Ken Johnson threw a no-hitter and lost, 53 years ago today.
It was April 23, 1964, and the Houston Colt .45’s were playing the Cincinnati Reds at Colt Stadium. The game was deadlocked at 0.
The Reds clawed for a run on a ninth-inning bunt attempt by Pete Rose in which Johnson threw the ball into the outfield (it apparently wasn’t taboo to bunt to break up a no-no back then). After Rose advanced to third on a ground out, Vada Pinson stepped to the plate and hit a routine two-out grounder to second that was booted by Nellie Fox, allowing Rose to score.
The game remains the only nine-inning no-hitter lost by a single pitcher. The Orioles tandem of Steve Barber and Stu Miller duplicated the feat three years later.
I interviewed Johnson in 2014 and he seemed touched that someone still wanted to talk at length about that game.
“I can’t believe anyone still remembers,” Johnson said.
Ted Breitenstein and Jim Jay Hughes threw no-hitters on the same day, 119 years ago today.
Ted Breitenstein, who pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati’s League Park on Friday, April 22, 1898. That same day, Jim Jay Hughes, of the National League Baltimore Orioles, no-hit the Boston Beaneaters.
The feat wasn’t duplicated until 1991, when the Oakland Athletics’ Dave Stewart and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela threw same-day no-nos.
Today marks a full 365 calendar days since the last Major League Baseball no-hitter.
On April 21, 2016, the Chicago Cubs’ Jake Arrieta no-hit the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night, less than eight months after throwing one against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Arrieta walked four and struck out six as the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 16-0 at Great American Ballpark. Arrieta’s previous no-no was on August 30, 2015, when he no-hit the Dodgers for a 2-0 win at Dodger Stadium.
The Reds had last been no-hit on Wednesday, October 6, 2010, when the Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy Halladay no-hit Cincinnati during the opening game of the NLDS. To find the last regular season no-hitter against the Reds, you had to go back more than 44 years. On Wednesday, June 23, 1971, the Phillies’ Rick Wise no-hit the Reds for a 4-0 win at Riverfront Stadium.
The Cleveland Naps’ (Indians’) Addie Joss threw the second of his two no-hitters 107 years ago today.
On Wednesday, April 20, 1910, Joss no-hit the Chicago White Sox for a 1-0 victory at South Side Park.
It was his second no-no against Chicago. On Friday, October 2, 1908, Joss threw a perfect game against the White Sox at home at League Park.
With the pair of gems, Joss became the first person to throw two no-hitters against the same team. The San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum duplicated the feat in 2013 and 2014, no-hitting the San Diego Padres in each.)
The Montreal Expos tossed a no-hitter in the franchise’s ninth game, 48 years ago today.
On April 17, 1969, Bill Stoneman no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies for a 7-0 victory at Connie Mack Stadium, marking the earliest a franchise has ever knocked the accomplishment off its bucket list. Stoneman would get one more no-no in 1972 and Expos pitchers would throw two more before the move to D.C. Jordan Zimmermann threw the Nationals’ first no-no on Sept. 28, 2014. Max Scherzer added two Nationals no-hitters.
The San Diego Padres, an expansion partner of the Expos, are still awaiting the team’s first no-hitter.
Here’s when the other two 1969 expansion teams exited the no no-no club:
Kansas City Royals
In his 10th Major League start, Kansas City Royals starter Steve Busby no-hit the Detroit Tigers for a 3-0 victory on April 27, 1973 despite walking five batters. Busby would throw another no-hitter on June 19, 1974, becoming the first pitcher to ever throw two no-nos in his first two full seasons (he had thrown a couple late-season games in 1972). Other Royals pitchers would throw two more no-hitters to give the franchise a total of four.
The Pilots lasted just one season in Seattle, and the team couldn’t notch a no-hitter or even a one-hitter during those 162 games (they did get three two-hitters). After the squad moved to Milwaukee and was renamed the Brewers, the franchise would have to wait 17 years for its first no-hitter. Juan Nieves became the first Puerto Rico native to throw a no-no on April 15, 1987 as the Brewers topped the Baltimore Orioles 7-0. Robin Yount made a game-ending diving catch to preserve Nieves’ gem, which remains the Brewers’ only no-no.
