With Yu Darvish having his no-hitter broken up with two outs in the 9th (AGAIN!), I thought we’d take a look at all no-hitters broken up with 2 outs in the 9th involving Philly teams. We’ll start with games that Phillies and A’s pitchers lost no-nos in the 9th, then later we’ll look at games in which Philly hitters broke up no-hitters.
April 14th, 1915. Herb Pennock (A’s) vs the Boston Red Sox. This game is particularly notable because it came on Opening Day. The Kennett Square native Pennock (above) mowed down the Red Sox for 8 2/3 innings. Then with two outs in the 9th, up came Harry Hooper. The young Philly lefty reared back, fired, and Hooper hit a bouncer just to the left of the mound. Pennock could have grabbed it, but decided to let his 2nd baseman Nap Lajoie do the honors. Lajoie tried to bare hand it, could not, and Hooper made it to first with a single. Pennock had to settle for a one-hit shutout. It would be the highlight of the disastrous 1915 campaign, not made any better when Mack released Pennock, who was quickly scooped up by those same Red Sox. With the Sox and later the Yankees, Pennock went on to a Hall of Fame career. Mack called releasing him the biggest mistake he ever made.
June 5, 1915. Grover Cleveland Alexander (Phillies) vs the St. Louis Cardinals. Less than 2 months after Pennock’s no-no was spoiled, the great Grover Cleveland lost one as well. With two outs in the 9th, light hitting Arthur Butler, a career .241 hitter, punched a single off of Alexander. It was to be a dominant campaign for the great right hander, as he would throw four one-hitters that season (still an MLB record), a season that ended with the Phillies in the World Series against the same Red Sox team Pennock nearly no-hit on Opening Day. Incredibly, the two best pitchers in Phillies history (Steve Carlton and Alexander) threw a combined 11 one-hitters and zero no-hitters in their careers.
So there were two near no-hitters for Philly pitchers within two months of each other and there hasn’t been a single one since in the next 99 years. Baseball is a funny game. But there is one honorable mention, for a guy who pulled off a reverse Yu Darvish. On May 13th, 1954, Robin Roberts gave up a homer to Bobby Adams of the Cincinnati Redlegs to lead off the game. Roberts then mowed down the next 27 guys in order and the Phils won the game 8-1. Another Robin Roberts near no-hitter fun fact: In 1963, while a member of the Orioles, he faced off against Gary Peters of the White Sox. Peters threw a one-hitter, and Roberts had the only hit. It is believed to be the only time a pitcher has had the only hit of a one-hitter. Roberts also once lost a no-hitter with one out in the 9th, but never with two outs.
Ok, now let’s look at no-hitters Philly batters broke up in the 9th.
July 9th, 1890. George Meakim (Louisville Colonels) vs A’s (A different A’s franchise, not the one founded in 1901). With two outs in the 9th, 38 year old George “Orator” Shafer (pictured right) broke up Meakim’s no-hit bid. Orator got his nickname because he talked so much, talking to himself when no-one else was around to listen. Meakim would never come close to another no-hitter, winning 15 games in his short career.
July 23rd, 1896. Cy Young (Cleveland Spiders) vs. Phillies. With two outs in the 9th, Cy Young was one out away from his first ever no-hitter. Unfortunately for him, the man stepping into the batters box was none other than Big Ed Delahanty, who would bat .397 on the year. Delahanty connected on a Young pitch for a clean single, and Young would have to wait another year to collect his first career no-no. You can learn more about his first no-hitter in this pretty cool video.
June 4th, 1908. George “Hooks” Wiltse (NY Giants) vs. Phillies. Right up there with the Armando Galarraga game in terms of controversial perfect games blown. Wiltse had a perfect game going through 8 innings, and the first two Phillies went down meekly in the 9th. Up stepped Phillies pitcher George McQuillan, who was having quite a day at the office as well: he had a shutout going. Wiltse ran the count to 1-2 and then unloaded a strike right down the middle of the plate. Unfortunately for Wiltse, home plate umpire Cy Rigler choked and called it a ball. Shaken, Wiltse hit McQuillan with the next pitch. He calmed down, got the 3rd out, and the game went into extras. In the 10th, the Giants pushed a run across, Wiltse took down the side 1-2-3, keeping his no-hitter intact, though not his perfect game. Rigler later admitted he blew the call, and sent Wiltse cigars for years to try to atone for it.
