Back-to-back no-hit starts

Johnny Vander Meer threw back-to-back no-hitters in 1938.
Johnny Vander Meer threw back-to-back no-hitters in 1938.
On Saturday, June 11, 1938, 78 years ago today, the Cincinnati Reds’ Johnny Vander Meer no-hit the Boston Bees at home at Crosley Field. Four days later, he would no-hit the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field to become the only major-league pitcher to throw back-to-back no-nos.

To celebrate Vandeer Meer’s accomplishment, we look at the other six times that major-league pitchers have had back-to-back starts with no-hits. None of these outings went nine innings, but Mike Moore, Frank MacCormack, Gary Gentry, Les Cain, Sandy Koufax and Rex Barney all threw back-to-back no-hit starts. The details of those starts generated using http://www.baseball-reference.com‘s superb Play Index are below, and we’ll take a closer look at one each day starting with the most recent:

No. 1: Mike Moore

Mike Moore
Mike Moore
Seattle Mariners starter Mike Moore retired the first four Baltimore Orioles he faced during his start at Memorial Stadium on May 30, 1985. But when he walked Fred Lynn with one out in the second inning, he had to leave the game with a groin injury.

Moore returned to the mound on June 4 and made it through the first inning of his start against the Detroit Tigers with just a base on balls, but when he walked Lance Parrish and Darrell Evans to begin the second, Mariners manager Chuck Cottier pulled him and gave the ball to reliever Salome Barojas.

Moore didn’t allow a hit in either outing.

No. 2: Frank MacCormack

The Detroit Tigers’ Frank MacCormack, who was 0-5 on the season, got the start against the Brewers at Milwaukee County Stadium on July 26, 1976, and nearly backed his way into the record books despite a brief horrible outing.

Frank MacCormack
Frank MacCormack
We’ll let Retrosheet give the play-by-play for MacCormack’s one-third-inning appearance:

BREWERS 1ST: Joshua flied out to center; Money walked; MacCormack threw a wild pitch [Money to second]; Scott walked; MacCormack threw a wild pitch [Money to third, Scott to second];
Aaron walked; CRAWFORD REPLACED MACCORMACK (PITCHING)

Jim Crawford took over with the bases loaded and walked in two runs, but finished out the inning without allowing a hit as the Brewers led 2-0. Starting with the final out of the first inning, Crawford retired 22 straight batters and didn’t lose the combined no-hitter until the ninth, when George Scott led off with a single to center. The Tigers wound up winning 4-3 in the 13th inning.

MacCormack never pitched another inning for the Tigers, but the Seattle Mariners drafted him from the Tigers in the 1976 expansion draft.

MacCormack got his next start during the second game of an April 24, 1977 doubleheader at the Kingdome, and this time he made it into the fourth inning without allowing a hit, but his wildness against the Kansas City Royals got the best of him.

MacCormack began the game by walking George Brett and he allowed him to advance to second on a wild pitch. He then hit John Mayberry with a pitch but escaped the inning without allowing a run. The second inning was less eventful, with just a lone walk, but MacCormack got into trouble in the third.

He again led off the inning by walking Brett and then hit Hal McRae with a pitch. He managed to get one line-out before throwing a wild pitch to Mayberry, allowing Brett to score. He got out of the third, but when he walked Cowens to lead off the fourth inning, Manager Darrell Johnson called to the bullpen for John Montague, who finished out the game for a 4-2 victory.

The two games weren’t pretty, but MacCormack can say he had back-to-back no-hit starts.

No. 3: Gary Gentry

Gary Gentry,gentry a New York Mets starter traded to the Atlanta Braves following the 1972 season, took the mound on June 5, 1973 for a start at Parc Jarry against the Montreal Expos despite dealing with a sore shoulder. He retired a couple of Rons — Hunt and Woods — before walking another — Fairley.

Gentry retired Ken Singleton to get out of the inning but never returned to the mound, as Manager Eddie Mathews sent up Chuck Goggin to pinch hit in the second. The Expos wound up winning 7-6 in 11 innings.

Five days later, while still fighting shoulder soreness, Gentry started the opener of a doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals by walking Lou Brock and Ted Sizemore. The walks led to a run, as Brock advanced to third on a Joe Torre ground out and scored on a Ted Simmons sacrifice, but Gentry minimized the damage to one run. He mixed one walk into an otherwise quiet second inning but was done for the day after just 2 innings.

The Cardinals won that game 4-3, and the Braves’ Roric Harrison flirted with a no-hitter in the nightcap, holding a zero in the H column until Ken Reitz led off the sixth inning with a triple.

Gentry’s back-to-back starts in June 1973 were hardly memorable, but he held opponents hitless in each.

No. 4: Les Cain

Les Cain was a member of the Detroit Tigers rotation in 1970 and 1971, starting 55 games over the stretch. That’s second only to Mickey Lolich.caintopps

But Cain began drawing the ire of Manager Billy Martin in the start of the 1972 season after getting off to an 0-3 start. Cain’s struggles were partially attributed to a bad shoulder, but it was clear by newspaper accounts that Cain was getting on Martin’s nerves.

