Walter Johnson, a 400+ game winner who threw a 1920 no-hitter for the Washington Senators, was born 128 years ago today.
Johnson no-hit the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Thursday, July 1, 1920, for a 1-0 victory. He finished out a 21-year Hall of Fame career with a record of 417-279.
Also born on this day is the Pittsburgh Pirates’ John Candelaria, who threw a no-hitter in 1976. The “Candy Man” no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers at Three Rivers Stadium on Monday, August 9, 1976 for a 2-0 win. Wishing him a happy 62nd birthday!
Elton “Ice Box” Chamberlain, who threw a 7-inning darkness-shortened no-hitter in 1893, was born 148 years ago today.
Chamberlain threw his unofficial no-no for the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, September 23, 1893, during the second game of doubleheader at League Park. The 6-0 game against the Boston Beaneaters was called after 7 innings when the light ran out.
According to Chamberlain’s SABR bio written by Charles F. Faber, baseball writers dubbed him Ice Box “for the ice water that flowed through his veins.”
Johnny Vander Meer, the only major league pitcher to throw back-to-back no-hitters, was born 101 years ago on this day.
The lefty from Prospect Park, New Jersey was a starter for the 1938 Cincinnati Reds. Pitching at Crosley Field on Saturday, June 11, Vander Meer no-hit the Boston Bees (Braves) for a 3-0 victory. In his next start four days later in Brooklyn, Vander Meer no-hit the Dodgers for a 6-0 win in Ebbets Field’s first ever night game.
Happy 55th birthday to Fernando Valenzuela, who threw a no-hitter in 1990 just hours after Dave Stewart threw a no-no.
At Dodger Stadium on Friday, June 29, 1990, Valenzuela tossed a 6-0 no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals. In an earlier day game, Stewart threw a no-hitter for the Oakland Athletics against the Toronto Blue Jays for a 5-0 win at the Skydome.
The games marked just the second time major league no-hitters were thrown on the same day. The first time was on April 22, 1898, when the Cincinnati Reds’ Ted Breitenstein and the NL Baltimore Orioles’ Jim Jay Hughes both threw no-nos.
Happy 161st birthday to Sam Kimber, who threw the only major-league no-hitter to end in a tie.
Kimber, born on this day in 1854, threw 10-innings of no-hit ball on Saturday, October 4, 1884, for the Brooklyn Atlantics, an American Association team that morphed into the Dodgers. Unfortunately, the Atlantics could not tag Toledo Blue Stockings’ pitcher Tony Mullane for a run despite two doubles by Brooklyn’s Charlie Householder. The game was called as a 0-0 tie due to darkness.
Another no-no thrower born on this day (1944) is Jim Bibby. Bibby, who posted a 111-101 record over a 12-year career, tossed his gem for the Texas Rangers on Monday, July 30, 1973, for a 6-0 win over the Oakland A’s at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum.
As we get ready to begin the World Series tonight, let’s remember the only no-hitter ever tossed in the fall classic.
The New York Yankees’ Don Larsen threw a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series for the first no-hitter in postseason history and the only in World Series history. Larsen retired all 27 Brooklyn Dodgers batters he faced at Yankee Stadium on Monday, October 8, 1956, for a 2-0 win.
The only other postseason no-no came 54 years later. The Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of the National League Divisional Series in 2010.
Here is the trailer video for my upcoming book, Baseball’s No-Hit Wonders: More Than Century of Pitching’s Greatest Feats.
It tells the story of the start of NoNoHitters.com, and how it blossomed into the upcoming book, which is being published by Unbridled Books in March. It features some home movie footage my dad took with an 8mm camera of Bob Moose’s no-hitter against the New York Mets in 1969 as well as my first game at Shea, a July 3, 1975, four-hit shutout by Jerry Koosman against the Chicago Cubs.
Happy 44th birthday to Pedro Martínez, who threw nine innings of perfect baseball against the San Diego Padres on June 3, 1995.
A ball from that game sits in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, even though Martínez is not credited with an official no-hitter. His Montreal Expos couldn’t score a run until the top of the 10th inning, and Martínez gave up a double to lead off the bottom of the 10th inning.
Mel Rojas took the ball in relief, and after throwing a wild pitch to allow Bip Roberts to advance to third, Rojas retired the side to preserve the combined one-hit shutout.
Martínez was elected to the Hall this year on his 219-100 career record and a lifetime ERA of 2.93. His 3,154 strikeouts rank 13th all-time.
A couple of old-time throwers of American League “no-hit, no-run games” were born on this day.
Weldon Henley, born on this day in 1880, threw a no-no for the Philadelphia Athletics against the St. Louis Browns during the opener of a Saturday, July 22, 1905, doubleheader at St. Louis’ Robison Field. The A’s topped the Browns 6-0.
“Smokey” Joe Wood, born on this day in 1889, tossed a no-no for the Boston Red Sox during the first game of a Saturday, July 29, 1911, doubleheader at the Huntington Avenue Grounds. The Red Sox beat topped the Browns 5-0.