Keeping up with the no-nos

iphone_notifcation_half_sizeIf you love no-hitters and have an iPhone or iPad, a must-have app is No-Hitter Alerts created by Ben Packard.

This great 99-cent app will inform you of any no-no in progress in whatever inning you want choose. (To me, it’s worth tuning into MLB TV for teams you don’t care about when a game reaches the 7th inning without a hit.) The app will also let you set a different inning for teams you care about, so if I happen to be missing a Mets or Padres game on a particular night I’ll get a heads up in the fifth.)

The app’s website is if you want to learn more. There’s no Android version as of yet.

Lincecum throws 2nd no-hitter against Padres

The San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum no-hit the San Diego Padres on Wednesday for the second time in less than a year.

“The Freak” allowed just one baserunner, walking Chase Headley in the second. He retired the next 23 batters to complete the task at AT&T Park with a 4-0 victory.

The only other major league pitcher to throw no-hitters against the same team is the Cleveland Naps’ Addie Joss, who tossed no-nos against the Chicago White Sox on Oct. 2, 1908 and April 20, 1910.

On July 13, 2013, Lincecum struck out 13 Padres hitters at Petco Park but needed a 148th pitch to get Yonder Alonso to fly out to left and complete the 9-0 no-hitter.

Cleveland Naps pitcher Addie Joss, Bain News Service, 1910, LC-DIG-ggbain-08196.
Addie Joss
His no-no pitch count is just one shy of the record since Major League Baseball began tracking such things in 1988. Third-baseman Pablo Sandoval contributed to the effort with a seventh-inning backhand grab on a sharp grounder and Hunter Pence helped with a diving eighth-inning catch.

Lincecum’s 2013 no-hitter was Petco Park’s first.

On the other side of the game on Wednesday, the Padres’ Ian Kennedy yielded a first-inning Buster Posey single for San Diego’s 7,245th regular season game without a no-no. The Padres remain the only team with no no-no.

Dodgers’ Kershaw throws no-hitter, only runner reaches on error

Clayton Kershaw threw a no-hitter for the The Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night, marking the franchise’s major league leading 25th no-no.

The accomplishment came less than a month after the Dodgers’ Josh Beckett threw a no-hitter against the Phillies in Philadelphia.

“Beckett told me he’s going to teach me how to do that,” Kershaw said after the game. “So I have Josh to thank.”

The Texas-born southpaw struck out 15 and walked none.

Kershaw had a perfect game going in the seventh when shortstop Hanley Ramirez committed a throwing error on a ball hit to him by Corey Dickerson. Kershaw nearly lost the no-hitter soon after when Troy Tulowitzki hit a hard grounder to third, but Miguel Rojas fielded the ball behind the bag and made a long, accurate throw to first, which was aptly scooped by Adrian Gonzalez.

Baseball, Padres mourn death of Tony Gwynn

Tony Gwynn statue outside Petco Park.The baseball world today is mourning the loss of “Mr. Padre” Tony Gwynn, who died Monday morning of cancer at the age of 54. Gwynn has said that the disease was brought on by his use of chewing tobacco.

Gwynn, who was one of the nicest guys to ever play the game, batted an amazing .338 over a 20-year career with the San Diego Padres. He also helped the Padres avoid getting no-hit on June 6, 1988, when he tagged the Cincinnati Reds’ Tom Browning for a ninth-inning, one-out single – the Padres’ only hit during the Reds’ 12-0 victory.

Ellis, on LSD, no-hits Padres, 44 years ago today

Pittsburgh Pirates hurler Dock Ellis thought June 12, 1970 was an off-day, so after a long night of partying he woke up and decided to take some LSD. What he didn’t know was he had slept through a full day and he was actually scheduled to pitch Game 1 of a doubleheader against the San Diego Padres that day.

But Ellis was able to not only secure a 2-0 Pirates win in San Diego, he held the Padres hitless in what is believed to be the only Major League no-hitter thrown by a man tripping on acid.

The story was long thought to be an urban legend, but Ellis talked openly about the experience in a 2005 Dallas Observer story. Ellis, who died in 2008, had long been drug free and was working as a drug counselor when he was interviewed for the article.

“What’s weird is that sometimes it felt like a balloon. Sometimes it felt like a golf ball,” the alternative weekly reported. “But he could always get it to the plate. Getting it over the plate was another matter entirely. Sometimes he couldn’t see the hitter. Sometimes he couldn’t see the catcher.”

That’s evident in the box score, as Ellis apparently walked eight and hit at least one batter.

Padres left alone, two years ago today

johanTwo years ago today, on June 1, 2012, Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in New York Mets history, anointing the San Diego Padres with new-found infamy as the team with the longest current drought. Santana’s gem ended the Mets’ streak at 8,019 games with no no-nos, dating back to the franchises first game in 1962.

The Padres have been at it since 1969.

The Mets streak lasted 50+ seasons, which is the longest a franchise has ever gone from its birth, but it’s not the longest no no-no streak. That record belongs to the Philadelphia Phillies, who were void of a no-hitter for 58 years, 1 month, 18 days between 1906 and 1964. The 8,945-game-long streak began on May 3, 1906, one game after Phillies’ southpaw Johnny Lush threw a 6-0 no-hitter against the Brooklyn Superbas. It ended on June 21, 1964, when Jim Bunning threw a 6-0 perfect game against the Mets during a Father’s Day doubleheader at Shea Stadium in New York.

