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 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.
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.
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:
Milwaukee Braves (NL)
Friday, September 16, 1960 Milwaukee Braves 4, Philadelphia Phillies 0 Milwaukee County Stadium (Milwaukee) (His first of two no-hitters)
Milwaukee Braves (NL)
Friday, April 28, 1961 Milwaukee Braves 1, San Francisco Giants 0 Milwaukee County Stadium (Milwaukee) (His second of two no-hitters)
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.
Happy 32nd birthday to the Baltimore Orioles’ Ubaldo Jimenéz, who tossed the only Colorado Rockies no-hitter in 2010.
Jiménez no-hit the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, April 17, 2010, at Turner Field. Jiménez struck out seven and walked six.
Jiménez now pitches for the Orioles, and in 2015 he became the only pitcher I can remember (other than Babe Ruth in 1917 after one batter) being ejected while pitching a no-hitter. On April 17, 2015, home plate umpire Jordan Baker tossed Jiménez after he hit Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval on the back of the shoulder with a 90 mph fastball. Baker surmised that the fourth-inning pitch was retaliation for an incident earlier in the game.
In the second inning, Sandoval slid hard into second baseman Jonathan Schoop to break up a double play, but neither the Orioles nor the Red Sox were issued warnings. Orioles manager Buck Showalter was not happy with Jiménez’s ejection.
Orioles reliever Kevin Gausman finished out the inning, but lost the no-hit bid in the fifth inning on a Xander Bogaerts single. Gausman then gave up a game-tying Ryan Hanigan homer, and the Red Sox went on to win 3-2 on Bogaerts’ ninth-inning walk-off single.
Also celebrating a no-no birthday is Jim Jay Hughes, who threw a no-hitter for the National League’s Baltimore Orioles on April 22, 1898 against the Boston Beaneaters. It was thrown on the same day that the Cincinnati Reds’ Ted Breitenstein tossed a no-no against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati’s League Park — the first of just two same-day no-nos in major league history.
Joe Benz, who threw the fifth a no-hitter in Chicago White Sox history, was born 130 years ago today.
At Comiskey Park, on Sunday, May 31, 1914, Benz no-hit the Cleveland Naps for a 6-1 win in a game with six total blunders, three by each time.
“Errors were plentiful on both sides,” noted one newspaper report. “Two of Chicago’s came together in the fourth round to produce Cleveland’s run.”
The Naps’ run was scored by Roy Wood, who reached base and advanced to second on an errant throw by Sox shortstop Buck Weaver. Wood took third when third baseman Scotty Alcock muffed Weaver’s assist on Rivington Bisland’s grounder, then scored when Jack Graney grounded into a no-out double play.
Benz also issued two walks during the game, but both of those base runners were sent back to the dugout on double plays.
Happy birthday to Tony Mullane, one of two no-nos thrower born in Ireland.
Mullane, born 157 years ago today in the Irish city of Cork, threw a no-hitter for the American Association’s Louisville Eclipse on Monday, September 11, 1882, shutting out the Cincinnati Red Stockings 2-0 on the road at the Bank Street Grounds.
“The Eclipse met the Cincinnatis this evening and licked ’em like the devil,” noted a report in the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Cincinnati played a fair fielding game, but never made a hit. The Eclipse played with confidence, and the wind was in their favor.”
Mullane pitched for 13 years in the big leagues, compiling a 284-220 record with a 3.05 ERA. He also holds the major league record for most wild pitches with 343 — throwing 63 of them during his 1884 season with the Toledo Blue Stockings.
Note that Hugh Daily, who tossed a no-no for the Cleveland Blues in 1883, was also born in Ireland.
Denton True “Cy” Young, who won 511 games and threw three no-hitters, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame 79 years ago today.
The righthander from Gilmore, Ohio, was perfect in his second no-no outing. Pitching for the Boston Americans (Red Sox) on Thursday, May 5, 1904, Young retired all 27 Philadelphia Athletics he faced for a 3-0 win at the Huntington Avenue Grounds.
Here are Young’s no-hitters:
Cleveland Spiders (NL)
Saturday, September 18, 1897 (First game of doubleheader)
Cleveland Spiders 6, Cincinnati Reds 0
League Park (Cleveland)
Boston Americans (AL)
Thursday, May 5, 1904
Boston Americans 3, Philadelphia Athletics 0
Huntington Avenue Grounds (Boston) (Perfect game)
Boston Red Sox (AL)
Tuesday, June 30, 1908
Boston Red Sox 8, New York Highlanders 0
Hilltop Park (New York) Young ties Larry Corcoran for the major league career record with 3 no-nos. It would be tied once more but not broken until 1965 by Sandy Koufax.