Category Archives: General

Fourth anniversary of Humber’s perfecto

Philip Humber threw a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox, four years ago today.

On April 21, 2012, Humber blanked the Seattle Mariners for a 4-0 win at Safeco Field, retiring every Mariners batter he faced.

Twenty-seven consecutive outs almost weren’t enough. Humber won the game on a strikeout of pinch hitter Brendan Ryan, but it required a 2-3 putout to put the game in the books. Humber’s low-and-outside pitch got away from catcher A.J. Pierzynski, and Ryan paused to argue the call with home plate umpirer Paul Runge before running to first base. Pierzynski threw the ball to first and Humber had his perfecto.

Humber, the New York Mets’ first-round draft in 2004, made his first Major League start in September 2007 against the Washington Nationals. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins in the Johan Santana deal, but his next start wasn’t until August 2010 as a Kansas City Royals pitcher. When Humber threw his perfect game, he became the seventh ex-Met to do so (See the archive of our No-hitters … after they left the Mets page. He retired this season after failing to make the San Diego Padres’ roster.

Santana, of course, finally broke the Mets’ curse less than two months later.

(Feature photo Daytime Safeco Field by Richard Eriksson under license CC BY 2.0)

Major-league baseball in New Jersey, 60 years ago today

Aerial photo of Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City.
Aerial photo of Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City.
New Jersey hosted its first major-league baseball game, 60 years ago today.

The Brooklyn Dodgers played 15 regular-season games at Jersey City’s Roosevelt Stadium during the 1956 and 1957 seasons. The first was on April 19, 1956, and the Dodgers topped the Philadelphia Phillies for a 10-inning 5-4 win in an error-filled game (5 errors for the Dodgers, 3 for the Phillies). More than 12,000 fans watched the game.

The Dodgers actually went 6-1 at Roosevelt Stadium in 1956 and clinched the National League pennant, but the team lost the World Series to the New York Yankees, thanks in part to Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game 5.

Feller tosses Opening Day no-no, 76 years ago today

Bob Feller Museum Opening Day no-no display.
Bob Feller Museum Opening Day no-no display.
Hall of Famer Bob Feller threw the only Opening Day no-hitter in baseball history, 76 years ago today.

The 21-year-old Feller used his “heater from Van Meter” fastball on April 16, 1940 to mow down eight White Sox batters as the Cleveland Indians topped Chicago 1-0. Feller’s parents and sister, Marguerite, were among the 14,000 fans at Chicago’s Comiskey Park that afternoon.

“I knew I had a chance for a no-hitter in the ninth,” Feller told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “but I tried to put the thought out of my mind by reminding myself you never have a no-hitter until the last man is out.”

Feller threw two additional no-hitters, tying Larry Corcoran and Cy Young for a major league record that would later be broken by Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan:

2 Bob Feller
  Cleveland Indians (AL)
  Tuesday, April 30, 1946
Cleveland Indians 1, New York Yankees 0
Yankee Stadium (New York)
3 Bob Feller
  Cleveland Indians (AL)
  Sunday, July 1, 1951 (First game of doubleheader)
Cleveland Indians 2, Detroit Tigers 1
Cleveland Stadium (Cleveland)

Bob Feller's No 19 jersey
The Cleveland Indians in 1957 retired the number 19 to honor Bob Feller, who pitched three no-hitters.
Feller nearly had some company on April 16, 1940. With all 16 teams in action, Boston Red Sox southpaw Lefty Grove took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before it was broken up with a single by the Washington Senators’ Cecil Travis. Grove retired the game’s first 21 batters but lost the perfecto on an eighth-inning error. He settled for a two-hit 1-0 complete-game shutout.

Asked by an AP reporter if he was disappointed by Travis’ single, Grove said, “No. No-hitters are bad luck.”

Two other no-hitters were thrown on the date of April 16:

1 Burt Hooton
  Chicago Cubs (NL)
  Sunday, April 16, 1972
Chicago Cubs 4, Philadelphia Phillies 0
Wrigley Field (Chicago)
2 Bob Forsch
  St. Louis Cardinals (NL)
  Sunday, April 16, 1978
St. Louis Cardinals 5, Philadelphia Phillies 0
Busch Stadium (St. Louis)
(His first of two no-hitters)

Celebrating Jackie

jackierobinsoncomicwebToday marks the 69th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the major leagues color barrier.

On April 15, 1947, Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, playing first base and going 0-3 with a run scored. He batted .297 that season to take Rookie of the Year honors.

Robinson’s iconic No. 42, retired throughout baseball, is being worn by every major league player today.

