Lincecum to camp with confidence, trademark long hair

Here’s a good story on MLB.com from Anthony Castrovince on Tim Lincecum, the author of two no-hitters against the Padres over the past two seasons.

Lincecum did a lot of offseason work with his father, who helped craft The Freak’s freaky delivery, and the pitcher seems ready to fight for a rotation spot on the Giants’ staff.

The long hair is also making a return.

Pitchers and catchers reporting

A 1980s Spring Training game at St. Petersburg's Al Lang Stadium
A 1980s Spring Training game at St. Petersburg’s Al Lang Stadium
Pitchers and catchers are reporting to Spring Training camp today for the Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Indians, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants.

Other teams’ pitcher-and-catcher reporting dates are Thursday and Friday, and full workouts mostly begin next week after position players arrive in Florida and Arizona.

Just 46 days until Opening Day!

Could this be the year of the first Padres no-no?

46yearsandcountingWith James Shields, Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy taking the top four spots in the San Diego Padres rotation, could the Friars have their best shot at snapping the franchise’s 46-year no no-no curse?

The newcomer, Shields, took a Kansas City Royals no-no into the sixth inning on May 6, 2013 before losing it on a Dwayne Wise leadoff single. On August 3, 2009, while pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays, Shields held the Royals hitless through seven innings before losing the no-no (and eventually the game).

Cashner has taken two Padres no-hitters into later innings, and both times he had to settle for one-hitters. On Sept. 16, 2013 against the Pirates at PNC Park, he pitched six no-hit innings before yielding a Jose Tabata single to right. On April 11, 2014 at Petco Park, Cashner held the Detroit Tigers hitless through five innings when Rajai Davis hit a one-out single to center.

Kennedy, on April 17, 2014, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up a Nolan Arenado double down the third base line that hit the bag, making it impossible for third baseman Alexi Amarista to make a save.

On July 20, 2014, Tyson Ross no-hit the New York Mets for four innings before Travis d’Arnaud’s bounced a single down the third base line.

One of those guys is bound to break through, right?

Or maybe the key is the fifth spot, which will likely be given to Brandon Morrow or Odrisamer Despaigne.

Morrow on Aug. 8, 2010 took a Toronto Blue Jays no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays but lost it on a two-out single by Evan Longoria.

Despaigne, on July 20, 2014, took a San Diego Padres no-hitter through 7⅔ innings but lost it on a double by the Mets’ Daniel Murphy. The Padres later won that game on a walk-off infield single in the bottom of the 9th, but it ended like most with no no-no.

So many possibilities for 2015!

Championship of the St. Pete Pelicans (a k a ex-Mets)

Steve Henderson St. Pete Pelicans cardHere’s a little Florida baseball trivia (and Mets trivia) ahead of players flocking to their upcoming Grapefruit League assignments.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the first Senior Professional Baseball Association championship, in which the St. Petersburg Pelicans topped the Palm Beach Tropics 12-4. Lamar Johnson, who last year served as the New York Mets’ hitting coach, hit a home run and drove in three RBIs in that contest.

The Pelicans actually featured a bevy of ex-Mets. Johnson (.372), Steve Henderson (.352) and Len Randle (.349) led St. Pete in offense, and Jon Matlack won 10 games for the club. The Pelicans roster also featured former Mets Dock Ellis (here’s our no-no tie-in), Joe Sambito, Butch Benton, Sergio Ferrer, Gary Rajsich, Jerry Martin and Pat Zachry. It’s like a who’s who of the low-profile ’80s era.

The season was essentially it for the 35-and-older league, as four teams dropped out ahead of the start of the second season. The SPBA folded shortly thereafter.

The Pelicans’ sharp looking dark red and gold uniforms did get a bit of redemption, though. The Tampa Bay Rays, void of many options for throwbacks, wore Pelicans jerseys in a game against the Houston Astros in 2008.

