Knuckleballer Purkey was a top starter for the Reds in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Unlike most knuckleball specialists, one of his strengths was excellent control. He was usually hittable but his control helped him avoid big innings. In 1960 he pitched an 11-hit shutout. He lost a heartbreaker in Game Four of the 1961 WS when Roger Maris homered in the ninth inning to give the Yankees a 3-2 win. Twice Purkey won 17 games for the Reds, and in 1962 he led the NL in winning percentage (.821) with a sparkling 23-5 mark.