowed one batter to send a ball out of the infield (a pop-up to left field), as the Golden Eagles improved to 1-0 on the season and 1-0 in school history. The end result was an 11-0 Olympic Conference National Division win stopped after five innings due to the 10-run rule.
  Brecko, who threw just 51 pitches, also went 3-for-4 at the plate, including a two-run home run.
  "I can't describe the feeling of not only pitching a perfect game, but we also got our first win in our first try,'' the right-handed junior said. "I was real nervous before the game. We didn't get a lot of scrimmages in and this was our first real game.
  "I pitched well, but every guy on the team played great. It was really amazing."
  Yesterday was Brecko's first varsity game since he transferred to Seneca after his freshman year at Shawnee. In his last varsity appearance he led the Renegades to a win over Washington Township in the South Jersey Group 4 final.
  "I was getting all my stuff over for strikes," Brecko said about yesterday's performance. "When I get my off-speed stuff over for strikes, it gives me the option to play around a little bit. Today I felt great and I was getting everything over."
  According to his head coach, Brecko's perfect showing was a two-man effort.
  "Ryan (Brecko) was as dominating as I've ever seen," Seneca coach Dave Lafferty said. "Now I never had an opportunity to see Sean Doolittle pitch, so if I had to guess, Brecko was throwing in the mid-80's today and he was getting everything over. It was just fabulous to watch.
  "And as great as Brecko was (catcher) Ryan Doolittle did a great job calling the game. It was a great game by everyone."
  The perfect first game was a great start for the first-year program that entered the year with high expectations.
Brecko is confident that his team can continue their winning ways if they continue to play as a team.
  "We're real close," Brecko said. "It was a celebration like I've never seen a team have before. This was a great start.''
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Not a perfect game, but Doc Amole of Buffalo no-hit Detroit in the opener of the 1900 American League season (a year prior to declaring major league status.)
-- Wayne McElreavy
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