|Pitcher / Outfielder|
May 5, 1857|
|Died: October 1, 1929
|September 27, 1879 for the Boston Red Stockings|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1886 for the Cincinnati Red Stockings|
|Earned run average||3.06|
|Runs batted in||113|
|Career highlights and awards|
John Lee Richmond (May 5, 1857 – October 1, 1929) was an American pitcher in Major League Baseball. He played for the Boston Red Stockings, Worcester Worcesters, Providence Grays, and Cincinnati Red Stockings, and is best known for pitching the first perfect game. After retiring from baseball, he became a teacher.
Richmond was born in Sheffield, Ohio, in 1857. He was the son and grandson of Baptist ministers and he had eight siblings, all of them older. He went to the college preparatory academy affiliated with Oberlin College. He started attending Brown University in 1876 and was an outfielder and pitcher on the school's baseball team. He was also class president and he played on the football team.
Professional baseball career
On June 2, 1879, Richmond was paid $10 to pitch for Worcester of the National Baseball Association in an exhibition game against the Chicago White Stockings. He pitched a seven-inning no-hitter and signed with Worcester after the game. On July 28, he pitched a no-hitter against Springfield.
Worcester joined the National League in 1880, and Richmond signed with the team for $2,400 that season. Before a game against Cleveland on June 12, Richmond was up all night taking part in college graduation events, and he went to bed at 6:30 AM. He caught the 11:30 AM train for Worcester so he could pitch in the afternoon contest and then pitched a perfect game to beat Cleveland, 1–0. According to the Chicago Tribune, "The Clevelands were utterly helpless before Richmond's puzzling curves, retiring in every inning in one, two, three order, without a base hit. The Worcesters played a perfect fielding game." Cleveland pitcher Jim McCormick allowed three hits, and the only run was scored on a double error by Fred Dunlap.
Richmond graduated from Brown University four days after the perfect game, and he finished the year with a win–loss record of 32–32, a 2.15 earned run average, and 243 strikeouts in 590.2 innings pitched. He was the first left-handed pitcher to win 30 games in a season.
Richmond found success throwing an offspeed pitch that he termed a "half-stride ball" and that other players referred to as a "drop ball". He also had a rising fastball that he called a "jump ball". He also learned to throw a curveball in college, even though a Brown physics professor tried to convince him that nothing could make a ball curve in midair.
In both 1881 and 1882, Richmond pitched over 400 innings. After the 1882 season, the Worcester franchise disbanded, and Richmond played for the NL's Providence Grays in 1883. He experienced arm problems and was primarily an outfielder that year. He finished his MLB career with a record of 75–100, a 3.06 ERA, and 552 strikeouts.
In the winter of 1880, Richmond had begun to pursue a career in medicine, studying under a Providence physician, C. T. Gardner. He enrolled at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York a few months later, then at the University of the City of New York. After the 1883 baseball season, Richmond practiced medicine at Bellevue Hospital and with Gardner in Providence.
Richmond then changed careers, and from 1890 to 1921, he was a high school chemistry teacher at Scott High School in Toledo, Ohio. Richmond married Mary Naomi Chapin, his former student, in 1892, and had three children: Ruth, Dorothy, and Jane. He died in Toledo in 1929.
- Husman, John Richmond (May 10, 1987). "Baseball's first perfect game". Toledo Blade. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
- Husman, John R. "Lee Richmond". sabr.org. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- "Lee Richmond Statistics and History". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- "Richmond's perfect game recalled". Toledo Blade. February 21, 1948. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Lee Richmond at Find a Grave
June 12, 1880
John Montgomery Ward