May 6th, 1918. Dan Griner (Brooklyn Dodgers) vs. Phillies. One look at Griner’s stats, and it’s amazing people didn’t discount wins way before they did. The righty had a perfectly decent 3.49 career ERA, and yet a record of 28-55. On this day, Griner (pictured, left) took the hill for Brooklyn, having not won a game since 1915. In 1916 he was used only in relief, in 1917 he didn’t play at all, and he started 1918 with an 0-3 record. But on this day, he finally seemed to be destined for his moment in the sun. He shut down the Phillies through 8 2/3, and who should come to the plate but our old friend Gavvy Cravath? Cravath cracked a single, spoiling the no-no. Griner did settle down and retire the next batter, however, and get the win. It would be the final win of his Major League career. Griner would be dropped from the team a month later. You can see the box score of that game here.
July 18th, 1972. Steve Arlin (San Diego Padres) vs. the Phillies. After Johan Santana threw that no-hitter last year, the Padres became the answer to the trivia question: what’s the only franchise in baseball to have never thrown a no-hitter? Well, the closest they ever came was in this game in 1972, against the woeful Phillies. That Phillies team is famous for one reason: Steve Carlton won 27 of their 59 games. On this day, Arlin, who had been drafted by the Phillies in 1966, mowed down the Phils easily. With two outs in the 9th, up came Denny Doyle, a career .250 hitter. Arlin quickly ran the count to 1-2. The following comes from an article in Sports Illustrated last year:
That’s when first-year Padres manager Don Zimmer thought Doyle, a lefthanded hitting second baseman, was going to bunt. Zimmer signaled from the dugout to have third baseman Dave Roberts move up about eight feet on the grass.
Doyle, connecting on an inside slider, hit a ball that bounced over Roberts’ head — a ball that he would have been able to field had he been playing in his normal position. Padres shortstop Enzo Hernandez couldn’t make the play.
Arlin gave up a hit to the next batter, too, before closing out the 5-1 win. To this day, he’s still ticked about it.
“It was a case of Zimmer over-managing,” Arlin says. “Zimmer wasn’t the sharpest nail in the toolbox. He was growing into the job, but we knew he (Doyle) wasn’t going to bunt with two strikes. And he never bunted in his life.
“Roberts knew he shouldn’t have been playing in. He took a couple of steps back, but Zimmer waved him in again. If Roberts were back in his regular position, it would have been an easy play. I wasn’t happy. Everything was working.”
After the game, Zimmer knew that he’d made a mistake so came up to Arlin and handed him a razor blade, and “told me to go ahead and use it on him.”
August 3, 1990. Doug Drabek (Pirates) vs the Phillies. Although the game was in the Vet, by the 9th inning, the home crowd was cheering hard for a no-hitter. After all, it was far more likely than the Phils making up the 11-0 deficit they were in. After Drabek retired Charlie Hayes on a grounder to short and Ricky Jordan swinging, up stepped Campusano, who had replaced Lenny Dykstra in the 7th inning. Drabek ran the count to 3-2. Campusano carried the next pitch to right center and the no-no was over. The home crowd booed, which upset the Phillies. Said Tom Herr, “It’s kind of frustrating when the fans are rooting against the home team.”
“I knew (Campusano) was a good fastball hitter. I went inside, but not far enough and he burned me. I wanted (the no-hitter). When you get that close and you don’t get it, it’s hard.”
I’m sure Yu Darvish knows exactly how he feels.
(hat tip to mikeespress.com, where there was a list of all of these game. Incredible work by those guys putting their list together.)
Cliff Lee averaged 1.2 walks for every 9 innings pitched over his first eight starts this year, leading the league. He had not walked more than 2 batters in any one of those starts. And then last night happened. Lee lacked his usually dead-on-balls-accurate control and set a career high with 6 walks in 6.1 innings as the Phillies went down in St. Louis by a score of 3-1.
Lee isn’t the only pitcher to lose control this time of year. In fact, on this day in 1923, Grover Cleveland Alexander (then pitching for the Cubs) walked three batters in a 7-4 win against the Phillies. Walking three batters might seem to lack historical significance, but in Alexander’s case, it doesn’t. On May 17, 1923, Alexander walked to the mound having started 6 previous games that year. They were all complete games, totaling 52 innings pitched. Alexander worked through each of those games and all of those innings without issuing a single free pass. That feat still stands as the most consecutive innings pitched to start a season with no bases on balls.
The record for the longest streak of innings pitched without a walk is held by Bill Fischer, who went 84.1 innings without a single walk in 1962 for the KC Athletics. Greg Maddux holds the National League record of 72.1 consecutive innings, which he set in 2001.