Adrian "Addie" Joss (April 12, 1880 – April 14, 1911), nicknamed "The Human Hairpin," was an American pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB). He pitched for the Cleveland Bronchos, later known as the Naps, between 1902 and 1910. Joss, who was 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg), pitched the fourth perfect game in baseball history. His 1.89 career earned run average (ERA) is the second-lowest in MLB history.
Joss was born and raised in Wisconsin, where he attended St. Mary's College and the University of Wisconsin. He played baseball at St. Mary's and then played in a semipro league where he caught the attention of Connie Mack. Joss did not sign with Mack's team, but he attracted further major league interest after winning 19 games in 1900 for the Toledo Mud Hens. Joss had another strong season for Toledo in 1901.
After an offseason contract dispute between Joss, Toledo and Cleveland, he debuted with the Cleveland club in April 1902. Joss led the league in shutouts that year. By 1905, Joss had completed the first of his four consecutive 20-win seasons. Off the field, Joss worked as a newspaper sportswriter from 1906 until his death. In 1908, he pitched a perfect game during a tight pennant race that saw Cleveland finish a half-game out of first place; it was the closest that Joss came to a World Series berth. The 1910 season was his last, and Joss missed most of the year due to injury.
In April 1911, Joss became ill and he died the same month due to tuberculous meningitis. He finished his career with 160 wins, 234 complete games, 45 shutouts and 920 strikeouts. Though Joss played only nine seasons and missed significant playing time due to various ailments, the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Board of Directors passed a special resolution for Joss in 1977 which waived the typical ten-year minimum playing career for Hall of Fame eligibility. He was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1978.
Addie Joss was born in Woodland, Dodge County, Wisconsin. His parents Jacob and Theresa (née Staudenmeyer) worked as farmers; his father, a cheesemaker was involved in local politics, had emigrated from Switzerland. A heavy drinker of alcohol, he died from liver complications in 1890, when Joss was 10 years old; he remained sober throughout his life as a result of his father's death.:p.21 Joss attended elementary school in Juneau and Portage and high school at Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. By age 16 he finished high school and began teaching himself. He was offered a scholarship to attend St. Mary's College (also known as Sacred Heart College) in Watertown, where he played on the school's baseball team.:p.21 He also attended the University of Wisconsin (now University of Wisconsin-Madison), where he studied engineering.:p.200 Officials in Watertown were impressed with the quality of play of St. Mary's and put the team on a semipro circuit.:p.21 During his time on the semipro circuit, Joss employed his unique pitching windup, which involved hiding the ball until the very last moment in his delivery.:p.21
Midway through the 1901 season, the Boston Americans of the upstart American League offered $1,500 ($41,394) to Toledo to buy out Joss's contract. The St. Louis Browns of the National League (NL) matched Boston's offer; Toledo rejected both offers. Joss continued to pitch for the Mud Hens and by the end of the 1901 season he had won 27 games and had 216 strikeouts (some sources say 25 games).:p.22:p.47 He became known as "the god of the Western League.":p.47
In March 1902, Joss signed with Cleveland. Toledo sportswriters took exception to Joss, one writing that "he voluntarily signed a contract [with Toledo] for this season but when Bill Armour of Cleveland showed him the $500 bill he forgot his pledge and sneaked off like a whipped cur.":p.48
Joss made his major league debut with the Cleveland Bronchos (also known as the Bluebirds) against the St. Louis Browns. Joss finished his major league debut with a one-hitter.
Joss compiled a 17–13 record and 2.77 ERA during his major league rookie season. He led the American League with five shutouts.
On October 11, 1902, Joss married Lillian Shinivar in Monroe, Michigan. Shinivar was in attendance when Joss made his professional debut with the Mud Hens in 1900. The couple had a son, Norman, and a daughter, Ruth.:p.35 Following the conclusion of the 1902 season, Joss was selected to the All-Americans, an all-star team from the American League who played exhibition games against their counterparts from the National League. To begin the 1903 season, the Cleveland organization changed the team's name to the "Naps" in honor of shortstop Nap Lajoie. In Joss' second year, he went 18–13 and lowered his ERA from the season before to 2.19. Hiswalks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) was a MLB-low 0.948.
