The San Diego Padres, a team that joined the National League in 1969, are the only major league franchise without a no-hitter, despite having such great pitchers as Randy Jones, Jake Peavy and Clay Kirby. The team earned this lone distinction on June 1, 2012, when the New York Mets’ Johan Santana threw a no-no to break that club’s 50-year streak.
A San Diego Padres pitcher has never hurled a no-hitter?
That’s correct … well, a Major League Padres pitcher has never hurled a no-hitter. Before the 1969 expansion the Padres were a minor league team in the Pacific Coast League, and the squad recorded three no-hitters. On May 7, 1959, Russ Heman no-hit the Vancouver Mounties en route to a 2-0 win, Allan Worthington no-hit Hawaii 5-0 on Aug. 26, 1961, and Sam Ellis got one against Tacoma on Aug. 14, 1962, 4-0.
So even with great pitchers like Randy Jones, Jake Peavy, Clay Kirby, the MLB club couldn’t break through?
None of them could do it, although Kirby came close … several times. And perhaps Kirby’s start on July 21, 1970 reveals the origin of The Curse.
In that game, the New York Mets were beating the Padres 1-0 but Kirby still had a no-hitter going through eight innings. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, San Diego skipper Preston Gomez decided to pull Kirby for a pinch hitter, Cito Gaston. Gaston struck out, reliever Jack Baldschun gave up a ninth-inning lead-off single to Bud Harrelson and the Mets rallied to pad their lead to 3-0, which would be the final score.
Would Kirby have reached base and started a rally that would have given them a 2-1 lead and an eventual no-no win?
Would Kirby have struck out, yet kept the no-hitter alive through the top of the ninth to set up a ninth-inning Padres walk-off victory? We’ll never know, and the club still has no no-no.
So the Padres are cursed?
I have no idea, but perhaps a blessing from The Swinging Friar could help break it. Not sure if there’s a Franciscan prayer for no-hitters, but the gesture certainly couldn’t hurt.
And it’s a much better option than pulling a Pedro Cerrano to try to sacrifice a chicken. Or … maybe the San Diego Chicken could sacrifice a VHS copy of “Major League: Back to the Minors.” That would do future moviegoers a ton of good.
There must have been some no-hitters against the Padres, right?
You are correct. Padres teams have watched nine no-hitters during their 45 years of existence. This group of pitchers includes a pair thrown by Tim Lincecum in 2013 and 2014, and one each by Dock Ellis (while tripping on LSD), Milt Pappas, Phil Niekro, a Braves’ group of three (Kent Mercker, Mark Wohlers and Alejandro Pena), A.J. Burnett, Bud Smith and Jonathan Sanchez. For more detail, visit our No-hitters thrown against the Padres page.
I’m pretty sure the Padres had some one-hitters, right?
Yes, 28 to date. Andrew Cashner, Randy Jones and Bruce Hurst had two each, Mat Latos and Andy Benes each had one complete game one-hitter and the majority of second ones that were cleaned up by the bullpen. Four of the Padres’ one-hitters were no-hitters until the eighth inning. For more detail, visit our Padres one-hitters page.
Was the Mets’ no-hitter drought the longest in Major League Baseball history?
No. The Mets streak lasted 50+ seasons, or 8,019 regular season games. The Philadelphia Phillies 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.
Any other Padres streaks of interest?
From the Padres’ first game on April 8, 1969, until August 14, 2015, the San Diego Padres had not had a single player able to hit for the cycle (a home run, triple, double and single in the same game). When Matt Kemp finally tackled that task midway through the 2015 season, it left the circa-1993 Miami Marlins as the only team without a cycle.
Have the Padres accomplished any other rare feats?
Despite the drought of no-nos and just one cycle, the San Diego Padres have turned seven triple plays over the team’s history. (See details on our Padres triple plays page.) Statistically, triple plays are more than twice as easy to obtain as no-hitters or hits for the cycle, which are truly baseball’s rare feats.