June 18, 2014
The October Heroes: Great World Series Games Remembered by the Men Who Played Them, Donald Honig (1979)
Ernie Shore recounted his most famous game for author Donald Honig.
It was on June 23, 1917, at Fenway Park, against Washington. Babe Ruth actually started the game for us, but he didn't stay in there very long. He walked the first batter, Ray Morgan. Babe didn't approve of some of Brick Owens' ball and strike decisions and let the umpire know about it. Babe got to jawing so much that Owens finally told him to start pitching again or be thrown out of the game. That seemed to set Babe off even more and he said something like, "If I go I'm going to take a sock at you on my way out." Well Owens gave Babe the thumb right then and there. Ruth tried to go after Owens but a few of the boys stopped him, and a good thing too.
When I came back to the bench Barry said to me, "Do you want to finish this game, Ernie?" My ball was breaking very sharply and he had seen that.
"Sure," I said.
"Okay," he said. "Go down to the bull pen and warm up."
So I did that and came back for the second inning. From then on I don't think I could have worked easier if I'd been sitting in a rocking chair. I don't believe I threw seventy-five pitches that whole game if I threw that many. They just kept hitting it right at somebody. They didn't hit but one ball hard and that was in the ninth inning. John Henry, the catcher, lined one on the nose but right at Duffy Lewis in left field. That was the second out in the ninth. Then Clark Griffith, who was managing Washington, sent a fellow named Mike Menosky in to bat for the pitcher. Griffith was a hard loser, a very hard loser. He didn't want to see me complete that perfect game. So he had Menosky drag a bunt, just to try and break it up. Menosky could run, too. He was fast. He dragged a good bunt past me, but Jack Barry came in and made just a wonderful one-hand stab of the ball, scooped it up and got him at first. That was a good, sharp ending to the game, which I won by a score of 4-0.
It wasn't until after the season that they decided to credit me with an official perfect game. There had been a little controversy about it because I had faced just twenty-six men. But they decided to put it in the books as a perfect game and it's been there ever since.
I didn't even know I had a no-hitter going, much less a perfect game, until I sat down on the bench in the eighth inning. Then one of the fellows said to me, "Do you know they don't have a hit off of you?"
Well, I didn't know.
"Maybe they'll get one in the ninth," I said. Then I laughed and said, "And maybe they won't."