DELMAR, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Since 1957 there have only been 30 perfect games in division one college baseball. On April 17th, 1971, Delmar native Bill Balfoort etched his name in the history books. Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of his perfect game.
When he was 9 years-old Balfoort was already playing with kids ages 10,11, and 12 at Tri-Village Little League. His most memorable season as a kid came in 1960,
“the newspaper clippings said fireballer Billy Balfoort won 9 of those 12 games and Hilchie’s Hardware won the Tri-Village Little League Championship,” said Balfoort.
After a high school career at Bethlehem that included a Suburban Council Section 2 title in 1966, the local kid went on to pitch for Hudson Valley Community College. That’s where he had his first run in with perfection,
“the only person that got on base was a baserunner that the umpire said the ball clipped his shirt, after the game the runner comes up to me says you never touched me.”
He would have to settle for a no hitter in that game against Cobleskill. In one season at HVCC Balfoort was 7-1 with a 0.98 ERA. He then transferred to Buffalo where in 1971 he would get another shot at a perfect game. Balfoort was cruising through the second game of a double header with Rochester when a teammate committed one of baseball’s cardinal sins,
“As we’re sitting on the bench yells out hey Dollar! Dollar’s got a no hitter going and that’s one thing that you don’t do, but I stand up I said the heck I do it’s a perfect so they’re all laughing.”
Balfoort overcame the jinx to complete the seven inning perfect game, he battled through seven 3-2 counts including four 3-1’s,
“We went out to eat and I got a standing ovation at the restaurant from my ball players and everybody at that restaurant knew that I threw a perfect game.”
He finished the 1971 season with a record of 5-0 and an ERA of 0.96. Balfoort was inducted into the Western New York Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.