Here’s a little related no-no trivia. Only one pitcher threw a no-hitter while wearing No. 42. It was Sonny Siebert, on Friday, June 10, 1966, Cleveland Indians 2, Washington Senators 0 at Cleveland Stadium.

Pitchers’ trips to infinity … and beyond

hankborowyWhen Philadelphia Phillies reliever Daniel Stumpf began his 2016 season by issuing a walk, a grand slam and then another walk before getting pulled in the fourth inning of Thursday’s loss to the Reds, singer/songwriter/Phillies fan Chuck Brodsky wondered if we should add a new statistical category called “No-Outers” that yield an ERA of infinity (∞).

(Quick math refresher: ERA is earned runs times nine divided by the number of innings pitched, so when a pitcher doesn’t get a single out — thus throwing zero innings — the dividing-by-zero issue gives a result of ∞.)

Chuck wondered what the record is for most batters faced without securing an out, so we turned to Baseball-Reference.com‘s wonderful Play Index to answer that question and come up with a Top 11 list of “No-outers.”

RK Name Date Tm Op Sc Dc I H ER BB BF AB
1 Hank Borowy 1951-08-18 DET SLB L 9-20 0.0 5 9 4 9 5
2 Jorge Rondon 2015-05-01 COL SDP L 3-14 8-8 0.0 5 7 2 8 6
3 Paul Wilson 2005-05-06 CIN LAD L 6-13 GS-1, L 0.0 5 8 1 8 5
4 Paul Wilson 2003-07-10 CIN HOU L 2-11 GS-1, L 0.0 6 7 1 8 7
5 Blake Stein 1998-08-31 OAK CLE L 6-15 GS-1, L 0.0 4 8 3 8 4
6 Jose Paniagua 1997-09-28 MON CIN L 3-11 5-5 0.0 3 5 3 8 3
7 Bobby Jones 1997-09-17 NYM ATL L 2-10 GS-1, L 0.0 3 4 4 8 4
8 Bill Krueger 1984-06-25 OAK KCR L 0-16 GS-1, L 0.0 6 5 1 8 7
9 Bob Kammeyer 1979-09-18 NYY CLE L 3-16 4-4 0.0 7 8 0 8 7
10 Geo Mogridge 1926-09-03 BSN NYG L 3-17 0.0 6 7 1 8 7
11 Doc White 1913-07-11 CHW NYY L 1-11 0.0 4 5 1 8 6
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/9/2016.

On August 18, 1951, the Detroit Tigers’ Hank Borowy came into a game against the St. Louis Browns and faced nine batters without getting a single out. His line for the day was 9 ER on 5 hits and 4 BB during the 11-run inning. The Browns wound up winning 20-9 — a rare highlight in St. Louis’ otherwise dismal season.

The veteran Borowy pitched in five more games before retiring with a 108-82 record and a 3.50 ERA.

Ten pitchers have faced eight batters without getting a single out, including the Colorado Rockies’ Jorge Rondon, who accomplished the feat last year against the San Diego Padres. Rondon is currently playing for the Indianapolis Indians (Pirates AAA affiliate), hoping to make it back to the majors to improve on his career 12.33 ERA.

The only pitcher to make the list twice is the Cincinnati Reds’ Paul Wilson, who threw infinity outings in 2003 and 2005 yet retired with a finite 4.86 ERA.

The New York Yankees’ Bob Kammeyer holds the record for most hits yielded during an infinity outing with seven, and it was his only opportunity during the 1979 season (and the last of his career) so he lists a final ERA of ∞ for ’79. He did, however, appear in 7 games in 1978, so that balances out to a 9.14 career ERA.

George Mogridge is the only major-league pitcher to have an eight-batter infinity outing and throw a no-hitter.

The Cleveland Indians’ Doc Hamann just missed this list by facing seven batters, but he never had a chance to redeem himself and ended his career with an ERA of infinity. On September 21, 1922, Hamann gave up six earned runs on three hits, three walks and a hit-by-pitch to the Boston Red Sox before getting pulled.

The other 13 players to end their careers with infinity ERAs, according to Baseball-Reference.com, are Harry Heitmann, Frank Dupee, Joe Brown, William Ford, Jim Schelle, Mike Palagyi, Fred Bruckbauer, Will Koenigsmark, Bill Moore, Marty Walker, Lou Bauer, Gordie Sundin and Vic Davalillo.

