The Padres have been one-hit by the New York Mets three times, but none was as crushing to the Mets as Leron Lee’s 9th-inning no-no-killing single against eventual Hall of Famer Tom Seaver at Shea Stadium on July 4, 1972.
Seaver took a no-hitter into the ninth inning this day, although he walked two batters in the fourth and two batters in the eighth so the perfect game was off the board.
Seaver took the mound in the ninth and got Dave Roberts to ground out before Leron Lee lined a ball up the middle to end the no-no bid. He then got Nate Colbert to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game for a 2-0 complete-game shutout, Seaver’s fourth career one-hitter.
Seaver struck out 11 batters, and the Mets scored their only runs with two outs in the third when Jim Fregosi and Ed Kranepool drew bases-loaded walks from the Padres’ Clay Kirby.
It was the Mets’ ninth one-hitter and it marked the team’s 1,692nd game without a no-hitter. On the other side, Kirby lost his no-hitter on Wayne Garrett’s first-inning single to move the Padres’ count to 556 games.
24 years ago today, on June 29, 1990, the Oakland A’s Dave Stewart and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela threw no-hitters on the same day.
Stewart threw his at the Toronto Skydome against the Blue Jays, striking out 12 for a 5-0 win. He told Sports Illustrated that it was the first no-hitter of his life.
“I didn’t even have one in Little League,” he told SI after the game. “I’ve never felt better than when I walked off that field tonight. As a pitcher, a no-hitter is it. What else can there be?”
Meanwhile, Valenzuela was getting ready for his start against the St. Louis Cardinals in L.A. when his teammates were watching Stewart’s gem in progress on ESPN in the Dodgers clubhouse.
“You’re watching a no-hitter on TV, and now you’re going to see one in person,” he told them.
124 pitches later, Valenzuela kept his word, no-hitting the Cardinals for a 6-0 victory.
The double no-hitter occurred only one other time, and it was back in 1898.
On April 22 of that year, the Cincinnati Reds’ Ted Breitenstein no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates for an 11-0 victory. It was Breitenstein’s second no-no. The same day, Jim Hughes of the NL Baltimore Orioles no-hit the Boston Beaneaters for a 8-0 win.
Pittsburgh Pirates hurler Dock Ellis thought June 12, 1970 was an off-day, so after a long night of partying he woke up and decided to take some LSD. What he didn’t know was he had slept through a full day and he was actually scheduled to pitch Game 1 of a doubleheader against the San Diego Padres that day.
But Ellis was able to not only secure a 2-0 Pirates win in San Diego, he held the Padres hitless in what is believed to be the only Major League no-hitter thrown by a man tripping on acid.
The story was long thought to be an urban legend, but Ellis talked openly about the experience in a 2005 Dallas Observer story. Ellis, who died in 2008, had long been drug free and was working as a drug counselor when he was interviewed for the article.
“What’s weird is that sometimes it felt like a balloon. Sometimes it felt like a golf ball,” the alternative weekly reported. “But he could always get it to the plate. Getting it over the plate was another matter entirely. Sometimes he couldn’t see the hitter. Sometimes he couldn’t see the catcher.”
That’s evident in the box score, as Ellis apparently walked eight and hit at least one batter.
Two years ago today, on June 1, 2012, Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in New York Mets history, anointing the San Diego Padres with new-found infamy as the team with the longest current drought. Santana’s gem ended the Mets’ streak at 8,019 games with no no-nos, dating back to the franchises first game in 1962.
The Padres have been at it since 1969.
The Mets streak lasted 50+ seasons, which is the longest a franchise has ever gone from its birth, but it’s not the longest no no-no streak. That record belongs to the Philadelphia Phillies, who were void of a no-hitter for 58 years, 1 month, 18 days between 1906 and 1964. The 8,945-game-long streak began on May 3, 1906, one game after Phillies’ southpaw Johnny Lush threw a 6-0 no-hitter against the Brooklyn Superbas. It ended on June 21, 1964, when Jim Bunning threw a 6-0 perfect game against the Mets during a Father’s Day doubleheader at Shea Stadium in New York.
It is taking at least 7,181 games for the San Diego Padres to get the team’s first no-hitter in franchise history.
For one of the other Major League teams born in 1969 – the Montreal Expos – it took just just nine games.
The franchise that relocated to Washington, D.C., to become the Nationals in 2005 accomplished the feat on April 17, 1969. Reliever-turned-starter Bill Stoneman struck out eight and walked five but gave up no-hits during the Expos’ 8-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Stoneman told newspaper reporters after the game that he wasn’t the least bit nervous: “I guess it’s because I was never even close to a no-hitter before.”
Stoneman would get one more no-no in 1972, and Expos pitchers would throw two more before the move to D.C., but no pitcher has accomplished the feat while wearing a Washington Nationals uniform.
Meanwhile, the Padres are still seeking their first, 45 years into the team’s history.
The Seattle Pilots were one of three San Diego Padres expansion partners in 1969. And although the team lasted just one season in the Pacific Northwest, the team has continued on as the Milwaukee Brewers, first in the AL before moving to the NL.
The Pilots couldn’t notch a no-hitter or even a one-hitter during their 162 games in 1969 (they did get three two-hitters). And after the squad moved to Milwaukee and was renamed the Brewers, the franchise would have to wait 17 years for its first no-no. 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.