A spectacular major-league debut—then obscurity.
On the final day of the 1963 major-league baseball season, Houston Colt .45s teen sensation John Paciorek—in his one and only big-league game—went three-for-three, giving him a career batting average of 1.000. He also notched three RBI and scored four times. In the outfield John played magnificently, cleanly fielding all four balls hit to him. His was, truly, a perfect game—the most spectacular game ever by a player in his only big-league appearance. Then, a back injury dropped him just as quickly back down to the minor leagues, where he soon departed from baseball forever.
A rare jewel of baseball history, Perfect tells John’s remarkable story, from his childhood in Detroit, to athletic excellence in high school, to a solitary season in the low minors, to his one shining day in the majors and everything that followed. It includes excerpts from the play-by-play announcers watching his performance—Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner and Lindsey Nelson—and reflections from numerous outstanding major-league players who crossed paths with John that day, including Rusty Staub and Jim Wynn.
The big question remains: What might John Paciorek have become? His story is a fascinating one for anyone who loves the game of baseball: wonderful nostalgia for older fans, a bit of trivia brought fully to life, and a tantalizing story of hope and inspiration for young players aspiring to greatness.
“A great book that captures the essence of baseball and every boy’s dream: to play in the major leagues. The story of John Paciorek is the stuff of legends.”
—Gary Adams, former UCLA baseball coach
“By perfect illogical fate, John Pacorek's 1.000 career batting average for one day’s work in the big leagues is really more the measure of a man who came to understand that the baseball Gods simply threw him a proverbial curve ball. It can’t be explained, yet Steve Wagner’s chronicling of that day does it, and makes you wonder more why John, and not Moonlight Graham, wasn’t the perfect person to have in the movie Field of Dreams.”
—Tom Hoffarth, columnist, Los Angeles Daily News