Padres’ move to Washington announced, 41 years ago today

Washington Nat'l Lea. Topps 1974 team cardOn May 27, 1973, 41 years ago today, a group of businessmen from Washington, D.C., announced they had bought the San Diego Padres for $12 million and were relocating the team to the nation’s capital for the 1974 season.

The move was thought to be such a done deal that Topps began printing its 1974 Padres baseball cards with the team name “Washington Nat’l Lea.” The blog Ghosts of DC even has a photo of pitcher Dave Freisleben in a prototype Washington road uniform, an ugly light blue polyester pullover with red and blue trim.

But the team never moved. The City of San Diego filed lawsuits, outgoing owner C. Arnholt Smith needed to complete the deal and retired McDonald’s chief executive officer Ray Krok stepped up with the cash and kept the Friars in San Diego.

Beckett throws Dodgers’ 24th no-no, tops among franchises

Josh Beckett’s no-hitter for The Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday marks the franchise’s 24th no-no, tops in the majors.

The first was on Oct 4, 1884, when Sam Kimber threw a 10-inning no-no against the Toledo Blue Stockings that ended in a 0-0 tie.

Beckett, a 2003 World Series MVP who has been struggling to regain his form, walked three and struck out six during his 6-0 road victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

It marked the Dodgers’ first no-hitter since Hideo Nomo threw a 9-0 no-hit no-run game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Sept. 17, 1996.

Foley 1st to hit for cycle 132 years ago today

Curry Foley Digital ID: 56697. New York Public Library132 years ago today, Charles J “Curry” Foley became the first Major League player to hit for the cycle.

Foley accomplished the feat on May 25, 1882, while playing right field for Buffalo during the Bisons’ 20-1 National League crushing of the Cleveland Blues.

“The game proved a Waterloo for the visitors, and was robbed of all interest at an early stage by the terrific slugging,” an unnamed newspaper writer penned from Riverside Grounds. “Nothing like it was ever seen before.”

Hitting for the cycle involves notching a single, double, triple and homer in the same game. It’s about as rare as a no-hitter, with 304 over baseball’s history compared to 292 no-nos. Though the term “hit-for-cycle” apparently wasn’t used back then, the box score says that Foley went 4-for-6 and those hits included a double, a triple and a home run that “cleared the bases.”

Foley, who was born in Ireland, made his last appearance on a ball field in 1888 due to rheumatism. He died on Oct. 21, 1898, at the age of 42 after being bedridden for years.

“He was a very bright fellow, using superior judgment in his work,” the writer of his obituary noted. “Not only did he excel as a ball player, but he made his mark as a writer. He had a wonderful memory, and his reminiscences of feats on the ball field were most interesting and entertaining.”

Trivia answer … Ryan’s 9th-inning heartbreaks

Nolan Ryan's circle of no-no hats in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Nolan Ryan’s circle of no-no hats in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Today’s trivia question was: What do Dick Allen, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Nelson Liriano and Dave Bergman all have in common?

The question was borne out of Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish’s loss of a no-hitter in the ninth inning Friday night for the Texas Rangers.

The five players featured in our question all broke up ninth-inning no-hitters by no-no king Nolan Ryan. Don’t feel too sorry for Ryan, though, as he ended his career with a record-setting seven no-hitters.

The first lost ninth-inning no-no came on Aug. 7, 1974, when Ryan – then a California Angel – yielded a one-out single to Dick Allen. Ryan wound up giving up three hits and taking a 2-1 loss against the Chicago White Sox. In the second lost no-no, Ryan was no-hitting the New York Yankees through 8⅓ innings on July 13, 1979, when Reggie Jackson singled. The Yankees wound up scoring an unearned run, but Ryan held on for a one-hit 6-1 victory.

Ryan’s third lost no-no in the ninth came as a member of the Houston Astros on April 27, 1988, after Ryan took a 2-0 lead into the ninth inning. The Phillies’ Greg Gross lead off the inning by reaching base on an error. After Juan Samuel struck out, Mike Schmidt hit a one-out single to kill the no-no, and Lance Parrish followed with a double that scored Gross and Schmidt’s pinch-runner, Bob Dernier. The Astros scored in the top of the 10th and inning, Dave Smith pitched a perfect bottom half of the inning for the win.

Ryan lost no-no number 4 was on April 23, 1989, courtesy of the Toronto Blue Jays’ Nelson Liriano. Liriano tagged Ryan for a one-out triple, then scored on ground out as Ryan held on for a 4-1 one-hit complete-game victory. (Side note: Five days later, Liriano stole another no-no in the ninth, this one as a pinch-hitter crushing the hopes of the California Angels’ Kirk McCaskill.)

The Detroit Tigers’ Dave Bergman is responsible for the fifth ninth-inning lost no-no, tagging Ryan for a one-out single. Bergman advanced to third on a Matt Nokes double, prompting Texas manager Bobby Valentine to bring in reliever Jeff Russell. Bergman scored on a Chet Lemon ground out and the Rangers held on to preserve a 4-1 victory, credited to Ryan.

Oddly, all of Ryan’s lost ninth-inning no-nos came with one out.

And two of them were part of Ryan’s record-tying 12 career one-hitters, a mark that matches Bob Feller’s total.

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