For the 1904 season, the 24-year-old Joss went 14–10 with a 1.59 ERA and did not give up a home run on the season. To begin the 1907 season, Joss won his first 10 starts. He threw two one-hitters on the season, the first on September 4 against the Detroit Tigers and the second on September 25 versus the New York Highlanders. When teammate Heinie Berger threw his own one-hitter on September 26, it marked just the second time since 1900 that two pitchers from the same team had thrown back-to-back one-hitters. Joss finished the season with career-bests in wins (finished 27–11) and 338 2⁄3 innings pitched. His win total tied with Doc White for highest in the American League and his WHIP was second-best (behind Cy Young) while both his complete game (34) and shutout (6) totals were third-best in the league
Three games remained in the 1908 regular season and the Naps were a half-game behind the Detroit Tigers as they headed into a October 2, 1908, match-up against the Chicago White Sox, who trailed the Naps by one game. Game attendance was announced at 10,598, which was labeled by sportswriter Franklin Lewis as an "excellent turnout for a weekday." The Naps faced future Hall of Fame pitcher Ed Walsh and recorded four hits; they were struck out by Walsh 15 times. ] In the ninth inning, Joss retired the first two batters then faced pinch hitter John Anderson. Anderson hit a line drive that would have resulted in adouble had it not gone foul. He then hit a ball to Naps third baseman Bill Bradley which Bradley bobbled before throwing to first baseman George Stovall. Stovall dug the ball out of the ground to preserve the Naps' 1–0 lead. With the win, Joss recorded a perfect game, the second in American League history. He accomplished the feat with just 74 pitches, the lowest known pitch count ever achieved in a perfect game. Fans swarmed the field. After the game, Joss said, "I never could have done it without Larry Lajoie's and Stovall's fielding and without Birmingham's base running. Walsh was marvelous with his splitter, and we needed two lucky strikes to win.":p.57
After amassing four consecutive 20-win seasons, he struggled in 1909 as a result of fatigue; by September he was shut down for the season. Joss finished the year with a 14–13 record in242 2⁄3 innings pitched and recorded a 1.71 ERA. He finished fourth in the American League in ERA and third in WHIP (.944).
He pitched a second no-hitter on April 20, 1910 against the White Sox, becoming the only pitcher in MLB history to no-hit the same team twice.[21
Joss attended spring training with Cleveland before the start of the 1911 season. He collapsed on the field from heat prostration on April 3 in an exhibition game in Chattanooga, Tennessee.:p.27He was taken to a local hospital and released the next day.:p.200 As early as April 7, press reports had taken note of his ill health, but speculated about "ptomaine poisoning" or "nervous indigestion.":p.28 The Naps traveled to Toledo for exhibition games on April 10 and Joss went to his home on Fulton Street where he was seen by his personal physician, Dr. George W. Chapman.:p.28:p.69 Chapman thought Joss could be suffering from nervous indigestion or food poisoning. By April 9, as Joss was coughing more and had a severe headache, Chapman changed his diagnosis to pleurisy and reported that Joss would not be able to play for one month and would need ten days of rest to recover. Joss could not stand on his own and his speech was slurred. On April 13, Chapman sought a second opinion from the Naps' team doctor, who performed a lumbar puncture and diagnosed Joss with tuberculous meningitis.[b] The disease had spread to Joss' brain and he died on April 14, 1911 at age 31.
Joss was well-liked by his peers and baseball fans. Upon hearing of his death, the Press wrote "every train brings flowers" and "floral tributes by the wagonload are hourly arriving at the Joss home from all sections of the country.":p.34 His family arranged for the funeral to take place on April 17. On that day, the Naps were to face the Detroit Tigers in the Tigers' home opener. Naps players signed a petition stating that they would not attend the game so they could instead attend the funeral. They asked for the game to be rescheduled, but the Tigers balked at the request. American League president Ban Johnson initially supported the Tigers' position, but he ultimately sided with the Naps. Naps owner Charles Somers and 15 Naps players attended the funeral, which was officiated by player-turned-evangelist Billy Sunday.:p.72
The first "all-star" game was played as a benefit for Joss's family on July 24, 1911.:p.35 The Naps invited players from the other seven American League teams to play against them. Visiting club players who were involved in the game included Home Run Baker, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Sam Crawford, Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker, Gabby Street, and Smokey Joe Wood. "I'll do anything they want for Addie Joss' family," Johnson said.:p.10 Washington Senators manager Jimmy McAleer volunteered to manage the all-stars. "The memory of Addie Joss is sacred to everyone with whom he ever came in contact. The man never wore a uniform who was a greater credit to the sport than he," McAleer said.:p.10 The game was attended by approximately 15,270 fans and raised nearly $13,000 ($320,311) to help Joss' family members pay remaining medical bills.The Naps lost 5–3