The Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Monday before losing his bid on a one-out double by the Chicago Cubs Ben Zobrist. The Cubs won 2-1 to take a 2-1 lead in the National League Divisional Series.
Jayson Werth barehanded Zobrist’s liner to left center from the Wrigley Field ivy, but Zobrist reached second safely on a headfirst slide just ahead of Werth’s throw. The Nationals went to the bullpen, and Sammy Solis gave up an RBI single to pinch hitter Albert Almora Jr. to tie the game at 1.
The Cubs scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning when Anthony Rizzo blooped a ball onto the outfield grass between Washington’s left fielder, center fielder and shortstop.
Nolan Ryan threw the fifth of his major-league record seven no-hitters, 36 years ago today.
On September 26, 1981, as a member of the Houston Astros, Ryan broke Sandy Koufax’s 16-year-old mark of four career no-nos with a 5-0 no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ryan struck out 11 and walked three, making great use of his breaking ball.
Koufax had set the record of four no-hitters on September 9, 1965, tossing a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ Ray Washburn payed back the San Francisco Giants with a no-hitter, 49 years ago today.
At Candlestick Park on Wednesday, September 18, 1968, Washburn no-hit the Giants for a 2-0 win. Just a day earlier, the Giants’ Gaylord Perry no-hit the Cards for a 1-0 win. It marked the majors’ first back-to-back revenge no-nos, though the feat was duplicated a year later by the Cincinnati Reds’ Jim Maloney and the Houston Astros’ Don Wilson.
Three other no-hitters were tossed on this date, but they all are more than 100 years old:
Cy Young threw the first of his three no-hitters for the National League’s Cleveland Spiders during the first game of a Saturday doubleheader at League Park on September 18, 1897. The Spiders topped the Cincinnati Reds 6-0.
The Philadelphia Phillies’ Chick Fraser no-hit the Chicago Cubs during the second game of a Friday, September 18, 1903, doubleheader at Chicago’s West Side Park. The Phillies beat the Cubs 10-0.
And the Cleveland Naps’ Bob “Dusty” Rhoads no-hit the Boston Red Sox on Friday, September 18, 1908, for a 2-1 at Cleveland’s League Park.
Forty-five years ago yesterday, on Sept. 2, 1972, the Chicago Cubs’ Milt Pappas no-hit the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field, becoming the only pitcher in MLB history to lose a perfect game by walking the 27th batter but still get a no-hitter (two others did it on hit batsmen).
Pappas retired the first 26 Padres he faced and was one out away from a perfect game with a 3-2 count on pinch-hitter Larry Stahl when home plate umpire Bruce Froemming called a ball to issue the base on balls. Pappas started yelling at Froemming and nearly got kicked out of the game.
“I’ve got a call, and I’m not a fan. I’m an umpire,” Froemming told the MLB Network’s Bob Costas.
Pappas managed to get pinch-hitter Garry Jestadt to pop out to second to complete the no-no, an 8-0 victory.
A few of years ago I interviewed Pappas, who passed away in April 2016, and he was still upset with umpire Bruce Froemming for not giving him calls on the final batter to give him the perfecto. Pappas told me that people still came up to him to talk about that game.
“I’m still being recognized and still going out and signing autographs, and I’m wondering to myself on numerous occasions, ‘If I would have done the perfect game, would I be getting this kind of adulation?” he asked. “I wouldn’t have had the 40 years of ‘Man, you got screwed’ and ‘Who’s that umpire that called that?’”
Chicago Cubs pitcher Jimmy Lavender’s no-hit the New York Giants, 102 years ago today
Lavender’s gem came during the first game of a Tuesday, August 31, 1915, doubleheader at the Polo Grounds.
The Giants’ Fred Merkle, immortalized by a 1908 base-running blunder that became known as “Merkle’s Boner,” was the only New Yorker to reach first base this game. He took first once on a second-inning error by Bob Fisher and another time on Lavender’s only walk in the eighth. Merkle never reached second.
Also throwing a no-hitter on this date is the Chicago White Sox’s Vern Kennedy, who no-hit the Cleveland Indians on Saturday, August 31, 1935 at Comiskey Park — 80 years ago today.
The New York Giants’ Christy Mathewson threw the second of his two no-hitters, 112 years ago today.
Mathewson, nicknamed “The Christian Gentleman,” no-hit the Chicago Cubs at West Side Park for a 1-0 win. The right-hander from Factoryville, Pennsylvania faced just 28 batters, with the only Cubs base runners coming courtesy of errors by Bill Dahlen and Billy Gilbert (one runner was doubled up).
“Neither run, nor hit, nor base on balls did Mathewson allow Chicago in the full nine innings, and if his support had been perfect, he would have tied “Cy” Young’s record of not permitting an opponent to reach first base,” the New York Times noted.
Mathewson’s first no-no came on Monday, July 15, 1901, when he beat the St. Louis Cardinals on the road at Robison Field 5-0.
Today marks a full 365 calendar days since the last Major League Baseball no-hitter.
On April 21, 2016, the Chicago Cubs’ Jake Arrieta no-hit the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night, less than eight months after throwing one against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Arrieta walked four and struck out six as the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 16-0 at Great American Ballpark. Arrieta’s previous no-no was on August 30, 2015, when he no-hit the Dodgers for a 2-0 win at Dodger Stadium.
The Reds had last been no-hit on Wednesday, October 6, 2010, when the Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy Halladay no-hit Cincinnati during the opening game of the NLDS. To find the last regular season no-hitter against the Reds, you had to go back more than 44 years. On Wednesday, June 23, 1971, the Phillies’ Rick Wise no-hit the Reds for a 4-0 win at Riverfront Stadium.
Hall of Famer Bob Feller threw the only Opening Day no-hitter in baseball history, 77 years ago today.
The 21-year-old Feller used his “heater from Van Meter” fastball on April 16, 1940, to mow down eight White Sox batters as the Cleveland Indians topped Chicago 1-0. Feller’s parents and sister, Marguerite, were among the 14,000 fans at Chicago’s Comiskey Park that afternoon.
“I knew I had a chance for a no-hitter in the ninth,” Feller told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “but I tried to put the thought out of my mind by reminding myself you never have a no-hitter until the last man is out.”
Feller threw two additional no-hitters, tying Larry Corcoran and Cy Young for a major league record that would later be broken by Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan:
Cleveland Indians (AL)
Tuesday, April 30, 1946
Cleveland Indians 1, New York Yankees 0
Yankee Stadium (New York)
Cleveland Indians (AL)
Sunday, July 1, 1951 (First game of doubleheader)
Cleveland Indians 2, Detroit Tigers 1
Cleveland Stadium (Cleveland)
Feller nearly had some company on April 16, 1940. With all 16 teams in action, Boston Red Sox southpaw Lefty Grove took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before it was broken up with a single by the Washington Senators’ Cecil Travis. Grove retired the game’s first 21 batters but lost the perfecto on an eighth-inning error. He settled for a two-hit 1-0 complete-game shutout.
Asked by an AP reporter if he was disappointed by Travis’ single, Grove said, “No. No-hitters are bad luck.”
Two other no-hitters were thrown on the date of April 16:
Chicago Cubs (NL)
Sunday, April 16, 1972
Chicago Cubs 4, Philadelphia Phillies 0
Wrigley Field (Chicago)
St. Louis Cardinals (NL)
Sunday, April 16, 1978
St. Louis Cardinals 5, Philadelphia Phillies 0
Busch Stadium (St. Louis) (His first of two no-hitters)