Happy 69th birthday to no-no record holder Nolan Ryan

73angleshomefrontWishing a very happy birthday to Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, who turns 69 today.

Ryan holds the major league record for no-hitters with seven. He tied Sandy Koufax’s mark of four no-hitters in 1975 and broke the record in 1981.

Here are Ryan’s no-nos:

1 Nolan Ryan
  California Angels (AL)
  Tuesday, May 15, 1973
California Angels 3, Kansas City Royals 0
Royals Stadium (Kansas City)
(His first of seven no-hitters)
2 Nolan Ryan
  California Angels (AL)
  Sunday, July 15, 1973
California Angels 6, Detroit Tigers 0
Tiger Stadium (Detroit)
(His second of seven no-hitters)
3 Nolan Ryan
  California Angels (AL)
  Saturday, September 28, 1974
California Angels 4, Minnesota Twins 0
Anaheim Stadium (Anaheim)
(His third of seven no-hitters)
4 Nolan Ryan
  California Angels (AL)
  Sunday, June 1, 1975
California Angels 1, Baltimore Orioles 0
Anaheim Stadium (Anaheim)
(His fourth of seven no-hitters tying Sandy Koufax for most career no-hitters. Ryan would throw his fifth in 1981 and add two more to retire with seven.)
5 Nolan Ryan
  Houston Astros (NL)
  Saturday, September 26, 1981
Houston Astros 5, Los Angeles Dodgers 0
Astrodome (Houston)
(His fifth of seven no-hitters, setting a new major league record with one more than Sandy Koufax.)
6 Nolan Ryan
  Texas Rangers (AL)
  Monday, June 11, 1990
Texas Rangers 5, Oakland Athletics 0
Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland)
(His sixth of seven no-hitters, adding to his major league record.
7 Nolan Ryan
  Texas Rangers (AL)
  Wednesday, May 1, 1991
Texas Rangers 3, Toronto Blue Jays 0
Arlington Stadium (Texas)
(His seventh of seven no-hitters, finalizing his major league record.)

Haddix, who threw 12 perfect innings, traded to the Pirates 57 years ago today

Harvey Haddix
Harvey Haddix
Harvey Haddix, who threw 12 perfect innings for Pittsburgh in 1959 only to lose in the 13th, was traded to the Pirates 57 years ago today.

On January 30, 1959, the Cincinnati Reds sent Haddix, catcher Smoky Burgess and third baseman Don Hoak to the Pirates for third baseman Frank Thomas, right-handed pitcher Whammy Douglas, outfielder Johnny Powers and utility player Jim Pendleton.

On May 26, 1959, in Haddix’s first season with the Pirates, the Medway, Ohio southpaw retired 36 Milwaukee Braves batters for a perfect game through 12 innings but his team couldn’t score. Haddix lost the perfect game when Hoak threw a routine grounder in the dirt, then lost the no-hitter and the game when Joe Adcock launched a ball over the right-center field fence.

Haddix was later immortalized by The Baseball Project, an indie rock group featuring R.E.M alums Peter Buck and Mike Mills, guitarist Scott McCaughey, drummer Linda Pitmon and guitarist Steve Wynn of the Dream Syndicate. Listen and see if you agree that we should “add ‘ol Harvey to that list.”

Mathewson, Johnson, 3 others voted into Hall, 80 years ago today

Two pitchers who threw no-hitters – Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson – were voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame 80 years ago today.

Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson
Christy Mathewson, left, and Walter Johnson are the Hall’s inaugural Class of 1936.
Mathewson and Johnson joined Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner as the Hall’s inaugural Class of 1936. The results were announced to the press four days after the vote.

The five ballplayers would have to wait until 1939 for official induction, as the facility in Cooperstown, New York had yet to be built.

Mathewson, who posted a career record of 373-188 over 17 seasons, threw two no-hitters for the New York Giants:

  • Monday, July 15, 1901
    New York Giants 5, St. Louis Cardinals 0
    Robison Field (St. Louis)
  • Tuesday, June 13, 1905
    New York Giants 1, Chicago Cubs 0
    West Side Park (Chicago)

Johnson, with a record of 417-279 over his 21-year career, threw one no-no for the Washington Senators:

  • Thursday, July 1, 1920
    Washington Senators 1, Boston Red Sox 0
    Fenway Park (Boston)

Hughes, threw one no-no and lost another in 10th, born 132 years ago today

"Salida Tom" Hughes, who threw a 1916 no-hitter for the Boston Braves and lost another one in extras for the 1910 New York Highlanders, was born 132 years ago today.

'Salida Tom' Hughes
‘Salida Tom’ Hughes
The right-hander from Coal Creek, Colorado, threw nine innings of no-hit ball for the Highlanders (later renamed the Yankees) on August 30, 1910, but entered the 10th at Hilltop Park tied 0-0 with the Cleveland Naps (later renamed the Indians). He gave up single with one out in 10th to lose the no-hitter, and then the wheels came off in the 11th. Hughes allowed six more hits and five 11th-inning runs to take the 5-0 loss.

Hughes fared better on Friday, June 16, 1916, when he no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates at Braves Field to secure a 2-0 victory for his Boston team.

