South Jersey Baseball History:
Sunday, May 9, 1999
By Charlie Schick
Historically speaking, the most famous perfect game ever pitched in the Major Leagues has to be Don Larson's masterpiece during the World Series of 1956. Larson, New York Yankees lanky right-hander, hurled his gem on October 8th, and required only 97 pitches to shut down a hard-hitting Brooklyn Dodger squad. The Yankees won the game 2-0 and Larson went into the record books for throwing the first and only perfect game in World Series history.
Locally, the most memorable big league perfect game certainly has to belong to the Philadelphia Phillies crafty right-hander Jim Bunning. Jim's outstanding pitching effort took place on Father's Day June 21, 1964, when the Hall of Famer white washed the New York Mets 6-0. Bunning's performance marked the first perfect game in the National League in the 20th century.
South Jersey high school baseball, of course, has had its fair share of pitched perfect games over the years. In fact, folklore along with other sources has mentioned a number of such perfect outing by area legendary twirlers of the past. But, be that as it may, extensive research has verified only nine such perfectly pitched South Jersey scholastic baseball contests to date.
The first such masterpiece took place way back on June 1, 1945, when the sensational southpaw, Franny Dale of Holy Spirit High blanked St. Thomas Moore High of Philadelphia, 3-0. It marked the third no-hitter the lefty had thrown for the season. Dale fanned 18 that day and gave him a fantastic total of 96 strikeouts in his first six games of the year.
Fourteen years later, big John Buyarski, St. James High's ace right-hander, completely shut down the St. Joseph's of Hammonton baseball squad 5-0 on May 20, 1959. Buyarski totally dominated the Joey's offense attack that day as he registered the area's second perfect game and assured himself a permanent place in his school's baseball history.
South Jersey Baseball Hall of Famer, Les Fullylove of Edgewood was next to turn the perfect contest trick. His masterpiece came on April 25, 1964 as he joined the select group of scholastic hurlers to produce a perfect game. The score was Edgewood Ð1 and West Deptford Ð0. The fire-balling left-hander fanned 19 in the game, to give him an unbelievable total of 72 K's in his first four games.
The fourth pitching classic took place on May 5, 1971, when Eastern High's Dave Wyche hurled a 5-inning perfect outing. The contest was shortened by the 10-run rule as Eastern pounded out 16 hits and led Camden Tech 16-0 after just 5 frames.
Ted Malinoski, Pitman star right-hander, was responsible for pitching South Jersey's fifth perfect ball game. The date was April 24, 1973, as Pitman squeezed past Penns Grove High to the score of 1-0. Malinski did not allow his opponents to hit the ball out of the infield that day, and fanned 7 while chucking his outstanding outing.
It took eleven years to produce the next perfect game pitching effort, this time it was towering 6'7" Dave Fitzgerald of Maple Shade High that hurled his team to a hard fought 1-0 victory over a Delran High nine. The big southpaw struckout 5 as he got credit for South Jersey's sixth perfect game on May 12, 1984.
Once more it took eleven long years before the seventh "perfect" was recorded when Gloucester High's senior right-hander, Ron Maksymowicz turned the trick. The date was May 26, 1995 when Maksymowicz pitched his teammates to a 5-0 win over Woodbury High in a South Jersey Group I tournament game. The big right-hander threw only 62 pitches and struckout 3 in racking up his impressive victory.
As in 1971, the next masterpiece performance on April 2, 1998 was a 5-inning affair as Mainland High's Paul Grasso shut down Cumberland High 14-0. Grasso, better known for his hitting, fanned 5 batters in tossing his rare game that was called because of the state's 10-run rule.
And finally, just this month, May 1, 1999, Cherry Hill West High's star southpaw Nate Cretarolo, joined the elite club of perfect pitchers with a spotless 2-0 win over Edgewood High. The talented left-hander's perfect game featured 13 strikeouts and only 84 pitches.
As mentioned earlier, many have spoken about other perfect game performances, but to date we can only verify the games above as actually happening, therefore, if you can help us find other perfect game accomplishment, please let us know.
©1999 South Jersey Sports Online