Court and Harvey Haddix

Going to court requires immense preparation, as we’ve discussed earlier. There’s another element to a court appearance that bears careful consideration – as I try to explain to clients. Yes, you will get a chance to tell your side of the story. Yes, the judge will listen. Yes, I will ask all the questions we need so that you can get your side of the story out in a comprehensive, coherent manner.

You could be on the stand for hours. The other side will grill you, but I’ll help get you through it. Then, we’ll parade your witnesses up, one after the other, to really flesh out and back up your story. What could go wrong?

16409c_lgThe answer to that is Harvey Haddix. What, you ask, does a decent left-handed starting pitcher from the 50s and 60s have to do with court? Everything.

On May 26, 1959 Harvey Haddix started for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the defending National League champion Milwaukee Braves. Harvey threw nine perfect innings against them. No runs, no hits, no errors. Unfortunately, the score at the end of nine was 0-0.

Harvey pitched a perfect tenth. Then a perfect eleventh. And a perfect twelfth. The Pirates had twelve hits but could not score.

In the bottom of the 12th, Harvey lost the perfect game when he – probably very sensibly – walked Hank Aaron. His next pitch to Joe Adcock was deposited over the right-centerfield wall for a game winning . . . double. Adcock was so excited he sprinted around the bases and passed Aaron, thereby insuring that the final score was 1-0.

Joe Adcock

1959: Milwaukee Braves player Joe Adcock rounds 2nd after hr to bust Pittsburgh Pirates Harvey Haddix perfect game. (Photo by Rogers Photo Archive/Getty Images)

Harvey Haddix did what no one had ever done, or done since – he was perfect through twelve innings. Harvey’s teammates did, well, nothing. Harvey got the loss.

So what of it? It’s simple – if you insist on going to court understand that you and your witnesses and me, have to be perfect. For that one day, five, six hours or more, we all have to be perfect. And there are always – always – factors that are out of our control even if we are perfect.

In court, you have to give the performance of a lifetime – that Lady Gaga at the Superbowl level performance. And, like poor Harvey Haddix, you still never know.