Cain took the ball against Milwaukee at Tiger Stadium on May 24, 1972, and held the Brewers hitless through 5 1/3 innings, but he got into trouble in the sixth inning by issuing his third, fourth and fifth bases on balls of the night. Cain walked pinch hitter Ron Theobald and retired Bob Heise on a ground out before walking Tommie Reynolds and George Scott. Martin gave the ball to reliever Fred Scherman, who allowed all three inherited runners to score.

“Do you know that Cain has started 64 games and finished just eight?” Martin asked the AP. “Apparently he’s a shutout pitcher if he would just stay away from the walks.”

Cain’s next start came four days later at Yankee Stadium, and after Cain issued a leadoff walk to Horace Clarke, Martin had seen enough. Cain was pulled from the game,. placed on the disabled list and never again appeared in a game for the Tigers or any other MLB team.

Cain had just technically thrown back-to-back no-hit starts, and they were his last in the majors.

No. 5: Sandy Koufax

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax would not begin his string of no-hitters in four consecutive seasons until 1962, but he actually achieved back-to-back no-hit starts midway through the 1958 season.

koufaxFacing the Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on July 5, 1958, Koufax got off to a fine start, striking out Tony Taylor and inducing a fly-out to center from Al Dark before shortstop Don Zimmer allowed Lee Walls to reach base on an error. Koufax struck out Ernie Banks to end the inning, and he got Bobby Thomson to ground out to first for the second inning’s initial out.

Cubs’ outfielder Jim Bolger followed by grounding another ball to first, prompting Koufax to run over to cover the bag.

“Bolger barreled into Koufax after the Dodger southpaw had taken a throw from first baseman Norm Larker,” noted the Long Beach Press-Telegram‘s George Lederer. “Koufax twisted his ankle as he crossed the bag and Bolger stepped on it as both players sprawled to the turf.”

Dodgers’ Manager Walter Alston brought in reliever Johnny Klippstein, and Koufax would spend days on crutches before returning to the mound.

Koufax took the ball for a July 18, 1958, start against the Philadelphia Phillies, but after he walked four batters in the first inning, Alston brought in Klippstein to try to minimize the damage. It marked a second straight no-hit start for the lefty.

Fortunately for Koufax, his no-hitter prowess would surpass these two starts years later to cap a Hall of Fame career.

No. 6: Rex Barney

The Brooklyn Dodgers’ Rex Barney threw his only career no-hitter in 1948 against the New York Giants.

Rex Barney
Rex Barney
But five years earlier, Barney threw back-to-back no-hit starts thanks to some finagling by manager Leo Durocher, which began on Saturday, September 25, 1943, at Wrigley Field, against Chicago Cubs’ skipper James Wilson.

“Durocher instituted his campaign of trickery earlier, starting Rex Barney, right-hander, on the mound, inducing Wilson to start a lineup loaded with left-handed hitters,” noted Brooklyn Eagle correspondent Tommy Holmes. “After Barney had pitched to one batter, Durocher replaced him with Fritz Ostermueller.”

Barney in that game finished with a single base on balls issued to Stan Hack.

Barney next got the ball for the Dodgers three days later against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the opener of a doubleheader at Forbes Field.

After issuing one walk each in the first and second innings, Barney opened the third by walking opposing pitcher Wally Hebert before getting Pete Coscarart to ground out to third. After he walked Johnny Barrett and Jim Russell to load the bases, Durocher gave the ball to Rube Melton.

The Brooklyn Eagle‘s Holmes questioned Durocher’s “jittery mental gymnastics” in making the call to the bullpen.

“Maybe Durocher, as manager, was justified in his lack of confidence in Barney because Rex was so wild,” noted Holmes “But he sent Rube Melton to relieve and Melton had done nothing in months to establish any sort of confidence.”

The Dodgers dropped both games of the twin bill to Pittsburgh, yet Barney had his back-to-back no-hit starts.

Name Game 1 Game 2 IP H R ER BB SO ERA HBP WP TM
Mike Moore 1985-05-30 1985-06-04 2.1 0 2 2 4 1 7.71 0 0 SEA
Frank MacCormack 1976-07-26 1977-04-24 3.1 0 3 3 7 2 8.10 2 4 DET-SEA
Gary Gentry 1973-06-05 1973-06-10 3.0 0 1 1 4 0 3.00 0 0 ATL
Les Cain 1972-05-24 1972-05-28 5.1 0 4 4 6 5 6.75 0 0 DET
Sandy Koufax 1958-07-05 1958-07-18 2.1 0 1 1 4 4 3.86 0 0 LAD
Rex Barney 1943-09-25 1943-09-28 2.1 0 2 2 6 1 7.71 0 0 BRO
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/10/2016.

Siebert throws no-hitter, 51 years ago today

Sonny Siebert
Sonny Siebert
Sonny Siebert threw a no-hitter for the Cleveland Indians after promising the feat to his wife, 51 years ago today.

Carol Siebert had been ribbing her husband about his pitching struggles, so Sonny had a retort before the June 10, 1966, game against Washington: “I told her, ‘If you don’t get off my back, I’ll go out and pitch a no-hitter,'” he told AP sportswriter Murray Chass.