Enatsu’s ’73 ‘sayonara home run’ tops memorable Japanese no-nos

A 2012 card by BBM honors Yutaka Enatsu's sanyonara home run no-no in '73 and Tsuneo Horiuchi's 3 homers during his '67 no-hitter.
A 2012 card by BBM honors Yutaka Enatsu’s sanyonara home run no-no in ’73 and Tsuneo Horiuchi’s 3 homers during his ’67 no-hitter.
The date was Aug. 30, 1973, and Hanshin Tigers pitcher Yutaka Enatsu dug into the Hanshin Koshien Stadium batter’s box in the 11th inning with hopes of breaking a scoreless tie.

Enatsu was Hanshin’s 25-year-old strikeout ace, and the southpaw had been holding the Chunichi Dragons hitless over 11 innings of work. Unfortunately, his Tigers couldn’t score him a run, and the .150 lifetime batter was on the verge of having to return to the mound for a 12th inning. (Shades of Harvey Haddix there, huh?)

But Enatsu had enough. He knocked a home run over the fence, rounded the bases and touched home plate to complete his 1-0, 11-inning no-hitter.

In the U.S. it’s known as a “walk-off homer,” and no major league pitcher has ever capped his own no-no with such a feat. In Japan, it’s called a “sayonara home run,” and Enatsu’s 1973 blast remains in a class of its own.

Enatsu’s gem was the 59th of 89 single-pitcher Japan Baseball League/Nippon Professional Baseball no-hitters dating back to 1936, and we’re now hosting a list of Japanese no-hitters on NoNoHitters.com. The list also includes the leagues’ four combined no-hitters, including one in Game 5 of the 2007 Japan Series, and two All-Star no-nos.

Two Japanese pitchers appear on our major-league no-nos list. Hideo Nomo tossed no-hitters for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1996 and for the Boston Red Sox in 2001. The Seattle Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma added one in 2015.

Happy 81st birthday Bob Uecker

Bob Uecker interviewing Craig Counsell at Miller Park (Photo by Dirk Lammers)
Bob Uecker interviewing Craig Counsell at Miller Park (Photo by Dirk Lammers)
Happy birthday to “Mr. Baseball” Bob Uecker, who once played in a no-hitter.

I got to interview Uecker at Miller Park last summer while researching my book Baseball’s No-Hit Wonders, which is set for release on March 15.

We talked a lot about the right way to call a no-hitter as a broadcaster (he’s in the you have to tell listeners what’s happening camp) but he also joked about playing catcher for the Atlanta Braves in Don Wilson’s Houston Astros no-hitter at the Astrodome in 1967, Uecker’s final season in the majors. Uecker struck out and flied to left for the Braves in that June 17 game before being lifted for an eighth-inning pinch hitter.

“I did my part,” he said.

Monbouquette, threw no-hitter for Boston Red Sox, dies a year ago today

Bill Monbouquette
Bill Monbouquette
Bill Monbouquette, a Boston Red Sox pitcher who threw a no-hitter on Aug. 1, 1962 against the Chicago White Sox, died one year ago today at the age of 78.

The Boston Globe in 2008 detailed Monbouquette’s battle with acute myelogenous leukemia.

Monbouquette threw his no-no in front of 17,185 fans at Comiskey Park. His only blemish was a second-inning base on balls issued to Al Smith, as he struck out seven and the Red Sox committed no errors.

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)

No-hit birthdays for Nottebart, Burke, Donahue

Frank "Red" Donahue threw the first Phillies no-hitter after the Philadelphia Quakers took on the team's new nickname
Frank “Red” Donahue threw the first Phillies no-hitter after the Philadelphia Quakers took on the team’s new nickname
Happy birthday to three no-hitter throwers — Don Nottebart, Bobby Burke and Frank “Red” Donahue.

Nottebart, born on this date in 1936, threw the first no-hitter in Houston Colt .45’s history during the franchise’s second season. At Colt Stadium, on Friday, May 17, 1963, Nottebart no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies for a 4-1 win. The Colts were the New York Mets’ expansion partner, yet it took the Mets an additional 49 years to get their first no-no.

Born on this date in 1907 is Bobby Burke, who tossed a no-no for the Washington Senators. On Saturday, August 8, 1931 at D.C.’s Griffith Stadium, Burke no-hit the Boston Red Sox for a 5-0 win. Burke struck out eight and walked five.

The Philadelphia Phillies’ Frank “Red” Donahue was born on this date in 1873. He threw the franchise’s second no-hitter, though it was the team’s first under the moniker “Phillies.” Donahue no-hit the Boston Beaneaters on Friday, July 8, 1898 at Philly’s National League Park for a 5-0 win.

Lemon, Roberts elected to Hall 40 years ago today

Two pitching greats — Bob Lemon and Robin Roberts — were voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame 40 years ago today,

Lemon got his no-hitter while pitching for the Cleveland Indians on June 30, 1948, against the Tigers in Detroit.

Roberts never threw a no-hitter despite leading the National League in victories for four straight seasons from 1952 to 1955.

(Feature images courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library)

The online home for baseball's no-hitters