John Paciorek, a P.E. teacher at a small private school in San Gabriel, California does not at first appear to be anyone out of the ordinary. An excellent teacher, he has taught physical education in San Gabriel for 30 years, and even authored several books on coaching techniques for baseball players. While he has had plenty of practice playing ball himself, his nephew and two sons are actually successful minor league players. However, that is not what makes Paciorek special. More than just a coach, John Paciorek is considered to be the greatest major league baseball player who ever played the game, at least as far as statistics are concerned.
At the age of 18, Paciorek was signed onto the Colt. 45’s, a team that would one day become the Houston Astros. Paciorek jumped at the chance to play major league ball, however this particular situation was more than a little unique. It was the very last game of the season for the Colt. 45’s and they signed Paciorek both because of his skill and as a way of testing him prior to training season.
Paciorek had proven himself in high school to be a talented athlete across a variety of sports, and the major league spotlight did nothing to dampen his talent. During the game, Paciorek went to bat 5 times and got on base every single time. With three hits and two walks, Paciorek scored four runs and drove in three others, directly responsible for seven points and a huge victory for the Colt .45’s.
With a perfect game under his belt, Paciorek went into training season, only to begin suffering from a chronic back condition. While it had bothered him since birth, it flared up and worsened during the off season, preventing Paciorek from practicing. Unable to hit or catch, he was forced to end his career in the majors.
While he would go on to play minor league ball, by only playing one game, Paciorek is left with the only perfect major league record in the game’s history. Since then, he has been coaching and mentoring students in San Gabriel, and his memorable experience continues to have an impact on students that have their own athletic aspirations to this day.