Tag Archives: astros

Astros’ Dierker no-hits Expos, 41 years ago today

195_larrydierkerThe Houston Astros’ Larry Dierker no-hit the Montreal Expos, 41 years ago today.

On Friday, July 9, 1976, Dierker walked four and struck out eight at the Astrodome to lead Houston to a 6-0 no-hit victory. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander from Hollywood, California, told the Associated Press’ B.F. Kellum that he figured if he was going to pitch a no-no, it would have come early in his career.

“I didn’t think I had the stuff to pitch a no-hitter,” Dierker told the AP. “It’s hard to believe.”

Dierker nearly threw a perfect game in 1966. In a Sept. 30 game against the New York Mets that remained scoreless until the bottom of the ninth, Dierker took the mound and immediately gave up double to Mets’ third baseman Eddie Bressoud. That set the wheels in motion, as Dierker threw a wild pitch to Ron Hunt (pinch-hitting for left fielder Danny Napoleon) allowing Bressoud to reach third and then served up a pitch that resulted in a Hunt walk-off single to right.

Johnson throws a no-hitter … and loses … 53 years ago today

Ken Johnson of the Colt .45's.
Ken Johnson of the Colt .45’s.
Ken Johnson threw a no-hitter and lost, 53 years ago today.

It was April 23, 1964, and the Houston Colt .45’s were playing the Cincinnati Reds at Colt Stadium. The game was deadlocked at 0.

The Reds clawed for a run on a ninth-inning bunt attempt by Pete Rose in which Johnson threw the ball into the outfield (it apparently wasn’t taboo to bunt to break up a no-no back then). After Rose advanced to third on a ground out, Vada Pinson stepped to the plate and hit a routine two-out grounder to second that was booted by Nellie Fox, allowing Rose to score.

The game remains the only nine-inning no-hitter lost by a single pitcher. The Orioles tandem of Steve Barber and Stu Miller duplicated the feat three years later.

I interviewed Johnson in 2014 and he seemed touched that someone still wanted to talk at length about that game.

“I can’t believe anyone still remembers,” Johnson said.

Johnson died in November 2015 at the age of 82.

Wilson, threw 2 Astros no-nos, born 72 years ago today

Don Wilson
Don Wilson
Today would be the 72nd birthday of Don Wilson, who threw no-hitters for the Houston Astros in 1967 and 1969. The right-handed flamethrower, who pitched one game in 1966, was a mainstay of the Houston rotation from 1967 to 1974, winning 104 games.

He died of accidental asphyxiation in his home on Jan. 5, 1975, when he left his car running after pulling into his garage. His son, who was upstairs, also died.

The Astros retired Wilson’s No. 40 in 1975.

Here are Wilson’s no-nos.

  • Sunday, June 18, 1967
    Houston Astros 2, Atlanta Braves 0
    Astrodome (Houston)
  • Thursday, May 1, 1969
    Houston Astros 4, Cincinnati Reds 0
    Crosley Field (Cincinnati)

Baseball’s neutral-site no-no, 8 years ago today

The Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano threw a neutral site no-hitter, eight years ago today.

The Houston Astros had a game scheduled against the Cubs on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008, but the team was forced to play the game outside of Houston because of Hurricane Ike. The Brewers offered Miller Park, and the stadium’s close proximity to Chicago made the game feel like a Cubs’ home game.

Zambrano held the Astros hitless while striking out 10 batters and walking one to lead Chicago to a 5-0 win in front of 23,441 fans.

Dave Roberts: A modern-day Preston Gomez

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is quickly becoming a modern-day Preston Gomez.

Roberts pulled Rich Hill after Hill threw seven innings of perfect baseball Saturday, and the bullpen couldn’t complete what could have been the majors’ first combined perfecto as the Dodgers topped the Marlins in Miami 5-0.

Outfielder Yasiel Puig had just saved Hill’s perfect game in the seventh with a spectacular diving catch, and it was beginning to look like Hill might be poised to throw baseball’s 24th perfecto/296th no-hitter.

But Manager Dave Roberts decided to pull Hill after 89 pitches, opting for reliever Joe Blanton, and Hill clearly wasn’t happy. Blanton retired the first two batters before the pesky Jeff Francoeur drilled a 2-2 pitch off the glove of shortstop Corey Seager. It (weak argument here) could have been ruled an error, which would have killed the combined perfecto but kept the combined no-no intact, but it was properly ruled a base hit.

(Note that Rich Hill threw 5 2/3 innings of no-hit ball back on Sept. 3.)

The situation prompted flashbacks to April 9, when the Dodgers’ Ross Stripling tossed 7⅓ innings of no-hit ball in his first major-league appearance before being pulled for a reliever who lost the no-no. When Stripling hit 100 pitches, Roberts took the ball and handed it to Chris Hatcher, who yielded a two-run homer to Trevor Brown to kill the chance of a combined no-hitter and even the score at 2-2. The Giants wound up winning that game in the bottom of the 10th on a walk-off homer by Brandon Crawford.

Preston Gomez, of course, is known for twice pulling pitchers with no-hitters intact in which they were trailing in the runs column, once with the Padres’ Clay Kirby in 1970 and another with the Astros’ Don Wilson in 1974.

