No Hitter. No Win?

ERIC: Next week marks the anniversary of a true You Stink! moment…

In 1964, Major League Baseball celebrated its 75th anniversary. There were lots of interesting events that year: the Phillies had a six game lead with twelve to play, lost ten in a row, and finished second. Roberto Clemente led the Majors in hitting with a .339 average, Harmon Killebrew hit 49 homers to lead the Major Leagues, and a brilliant left handed pitcher named Sandy Koufax dominated pitching in both leagues. The New York Yankees won their last American League pennant for more than a decade, and the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in seven games in a brilliant series. There were many things to celebrate.

You Stink! celebrates dubious distinctions. And one of the great dubious distinctions in the history of professional baseball occurred on April 23, 1964. Prior to that day, there had been 152 no-hitters recorded in the history of Major League Baseball, including a perfect game in the World Series, back-to-back starts by Johnny Vandermeer in 1938, and an opening day no-hitting twirled by Bob Feller in 1940. There would be two more no-hitters in 1964, including a perfect game by Jim Bunning of the Phillies on Father’s Day, and a record-breaking third gem by Sandy Koufax on June 4.

On April 23, 1964, something happened that had never before occurred, Hurler Ken Johnson of the Houston Colt 45’s (who changed their name to the Astros after the 1964 season) pitched a nine-inning no-hitter and LOST the game, 1-0. Nobody had ever done this before, and only one other pitcher, Andy Hawkins of the New York Yankees (pictured here), has done it since (Hawkins pitched a nine inning no-hitter and lost to the Chicago White Sox 4-0 on June 1, 1990). Since Johnson’s gem was the first, we have decided to honor that particular dubious distinction here, for the 48th anniversary of that game.

For a detailed recap of this unique event, check out this article by John Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.


2 thoughts on “No Hitter. No Win?

  1. Sandy Koufax is one of my childhood heroes!

    Posted by Christopher W Lynch | April 16, 2012, 12:36 pm
  2. At least Hawkins got credit for a no hitter. On April 12, 1992 Matt Young pitching for the Boston Red Sox against the Indians in Cleveland, pitched 8 innings, allowing no hits, but allowed 2 runs on seven walks and an error. It was a complete game loss but not a “pure” no hitter since the Red Sox were behind and the Indians did not come to bat in the 9th inning.

    Posted by Andy MacIsaac | April 24, 2012, 1:42 pm

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Readers Relate

“We always read about the good teams and the great players, but it’s the bad teams and the horrific players that help build teams’ rich histories. You Stink! lets you know, that it can always be worse, and makes you appreciate your ball club that much more!” - Matt Lambert, a Cleveland Indians fan -----------------------------------------“Gave Dad a copy of You Stink! about the worst baseball teams and players in history. The review: ‘a home run.’” - Scott Gosnell, Columbus, OH

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