And the Columbia, Missouri-native made good on his promise. Siebert no-hit the Senators for a 2-0 win at Cleveland Stadium, just missing a perfect game by a walk and a Chico Salmon throwing error.

Brown throws 2nd Marlins no-no, 20 years ago today

Kevin Brown threw the Florida Marlins’ second no-hitter in franchise history, 20 years ago today.

On June 10, 1997, Brown led the Marlins to a 9-0 no-hit, no-run victory over the San Francisco Giants at 3Com Park. Brown, who struck out seven in the game, had been perfect through 7 2/3 innings when he grazed Marvin Benard with a cutter. Benard was the Giants’ only base runner.

Chicago American Giants’ Dougherty notches no-no day after Johnson

Charles “Pat” Dougherty threw a Negro Leagues no-hitter for the Chicago American Giants a day after a teammate threw one, 103 years ago today.

On Monday, June 9, 1913, Dougherty no-hit Paterson Smart Set for an 8-0 win. Dougherty struck out seven and walked one.

The previous day, Louis Decatur “Dicta” Johnson no-hit the same squad for a 9-0 win. It might be the only time in major baseball history that a team notched back-to-back no-hitters.

6 Mariners pitchers no-hit Dodgers, 5 years ago today

A poster celebrating the Mariners pitchers' accomplishment.
A poster celebrating the Mariners pitchers’ accomplishment.
Six Seattle Mariners pitchers no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers, four years ago today.

On Friday, June 8, 2012, at Safeco Field, the tandem no-hit the L.A. for a 1-0 win.

Kevin Millwood began the game with six no-hit innings. Finishing out the no-no in relief were: Charlie Furbush (2/3), Stephen Pryor (1/3), Lucas Luetge (1/3), Brandon League (2/3) and Tom Wilhelmsen. It tied the Houston Astros for most pitchers used in a no-no.

Millwood threw his own no-hitter while with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2003.

(Feature photo Daytime Safeco Field by Richard Eriksson under license CC BY 2.0)

‘Dicta’ Johnson throws Negro Leagues no-no, 104 years ago today

“Dicta” Johnson threw a Negro Leagues no-hitter for the Chicago American Giants, 104 years ago today.

On Sunday, June 8, 1913, Louis Decatur “Dicta” Johnson no-hit Paterson Smart Set for a 9-0 win. Johnson struck out seven and walked four.

The next day, teammate Charles Dougherty threw a no-no against the same team.

Johnson, a 5-foot-7, 134-pounds right-hander from Elizabethtown, Illinois, pitched from 1908 through 1923 and briefly served as a player-manager for the Pittsburgh Keystones and as a player-coach for the Toledo Tigers late in his career.

Happy birthday Bill McCahan, who threw a Philadelphia A’s no-no

119_billmccahanToday would be the 96th birthday of Bill McCahan, who threw a no-hitter for the Philadelphia Athletics as a rookie in 1947.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound right-hander from Philadelphia no-hit the Washington Senators at Shibe Park on Wednesday, September 3, 1947. McCahan struck out two yet didn’t walk a single batter. His perfect game was marred by a second-inning throwing error by first-baseman Ferris Fain.

McCahan told the AP that he didn’t know he was pitching a no-no until the ninth inning.

Detroit Stars’ Gatewood throws first Negro National League no-no, 96 years ago today

billgatewoodThe Detroit Stars’ Bill Gatewood threw the first Negro National League no-hitter, 96 years ago today.

On Monday, June 6, 1921, Gatewood no-hit the Cincinnati Cubans for a 4-0 win. It was his second of two documented no-hitters. On Saturday, May 13, 1916, while pitching for the St. Louis Giants, Gatewood through a no-no against the Cuban Stars for a 4-1 win.

Mountain threw Columbus’ second and final no-no, 133 years ago today

Frank Mountain
Frank Mountain
Frank Mountain threw the second and final no-hitter in Columbus Buckeyes history, 133 years ago today.

Mountain, on June 5, 1884, no-hit the Washington Nationals of the American Association for a 12-0 win on the Capitol Grounds. Just a week earlier, teammate Ed Morris no-hit the Pittsburgh Alleghenys (Pirates) for a 5-0 win at Pittsburgh’s Recreation Park.

in 1884, the New York Metropolitans captured the AA pennant but lost the World Series 3-0 to the National League champion Providence Grays.

The Buckeyes folded before the start of the 1885 season.

Koufax ties record with 3rd no-no, 53 years ago today

koufaxThe Los Angeles Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax threw his third career no-hitter, 53 years ago today.

On Thursday, June 4, 1964, at Connie Mack Stadium, Koufax no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies for a 3-0 win. Koufax struck out 12 and faced the minimum number of batters (27), with his only blemish issuing a fourth-inning walk to Dick Allen. Allen was caught attempting to steal second base.

Koufax’s performance that night tied Larry Corcoran, Cy Young and Bob Feller for most career no-hitters.

Koufax would throw a fourth no-no to break the record in 1965, but his record would fall in 1981 when Nolan Ryan threw his fifth no-no.

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