On a personal note, I was watching the MLB.tv broadcast of the game’s late innings on my cell phone while sitting at U.S. Cellular Field. (Fans around me were wondering why I kept looking down at my phone when the Sox had the bases loaded.)

Astros’ Darryl Kile no-hits Mets, 23 years ago today

kilejerseyDarryl Kile threw a Houston Astros no-hitter, 23 years ago today.

Kile struck out nine while walking one in the Wednesday, September 8, 1993, game at the Astrodome in which the Astros won 7-1. Kile retired the first 10 New York Mets batters, but the Mets got their run in the fourth thanks to a walk followed by an Astros defensive breakdown.

After walking Jeff McKnight, Kile threw a wild pitch that catcher Scott Servais thought hit Joe Orsulak on the foot. It didn’t, and as McKnight ran to third, first baseman Jeff Bagwell grabbed the ball and threw it off-line, allowing McKnight to score.

Kile, who later played for the Colorado Rockies and the St. Louis Cardinals, died tragically on June 22, 2002, of a heart attack.

Astros’ Dierker no-hits Expos, 40 years ago today

195_larrydierkerThe Houston Astros’ Larry Dierker no-hit the Montreal Expos, 40 years ago today.

On Friday, July 9, 1976, Dierker walked four and struck out eight at the Astrodome to lead Houston to a 6-0 no-hit victory. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander from Hollywood, California, told the Associated Press’ B.F. Kellum that he figured if he was going to pitch a no-no, it would have come early in his career.

“I didn’t think I had the stuff to pitch a no-hitter,” Dierker told the AP. “It’s hard to believe.”

Dierker nearly threw a perfect game in 1966. In a Sept. 30 game against the New York Mets that remained scoreless until the bottom of the ninth, Dierker took the mound and immediately gave up double to Mets’ third baseman Eddie Bressoud. That set the wheels in motion, as Dierker threw a wild pitch to Ron Hunt (pinch-hitting for left fielder Danny Napoleon) allowing Bressoud to reach third and then served up a pitch that resulted in a Hunt walk-off single to right.

Happy 76th birthday Jim Maloney

169_jimmaloneyHappy 76th birthday to Jim Maloney, who threw two official Cincinnati Reds no-hitters and had another broken up in extra innings.

On August 19, 1965, during the first game of a Thursday doubleheader at Wrigley Field, Maloney no-hit the Cubs for nine innings but his Reds failed to score a run. The game went into the top of the 10th, when Leo Cardenas hit a one-out homer off Larry Jackson. Maloney finished out the game to complete the 1-0 10-inning no-no.

Just two months earlier, Maloney threw 10 innings of no-hit ball against the New York Mets only to lose the no-no, and game, in the 11th inning. Maloney gave up leadoff home run to Johnny Lewis and allowed one more hit in the losing effort.

Maloney did notch a second official career no-hitter of the typical nine-inning variety four years later. At home at Crosley Field on Wednesday, April 30, 1969, Maloney no-hit the Houston Astros for a 10-0 win.

(Feature image courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library)

Anniversaries of Wells’ perfecto, Nottebart’s no-no

Don Nottebart
Don Nottebart
The New York Yankees’ David Wells tossed a perfect game and the Houston Colt .45s’ Don Nottebart threw a no-hitter on this date.

Eighteen years ago today, on Sunday, May 17, 1998, Wells threw a perfect game at Yankee Stadium for a 4-0 win over the Minnesota Twins. Wells later said in his autobiography Perfect I’m Not: Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches, and Baseball that he was still half drunk from a Saturday Night Live cast party the night before.

On Friday, May 17, 1963, 53 years ago today, Nottebart no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies for a 4-1 win at Colt Stadium. It was the first no-hitter for the franchise now known as the Houston Astros.

Today is the 25th anniversary of Nolan Ryan’s 7th no-hitter

Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan threw his major league record seventh no-hitter, 25 years ago today.

Ryan, pitching for the Texas Rangers at the age of 44 on May 1, 1991, struck out 16 Blue Jays and held the others to no hits as the Rangers topped Toronto 3-0. Said Rangers pitching coach Tom House to the Dallas Morning News, the Blue Jays, “just got n the way of a train.”

Three other no-hitters were thrown on May 1 in other years – Al Atkinson, Johnny Lush and Don Wilson.

Here are the May Day no-nos:

21 of 295 Al Atkinson
  Philadelphia Athletics (AA)
  Saturday, May 1, 1886
Philadelphia Athletics 3, New York Metropolitans 2
Jefferson Street Grounds (Philadelphia)
(His second of two no-hitters)
53 of 287 Johnny Lush
  Philadelphia Phillies (NL)
  Tuesday, May 1, 1906
Philadelphia Phillies 6, Brooklyn Superbas 0
Washington Park (Brooklyn)
170 of 295 Don Wilson
  Houston Astros (NL)
  Thursday, May 1, 1969
Houston Astros 4, Cincinnati Reds 0
Crosley Field (Cincinnati)
(His second of two no-hitters)
225 of 295 Nolan Ryan
  Texas Rangers (AL)
  Wednesday, May 1, 1991
Texas Rangers 3, Toronto Blue Jays 0
Arlington Stadium (Texas)
(His seventh of seven no-hitters, finalizing his major league record.)