The Un-Intentional Walk-Off

On May 26th, 1959, Harvey Haddix put on the greatest pitching performance in baseball history, but lost the game. That was because, after losing his perfect game in the 13th, he gave up a home run to Joe Adcock (It was later ruled a double due to a mixup on the basepaths, but the Braves still won.) A mere three days later, Adcock was involved in perhaps an even stranger walk-off.

On May 29th, the hapless Phillies traveled to County Stadium in Milwaukee to take on the powerful Braves. The Braves were led by young sluggers Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews, as well as an aging but still spectacular Warren Spahn. Spahn wasn’t on the mound that day (He would throw a complete game 4-hitter against the Phils two days later), and the Phillies quickly got to starter Carl Willey, tagging him for 4 runs in 2 1/3 innings. Braves reliever Juan Pizarro came in slow the onslaught, and the two teams entered the 9th inning tied at 5 apiece.

Phillie starter Gene Conley, who had just come over from Milwaukee the past offseason, gave up a triple to Hank Aaron to start the 9th, then walked Wes Covington intentionally. With one out and runners on the corners, he decided to do the same to Adcock, in the hopes of loading the bases and coaxing the next batter, slow catcher Del Crandall, to ground into a double play. But Conley’s first intentional ball came a little too close to the plate, and Adcock smacked it to 2nd. Thinking he didn’t have time to turn two, Phillies second bagger Sparky Anderson (yes THAT Sparky Anderson. He played one season in the Bigs…for the 1959 Phillies) heaved the ball home. The throw was late, Aaron was safe, and Joe Adcock had his second shocking walk-off in 72 hours.

Gene Conley would pitch for the Phillies for two years, and is the answer to an incredibly awesome trivia question. He is the only person to ever do what? Answer in the comments if you think you know.

3 Comments on “The Un-Intentional Walk-Off”

  1. Chip Millard says:

    I think Gene Conley played for both a World Series champion and an NBA champion.

  2. John Morgan says:

    Win NBA and World Series. I met Gene in 1960 at Connie Mack Stadium. I had been to Tri-City area of Washington state earlier that summer. My Uncle knew his parents and I met them. They gave me a letter to convey to Gene when I returned to Philly. What a thrill for a 12 yr old to encounter a 6’7″ pitcher in those great Phillies pinstripes. He was a nice man, as his parents were. But you know he was no pushover since he played for Red Auerbach,one shrewd man. I also met Jack Meyer of the Phillies who had played baseball with my Uncle at Penn Charter. I maintain the Phillies pinstripes one of the top 5 unis in MLB. Thanks for reading. John

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