The closest MLB ever came to an All-Star game no-no came 26 years ago yesterday.
With only seven shutouts in All-Star history, it’s no surprise that there have been no no-hitters since the tradition began in 1933. In fact, midsummer classic fans have never even got to witness a one-hitter, but the American League staff did take a one-hitter into the ninth inning during the 1990 All-Star Game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
The possibility of an All-Star no-no had been killed early when the San Francisco Giants’ Will Clark tagged the Oakland As’ Bob Welch for a first-inning single. Welch managed to keep the NL hitless for the rest of his two-inning stint, and Dave Steib, Bret Saberhagen, Bobby Thigpen, Chuck Finley held the fort through eight when Dennis Eckersley was called on for the save.
Eckersley gave up a lead-off single to the Phillies’ Lenny Dykstra before retiring the next three batters to notch the save and preserve the only two-hitter in All-Star history, final score American League 2, National League 0.
The Cleveland Indians’ Don Black and the San Francisco Giants’ Jonathan Sanchez threw no-hitters on this date.
On July 10, 1947, during the first game of a Thursday doubleheader at Cleveland Stadium, Black no-hit the Philadelphia Athletics for a 3-0 win despite walking six batters — including two to start the contest. Black struck out five.
At AT&T Park on Friday, July 10, 2009, Sánchez threw the seventh no-hitter against the San Diego Padres franchise and the Giants’ first no-no in 33 years.
Sánchez struck out 11 and didn’t issue a single walk, losing his perfect game in the eighth inning when Chase Headley reached base on an error by third baseman Juan Uribe. Sánchez nearly lost the no-no in the ninth, but center-fielder Aaron Rowand robbed pinch-hitter Edgar Gonzalez with a leaping catch at the fence.
Today would be the 121st birthday of Negro Leagues pitcher Phil Cockrell, who threw two documented no-hitters for Darby, Pennsylvania-based Hilldale in the 1920s.
On Sept. 5, 1921, during the second game of a Monday doubleheader, Cockrell no-hit the Detroit Stars for a 3-0 win. On Saturday, August 19, 1922, Cockrell followed that gem with a 5-0 no-hitter over the Chicago American Giants.
Cockrell, who was born in Augusta, Georgia, on July 9, 1895, later umpired and lived in Philadelphia after his baseball career. He was gunned down while walking out of a Philadelphia a bar on March 31, 1951, by a jealous husband in a case of mistaken identity.
The Houston Astros’ Larry Dierker no-hit the Montreal Expos, 40 years ago today.
On Friday, July 9, 1976, Dierker walked four and struck out eight at the Astrodome to lead Houston to a 6-0 no-hit victory. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander from Hollywood, California, told the Associated Press’ B.F. Kellum that he figured if he was going to pitch a no-no, it would have come early in his career.
“I didn’t think I had the stuff to pitch a no-hitter,” Dierker told the AP. “It’s hard to believe.”
Dierker nearly threw a perfect game in 1966. In a Sept. 30 game against the New York Mets that remained scoreless until the bottom of the ninth, Dierker took the mound and immediately gave up double to Mets’ third baseman Eddie Bressoud. That set the wheels in motion, as Dierker threw a wild pitch to Ron Hunt (pinch-hitting for left fielder Danny Napoleon) allowing Bressoud to reach third and then served up a pitch that resulted in a Hunt walk-off single to right.
The Philadelphia Phillies’ Frank “Red” Donahue threw a no-hitter against the Boston Beaneaters, 118 years ago today.
Donahue, who lost a league leading 35 games for the St. Louis (NL) Browns in 1897, was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies after the season. On Friday, July 8, 1898, he no-hit the 1897 NL pennant winners at National League Park. Donahue issued two walks and the Phillies committed one error.
“He gave the most brilliant exhibition of twisting the sphere that has been seen on the local grounds this season,” noted The Times of Philadelphia. “Not a Champion got beyond second base during the entire nine innings, and not a single Champion got a safe hit during the entire nine innings.”
The Beaneaters eventually adopted the name of the Braves, moving to Milwaukee and then Atlanta.
Today would be the 110th birthday of pitching great Satchel Paige.
Paige, born July 7, 1906, in Mobile, Alabama, estimated he threw 55 no-hitters over his long, storied career that included stints with numerous teams. When Paige wasn’t pitching in league games, he was barnstorming across the country competing against anyone who would take the ball field against his All-Stars.
But just two of Paige’s no-nos against professional-level teams are documented in
the most well-researched list, put together by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Negro League Committee and Noir Tech Research:
Friday, July 8, 1932 (second game of doubleheader)
Pittsburgh Crawfords 6, New York Black Yankees 0
Wednesday, July 4, 1934
Pittsburgh Crawfords 4, Homestead Grays 0 (Paige struck out 17 batters)
Paige was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971 as the first player voted in by the Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues.
Happy birthday to The Cincinnati Reds’ Horace “Hod” Eller, who threw a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1919.
Eller, born on July 5, 1894 in Muncie, Indiana, no-hit the Cards on May 11, 1919 for a 6-0 win at Redland Field. Three St. Louis batters reached first base on walks, but two of them were thrown out trying to steal second.
“This effort of Mr. Eller’s was not only remarkable in that he held the enemy to no bingles, but in that not a single hard ball was hit off him during the entire nine rounds,” noted the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s Jack Ryder. “Not one left a Cardinal bat with a crack of a hard smash resounding from it.”
Happy Fourth of July, and on this day we recognize the only four pitchers to throw Independence Day no-nos: The New York Yankees’ Dave Righetti, the Pittsburgh Crawfords’ Satchell Paige, the Detroit Tigers’ George Mullin and the New York Giants’ George “Hooks” Wiltse.
On Monday, July 4, 1983, in front of more than 41,000 fans at Yankee Stadium, Righetti no-hit the Boston Red Sox for a 4-0 win. Righetti struck out nine and walked four in the game, catching the pesky Wade Boggs lunging for a breaking ball to complete the no-no.
You have to go back another 49 years for the next July 4 no-no, and it was thrown in a Negro Leagues match-up between Paige’s Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays. Paige struck out 17 batters in the game for the second of his two documented no-hitters (he likely threw many more).
The next Fourth of July no-no was thrown on July 4, 1912, during the second game of a Thursday doubleheader, Mullin no-hit the St. Louis Browns for a 7-0 win at Navin Field. Mullin was also born on the Fourth of July back in 1880.
The third July 4 no-no was nearly a perfect game. On July 4, 1908, during the first game of a Saturday doubleheader at the Polo Grounds, Wiltse was perfect before hitting the Philadelphia Phillies’ George McQuillen with a pitch. Wiltse finished with a 10-inning 1-0 no-hitter.
The San Diego Padres’ Leron Lee killed Tom Seaver’s chance of throwing the first New York Mets’ no-hitter in the ninth inning, 44 years ago today.
Seaver took a no-hitter into the ninth inning at Shea Stadium on July 4, 1972, 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.
The Mets count ended at 8,019; the Padres count is at 7,572 games and still growing.