Early Life and Irish Ancestry
James Francis “Pud” Galvin was born on Christmas Day in 1855. He grew up in a poor section of St. Louis known as the “Kerry Patch,” an area that was named after the home county of most of its Irish residents, although Galvin’s parents, Martin and Bridget, came from Clare and Mayo, respectively.
While pitching for the St. Louis Red Stockings in 1876, Galvin threw the first perfect game in the history of organized baseball. In fact, the term “perfect game” had never been used before and it wasn’t used to describe Galvin’s performance. His performance was only slightly better than the no-hitter he threw in a game earlier that day!
In his first full major league season, Pud posted a 37-27 record and a 2.28 ERA in 593 innings pitched.
On August 20, 1880, Galvin became the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter on the road. In 1883, Galvin started 75 games and completed 72 of them while maintaining a 2.72. Oh yeah, he also won 46 games!
Legacy and Impact on the Game
Pud was widely regarded as the best fielding pitcher of his generation and his pickoff move was the stuff of legend. He once got out of a bases loaded jam by picking off the runner at first, then the runner at third, followed by the runner at second base!
Pud also claimed to have dabbled with performance-enhancing drugs, specifically, a form of monkey testosterone. But those were different times — Galvin’s usage was actually praised by the papers.
In 1888, Pud Galvin became baseball’s first 300-game winner.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1965.