Happy birthday to John Montgomery Ward, threw majors’ 2nd perfecto

johnwardJohn Montgomery Ward, who threw the majors’ second perfect game in 1880, was born 155 years ago today.

Ward threw his perfecto for the National League’s Providence Grays on June 17, 1880, shutting out the Buffalo Bisons 5-0 at the Messer Street Grounds in Providence.

Beating him to the punch five days earlier was Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs, who threw a June 12 perfect game against the Cleveland Blues at Worcester Driving Park Grounds.

Ward’s was the second of 23 perfect games, with the most recent being thrown by Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012.

Lehigh University pitchers throw 11-inning no-hitter

lehighTwo Lehigh University pitchers combined to throw an 11-inning no-hitter Saturday as the Mountain Hawks topped the Iona Gaels 2-0 during the first game of a doubleheader played in Summerville, South Carolina. (Read the full story here.)

Lehigh senior Nick Macaione threw nine innings of no-hit ball, yielding just one walk. Junior Kevin Boswick took the ball for the tenth and allowed just one walk over two no-hit innings.

The game remained deadlocked at 0 until the bottom of the 11th inning, when junior Justin Pacchioli ended the contest on a two-run, walk-off homer.

No-hitters happen quite often in college, though many are occur during seven-inning games played as part of a doubleheader.

Lehigh is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Iona is a Catholic college in New Rochelle, New York, just north of Manhattan.

Varitek, catcher of 4 no-nos, announces retirement 3 years ago today

Three years ago today, on March 1, 2012, Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek announced his retirement.

Varitek is the only major league catcher behind the plate for four no-hitters. Here they are:

1 Hideo Nomo
  Boston Red Sox (AL)
  Wednesday, April 4, 2001
Boston Red Sox 3, Baltimore Orioles 0
Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore)
(His second of two no-hitters)
2 Derek Lowe
  Boston Red Sox (AL)
  Saturday, April 27, 2002
Boston Red Sox 10, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 0
Fenway Park (Boston)
3 Clay Buchholz
  Boston Red Sox (AL)
  Saturday, September 1, 2007
Boston Red Sox 10, Baltimore Orioles 0
Fenway Park (Boston)
4 Jon Lester
  Boston Red Sox (AL)
  Monday, May 19, 2008
Boston Red Sox 7, Kansas City Royals 0
Fenway Park (Boston)

Nimoy, played for Brooklyn Loons, dies at 83.

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Long before “Field of Dreams,” “Bull Durham” and “Major League” hit the silver screen, Leonard Nimoy played an uncredited part of a ballplayer in a film about a once feral cat owning a major league club.

SpockNimoy, best known for portraying “Mr. Spock” on “Star Trek,” died today at the age of 83. In the 1951 film “Rhubarb,” Nimoy played a baseball player for the Brooklyn Loons, a team owned by eccentric T.J. Banner until he dies and wills his money – and the Loons – to a cat named Rhubarb.

Nimoy is sitting at the lower left of the card table in this scene. His big line comes at 4:52 into the clip: “Wait a minute. Rhubarb will be at the game tomorrow, won’t he Eric?”

Live long and prosper, Leonard.

The forgotten Subway Series near no-no

willets shea signThere have been six Subway Series no-nos over New York’s baseball history, with the Brooklyn Dodgers no-hitting the New York Giants three times, the Giants topping Brooklyn twice and the New York Yankees’ Don Larsen throwing a perfect game against the Dodgers in the 1956 World Series.

And then there’s the "Cookie Game" in Game 4 of the 1947 World Series, when the New York Yankees’ Bill Bevens threw 8 2/3 innings of no-hit ball before Cookie Lavagetto lined a double off the right field wall to kill the no-no and drive home two runs for the Dodgers win.

But on Sept. 9, 1971, the New York Mets nearly no-hit the New York Yankees in the annual Mayor’s Trophy Game exhibition. (For those who don’t remember the pre-interleague play tradition, the Mayor’s Trophy Game was a once-a-year contest between New York’s AL and NL teams to benefit the city’s sandlot baseball program.)