Of that group only Davalillo, who primarily was an outfielder, pitched in multiple games. Facing the New York Mets in the ninth inning of a June 30, 1969, game at Busch Stadium, Davalillo walked Tommie Agee and yielded a Bobby Pfeil single to right before getting replaced by Chuck Taylor. Three days later in the same five-game series, Davalillo stayed in the game after pinch hitting for pitcher Ray Washburn and again began his inning (the eighth) by walking Agee. Ken Boswell then tagged him for an RBI double to right before the Cardinals booted him from the mound for the final time. His career pitching line: 4 batters faced, 2 hits, 2 walks, 0 outs, 1 earned run, ∞ ERA.

The major-league record for most consecutive infinity outings is 3, shared by these seven pitchers:

Name Start End G IP H R ER BB HR ERA HBP WP TM
Taylor Tankersley 2010-07-23 2010-07-26 3 0.0 3 6 5 1 2 inf 1 0 FLA
Mitch Stetter 2009-08-04 2009-08-12 3 0.0 4 4 3 3 0 inf 0 0 MIL
Chris Hammond 2005-09-24 2006-04-07 3 0.0 4 5 5 2 0 inf 0 0 SDP-CIN
Pedro Borbon 1999-07-30 1999-08-05 3 0.0 4 3 3 2 0 inf 0 1 LAD
Steve Avery 1998-04-10 1998-04-14 3 0.0 3 3 3 2 0 inf 0 1 BOS
Mike Myers 1997-04-16 1997-04-21 3 0.0 3 3 3 1 1 inf 0 0 DET
Bruce Dal Canton 1970-09-02 1970-09-08 3 0.0 5 4 4 2 1 inf 0 0 PIT
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/10/2016.

Padres set mark for early-season scoring futility

scoreless27The San Diego Padres, the only club still without a no-hitter, set a major-league record Wednesday night by becoming the first club to begin a season by getting shut out three straight times.

In going down 1-2-3 in the ninth against the Los Angles Dodgers in the 7-0 loss, the Padres surpassed the 1943 St. Louis Cardinals, which couldn’t score that club’s first run until the eighth inning of the squad’s third game (Stan Musial scored on a passed ball).

The Padres at least got rid of one albatross last season. On Friday, August 14, 2015, Matt Kemp notched a single, double, triple and home run to become the Padres’ first player to hit for the cycle since the team’s inception in 1969. The Padres are still awaiting the club’s first no-hitter: 7,493 games and counting.

Pirates’ Veale, Walker no-hit Dodgers, 50 years ago today

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bob Veale and Luke Walker no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers in a spring training game, 50 years ago today.

At Terry Park in Fort Myers, Florida, on Monday, March 28, 1966, Veale threw 7 innings of no-hit ball and Walker followed with two more to lead the Bucs to a 5-0 win over the Dodgers. The AP report notes that the Dodgers hit only three balls out of the infield, and Willie Stargell’s lunging catch of a Maury Wills’ liner in the first inning saved the no-no early.

Happy birthday no-no thrower Mike Warren

mikewarrenHappy 55th birthday to former Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Warren, who tossed a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum on September 29, 1983.

Warren, a 22-year-old rookie, walked three and struck out five in the 112-pitch effort. His gem marked the first time the White Sox fell victim to a no-hitter in 22 years, when the Boston Red Sox’s Bill Monbouquette blanked the Chisox at Comiskey Park. Warren spent just three seasons in the majors, posting a 9-13 record with a 5.06 ERA.

Also born on this date (in 1884) is the Chicago Cubs’ Jimmy Lavender, who threw his no-no against the New York Giants in the first game of an August 31, 1915 doubleheader at the Polo Grounds.

2-time no-no thrower Spahn elected to Hall, 43 years ago today

Warren Spahn (Image courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library)
Warren Spahn (Images courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library)
Two-time no-no thrower Warren Spahn was elected to the Hall of Fame, 43 years ago today.

The southpaw from Buffalo, N.Y., spent the majority of his 21-year career with the Boston and Milwaukee Braves, compiling a 363-245 record with a 3.09 ERA. He was a 14-time All Star and won the Cy Young Award in 1957. He led the American League in complete games for nine seasons, and captured the AL strikeout crown for four straight seasons from 1949-1952.

Spahn threw his two no-hitters within a 13-month stretch in 1960-’61 at Milwaukee County Stadium:

1 Warren Spahn
  Milwaukee Braves (NL)
  Friday, September 16, 1960
Milwaukee Braves 4, Philadelphia Phillies 0
Milwaukee County Stadium (Milwaukee)
(His first of two no-hitters)
2 Warren Spahn
  Milwaukee Braves (NL)
  Friday, April 28, 1961
Milwaukee Braves 1, San Francisco Giants 0
Milwaukee County Stadium (Milwaukee)
(His second of two no-hitters)