Hall of Famer Bob Feller threw the only Opening Day no-hitter in baseball history, 77 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:
Cleveland Indians (AL)
Tuesday, April 30, 1946
Cleveland Indians 1, New York Yankees 0
Yankee Stadium (New York)
Cleveland Indians (AL)
Sunday, July 1, 1951 (First game of doubleheader)
Cleveland Indians 2, Detroit Tigers 1
Cleveland Stadium (Cleveland)
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:
Chicago Cubs (NL)
Sunday, April 16, 1972
Chicago Cubs 4, Philadelphia Phillies 0
Wrigley Field (Chicago)
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)
Happy 39th birthday to Devern Hansack, who threw a five-inning rain-shortened no-hitter for the Boston Red Sox in 2006.
Major League Baseball’s committee for statistical accuracy had already determined that rain-shortened no-nos were not official no-hitters, but Hansack made the most of his October 1, 2006, against the Baltimore Orioles on the final day of the season. He no-hit the O’s for five innings while the Red Sox built a 9-0 lead. Umpires called the game at Fenway Park after the fifth due to rain.
Steve Carlton, one of most proficient major league pitchers not to throw a no-hitter, was elected to the Hall of Fame 23 years ago today.
The 329-game winner never even reached the ninth inning with a no-hitter intact, but he holds the modern-day National League record for one-hitters with six.
On July 4, 1979, Carlton retired 19 New York Mets in a row at Veterans Stadium before Elliott Maddox killed his perfecto by driving a double to the left-center field gap. Carlton held on for the 1-0 complete-game one-hitter, having scored the game’s only run in the third. Carlton hit a one-out double, and Bake McBride followed with another.
Bob Feller and Nolan Ryan share the major league record with 12 one-hitters, but all of Feller’s one-ers were thrown for the AL’s Cleveland Indians, and only three of Ryan’s one-hitters (one for the Mets, two for the Astros) were thrown in the NL.
“Old Hoss” Radbourn threw seven NL one-hitters for the Providence Grays, Boston Beaneaters and the Cincinnati Reds back in the game’s early days.
The Detroit Tigers traded right-hander Virgil Trucks after he threw no-hitters in a season, 64 years ago today.
On December 4, 1952, Detroit dealt Trucks, Johnny Groth and Hal White to the St. Louis Browns for Owen Friend, Bob Nieman and Jay Porter. During his 11th season with the Tigers, Trucks threw two no-hitters despite posting just a 5-19 record on the year. The no-hitters were:
The no-hitters were:
Detroit Tigers (AL)
Thursday, May 15, 1952
Detroit Tigers 1, Washington Senators 0
Briggs Stadium (Detroit)
Detroit Tigers (AL)
Monday, August 25, 1952
Detroit Tigers 1, New York Yankees 0
Yankee Stadium (New York)
The only other major league pitchers to toss two no-hitters in a season are Johnny Vander Meer (who tossed back-to-back no-nos), Allie Reynolds, Nolan Ryan and Max Scherzer. And none of them were sent packing after their accomplishments.
Trucks, who was dealt in the middle of the 1953 season to the White Sox, spent 2 1/2 seasons in Chicago before he was traded back to the Tigers for the 1956 season. It was short lived, as Trucks was sent with Wayne Belardi, Ned Garver, Gene Host and cash to the Kansas City Athletics for Jack Crimian, Jim Finigan, Bill Harrington and Eddie Robinson. after the season’s end.
The Birmingham, Alabama native retired in 1958 after 17 seasons, posting a 177-135 record with a 3.39 ERA.
Today is the 124th anniversary of the latest calendar year major-league no-hitter, but it wasn’t thrown in a postseason game.
The Cincinnati Reds’ Charles “Bumpus” Jones made his major-league debut on Saturday, October 15, 1892, and made the most of it, no-hitting the Pittsburgh Pirates at League Park for a 7-1 win.
Reds player-manager Charles Comiskey, who had watched Jones pitch well in an 1892 exhibition, gave Jones the opportunity to pitch Cincinnati’s final game of the ’92 season. Two pitchers have thrown no-hitters in the first major league starts, but no one else has done it in their first major league appearance.