Happy birthday to Scott Erickson, threw Metrodome’s first no-no

A happy 47th birthday to Scott Erickson, who threw the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome’s first no-hitter back in 1994. Erickson no-hit the Milwaukee Brewers on April 27 of that year for a 6-0 victory.

The Metrodome, which had a reputation as a hitter’s park, saw just one other no-hitter during its history from 1982 to 2009 – Eric Milton’s 7-0 no-no against the Anaheim Angels in 1999.

Erickson is best known to this website as one of the 10 pitchers who threw a no-hitter before joining the New York Mets.

Mets sign man who would break no no-no curse, 7 years ago today

Seven years ago today, the New York Mets obtained the man who would eventually break the team’s 50-year streak of never having thrown a no-hitter.

John Santana
John Santana
The Mets dealt outfielder Carlos Gomez and minor-league pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra to the Minnesota Twins to obtain the two-time Cy Young Award winner from Venezuela. The trade was conditional on contract negotiations, and Santana and the Mets agreed to a six-year, $137.5 million contract on Feb. 1, 2008.

On June 1, 2012, Santana threw the Mets’ first no-hitter after 8,019 regular season games without one. Santana’s gem left the San Diego Padres as the only major league team without a no-no.

Is this no-no heaven? … No, it’s the 2010s

If current trends continue, the 2010s could be forever known as the decade of the no-hitter and the perfect game.

No-hitters by decade, 1880s - 2010s
No-hitters by decade, 1880s – 2010s
At the 2010s midway point, baseball fans have already witnessed 24 no-hitters, five of which were perfect games. The 1960s hold the current no-no record with 34, and pitchers need to throw just two per season to match the mark. The 2010s already broke the record for perfect games, which had been held by the 1990s.

As seen on the bar chart above (click on the image for a larger view), no-hitters seem to come in cycles, so we could be poised for a drought. Major League Baseball experienced its last dry year in 2005, and perhaps the baseball gods are looking to celebrate an anniversary.

Or, pitchers could continue to dominate and drive our count closer to 300.

Happy birthday to no-hit record holder Nolan Ryan

73angleshomefrontNoNoHitters.com sends birthday wishes out to Nolan Ryan, who turns 68 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 California Angels (AL)
  Tuesday, May 15, 1973
California Angels 3, Kansas City Royals 0
Royals Stadium (Kansas City)
2 California Angels (AL)
  Sunday, July 15, 1973
California Angels 6, Detroit Tigers 0
Tiger Stadium (Detroit)
3 California Angels (AL)
  Saturday, September 28, 1974
California Angels 4, Minnesota Twins 0
Anaheim Stadium (Anaheim)
4 California Angels (AL)
  Sunday, June 1, 1975
California Angels 1, Baltimore Orioles 0
Anaheim Stadium (Anaheim)
5 Houston Astros (NL)
  Saturday, September 26, 1981
Houston Astros 5, Los Angeles Dodgers 0
Astrodome (Houston)
6 Texas Rangers (AL)
  Monday, June 11, 1990
Texas Rangers 5, Oakland Athletics 0
Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland)
7 Texas Rangers (AL)
  Wednesday, May 1, 1991
Texas Rangers 3, Toronto Blue Jays 0
Arlington Stadium (Texas)

Monbouquette, threw no-hitter for Boston Red Sox, dies

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

My autographed Mill Monbouquette photo.
Bill Monbouquette
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.

Santana throwing near 90 mph in Venezuelan league

Johan Santana, who needs no introduction on this site as he threw the first no-hitter in New York Mets history, is attempting a comeback in the Venezuelan Winter League. Santana, who has missed two seasons due to injury since his June 1, 2012 Mets accomplishment, is throwing hard in his home country for the Navegantes del Magallanes, with some of his fastballs reaching near 90 mph.

The New York Post is reporting that the New York Yankees were in attendance for Tuesday’s game and may be interested.

Here’s a clip of Santana in action:

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