In front of a Shea Stadium crowd of 48,872, the Mets’ Jim McAndrew and Nolan Ryan no-hit the Yankees for seven innings as the Mets nursed an early 1-0 lead. Ron Taylor took the ball for the eighth and got the first two outs before Frank Baker singled to left for the game’s first hit. The Yankees wound up winning 2-1 in the ninth.

Here are the true Subway Series no-nos.

1 Tom Lovett
  Brooklyn Grooms (NL)
  Monday, June 22, 1891
Brooklyn Grooms 4, New York Giants 0
Eastern Park (Brooklyn)
2 Amos Rusie
  New York Giants (NL)
  Friday, July 31, 1891
New York Giants 6, Brooklyn Grooms 0
Polo Grounds (New York)
3 Richard "Rube" Marquard
  New York Giants (NL)
  Thursday, April 15, 1915
New York Giants 2, Brooklyn Robins 0
Polo Grounds (New York)
4 Rex Barney
  Brooklyn Dodgers (NL)
  Thursday, September 9, 1948
Brooklyn Dodgers 2, New York Giants 0
Polo Grounds (New York)
5 Carl Erskine
  Brooklyn Dodgers (NL)
  Saturday, May 12, 1956
Brooklyn Dodgers 3, New York Giants 0
Ebbets Field (Brooklyn)
(His second of two no-hitters)
6 Don Larsen
  New York Yankees (WS Game 5)
  Monday, October 8, 1956
New York Yankees 2, Brooklyn Dodgers 0
Yankee Stadium (New York)
(Perfect game in Game 5 of 1956 World Series)

No-no birthday wishes to Verlander, Wright, Wilson, Davenport

Happy birthday to four no-no pitchers: Justin Verlander, who threw two no-nos for the Detroit Tigers, Clyde Wright, who threw one for the California Angels, Jim Wilson, who tossed one for the Milwaukee Braves, and Dave Davenport, who threw one for the St. Louis Terriers of the Federal League.

Verlander, who turns 32 today, threw his on:

  • Tuesday, June 12, 2007
    Detroit Tigers 4, Milwaukee Brewers 0
    Comerica Park (Detroit)
  • Saturday, May 7, 2011
    Detroit Tigers 9, Toronto Blue Jays 0
    Rogers Centre (Toronto)

Wright, who turns 74, threw his on:

  • Friday, July 3, 1970
    California Angels 4, Oakland Athletics 0
    Anaheim Stadium (Anaheim)

Wilson, born 93 years ago on this day, threw his on:

  • Sunday, June 12, 1954
    Milwaukee Braves 2, Philadelphia Phillies 0
    Milwaukee County Stadium (Milwaukee)

Davenport, born 125 years ago on this day, threw his on:

  • Tuesday, September 7, 1915 (First game of doubleheader)
    St. Louis Terriers 3, Chicago Chi-Feds/Whales 0
    Handlan’s Park (St. Louis)

Lincecum to camp with confidence, trademark long hair

Here’s a good story on MLB.com from Anthony Castrovince on Tim Lincecum, the author of two no-hitters against the Padres over the past two seasons.

Lincecum did a lot of offseason work with his father, who helped craft The Freak’s freaky delivery, and the pitcher seems ready to fight for a rotation spot on the Giants’ staff.

The long hair is also making a return.

Pitchers and catchers reporting

A 1980s Spring Training game at St. Petersburg's Al Lang Stadium
A 1980s Spring Training game at St. Petersburg’s Al Lang Stadium
Pitchers and catchers are reporting to Spring Training camp today for the Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Indians, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants.

Other teams’ pitcher-and-catcher reporting dates are Thursday and Friday, and full workouts mostly begin next week after position players arrive in Florida and Arizona.

Just 46 days until Opening Day!

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