On May 26, 1959, Mantilla led off the 13th inning by reaching first on Don Hoak's
throwing error, ruining Harvey Haddix's perfect game, and eventually scoring the
game's only run. A utility man for six seasons with the Braves, he was selected by
the Mets in the expansion draft and became their most regular third baseman in 1962,
hitting .275 with 11 home runs. The Red Sox traded three players to acquire him the
following winter, and in Fenway Park his offensive production jumped considerably.
He hit a career-high .315 in 1963 and belted 30 homers in 1964, 19 more than his
previous best. Playing second base in 1965 he drove in 92 runs, but his average plummeted
to .219 in 1966 after he was traded to
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»July 11, 1957:
In Pittsburgh, Braves IF Felix Mantilla and OF Billy Bruton collide while chasing a pop fly. Mantilla will miss 19 games while Bruton will suffer knee damage and be out almost a year.
»May 26, 1959: In a singular performance, Harvey Haddix of the Pirates pitches a perfect game against Milwaukee for 12 innings, only to lose in the 13th. Felix Mantilla opens the last inning by reaching base on an error. A sacrifice and an intentional walk to Hank Aaron brings up Joe Adcock, who hits one out of the park in right-CF for an apparent 3–0 victory. Aaron pulls a "Merkle," leaving the field, and Adcock passes him on the basepaths. Both are called out as Mantilla scores. Lew Burdette goes all 13 innings for his 8th win, scattering 12 hits. As a consequence of the baserunning in the 13th, the Braves leave an National League-record one runner on base. Haddix's gem makes him the 9th pitcher to lose a no-hitter in extra innings; A combined effort of three Reds pitcher, on May 26, 1956, was the last. Making Haddix's effort even more remarkable is the fact that the Braves hitter knew what was coming. In 1993, Bob Buhl admitted that the Braves pitchers were stealing the signs from Smoky Burgess, who could not crouch down all the way. They would place a towel on the bullpen fence in such a way to signal fastball or breaking ball.
»September 29, 1959:
The Dodgers win Game 2 of the playoff 6-5,
and take the NL pennant. Los Angeles overcomes a 5-2,
9th-inning deficit to tie the game; they win
it in the 12th when Gil Hodges scores from 2nd on
Felix Mantilla's off-balance heave past 1B after a
difficult chance on Carl Furillo's grounder.