June 12, 2003
Astros no-hit Yankees

It's usually a bad sign when your starting pitcher is forced out of the game after an inning due to injury, but five Houston Astros relievers picked up the ball from Roy Oswalt and combined to throw a no-hitter against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Here's the trivia rundown for you:

- Most pitchers ever used by a team throwing a no-hitter (six). Twice before, four pitchers had combined to do it, most recently in 1991.

- First no-hitter against the Yankees since 1958 when Hall of Fame knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm did it (that's 45 years, Rob, not 43), and first no-hitter against them at Yankee Stadium since 1952.

- Yankee Stadium is the go-to place for interleague no-hitters, as all three have been thrown there. The other two were perfect games: Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, and David Cone in 1999 against the Expos.

- Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of Johnny Vander Meer's first no-hitter, which he followed up with another in his next start. The next time someone asks you which baseball record will never be broken, tell them Johnny Vander Meer's record for most consecutive no-hitters thrown.

- Just to add to the fun, Astros reliever Octavio Dotel recorded four strikeouts in the eighth inning.

Understandably, the story in the Chron, which was on Page One, was a happier one than the stories in the Daily News and the New York Times. I suppose the one consolation I can take from this is that it's been awhile since anyone's written an article about how the avaricious Yankees are spending their way to another title.

UPDATE: Here's a story about Johnny Vander Meer and his consecutive no-hitters, and here's a story about some other weird no-hitters.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 12, 2003 to Baseball | TrackBack

This was the first topic of conversation in the office this morning. Which statement makes the least sense to you?

1. The Astros used six pitchers for a no-hitter

2. The Astros needed to use six pitchers for a no-hitter.

3. The Yankees were the victims of a no-hitter that required six pitchers.

Also, as any good Yankee fan will point out, the 56 game hitting streak of Joe Dimaggio in 1941 is the one baseball record that will never be broken. On the other hand, given the pitch count policies in baseball, Johnny Vander Meer probably has nothing worry about either.

Posted by: William Hughes on June 12, 2003 8:09 AM

Well, the point about Johnny Vander Meer is that someone would have to throw three consecutive no-hitters to break his record. I can't see that ever happening, though it'd sure be cool if it did.

Loyal as I am to the Yankees, I'd rank Cy Young's 511 career victories and Old Hoss Radbourn's 60 wins in a season (1884) as less reachable than Joltin' Joe's streak. That won't stop me from trying to hex any player that ever gets close, though.

To answer your question, I suppose #2 makes the least sense. They could have used fewer pitchers (Dotel could have easily pitched in the ninth, for example) if they'd wanted to.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on June 12, 2003 8:35 AM

Old Hoss Radburne pitched in an era where you completed the game and pitched every other day, so I would inclined to agree with what your saying. As far as Cy Young is concerned, you could have win 20 games for 25 straight years and still be 11 wins short.

One other record worth considering is the youngest person ever to play in the major leagues. (Joe Nuxhall pitched an inning for Cincinnati at the age of 15)

Ironically, Joe Dimaggio had a 61 game hitting streak when he was in San Francisco (Pacific Coast League). Also, he had an 18 game hitting streak that started the day after the 56 game streak ended.

Posted by: William Hughes on June 12, 2003 8:54 AM

If any pitcher is going to break Vander Meer's record by tossing three straight no hitters I'd say it would likely be Sidd Finch Jr. who I think was selected by the Mets in the 38th round last week.

That kid throws just like his old man.

Posted by: Patrick on June 12, 2003 10:28 AM

Nah, I head ol' Sidd's gonna take a scholarship at Plainfield Teachers College instead.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on June 12, 2003 10:54 AM

8 run lead, bottom of the ninth and you bring in Billy Wagner? Is Jimy repaying debts incurred during his Boston years, or does this make sense at some level I'm too tired to recognize?

Posted by: Danil on June 12, 2003 11:32 AM