Larry McKeon and Charlie Geggus, the earliest no-hitter throwers to have their games tossed off the official list, were both born on this date.
McKeon, born on this date in 1866, threw a six-inning no-hitter for the American Association’s Indianapolis Hoosiers on Tuesday, May 6, 1884. The Hoosiers were locked in a scoreless tie in the sixth inning at League Park when the umpire called the game against the Cincinnati Red Stockings due to rain.
The Cincinnati Enquirer story about the game, headlined “A Tiresome Affair,” is a hoot.
“It was lacking in hard hitting, one of the most essential requisites to make a contest interesting,” the curmudgeonly writer penned.
He also complained that rain “only made a slow game slower,” the field was in sloppy condition, the ball was soggy and numerous foul balls “did not increase the interest a bit.”
Geggus, born on this date in 1862, threw eight innings of no-hit ball for the Union Association’s Washington Nationals on Thursday, August 21, 1884, but the game was called by consent as the Nationals had built a seemingly insurmountable 12-1 lead over the Wilmington Quicksteps. The Nationals might have chosen to play that final inning had they known what baseball would decide in September 1991.
The Committee for Statistical Accuracy, chaired by then MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent, changed the official definition of a no hitter, declaring it a game of nine innings or more that ends with no hits. The stringent definition eliminated 38 no-hitters from the books that were shortened by rain, darkness or other reasons, as well as losing efforts by the away team in which the home team doesn’t bat in the bottom of the ninth. It also wiped out 12 no-hitters by pitchers who threw nine innings of no-hit ball only to yield a hit in extra innings.
McKeon’s gem was once official no-hitter No. 10, and Geggus’ game held the No. 17 slot. Now they are relegated to our Close, but no cigar: No-hitters not officially recognized page.