Last night the Red Sox were in Chicago to take on the White Sox. Pitching for Chicago was Phil Humber who was coming off his perfect game against Seattle last Saturday, the 21st perfect game hurled in the history of baseball.
As always following a no-hitter, especially a perfect game, Humber start last night was met with great anticipation. Could this be the night that Johnny Vander Meer would finally be matched?
Johnny Vander Meer pitched back to back no-hitters for the Cincinnati Reds in June of 1938, the only time it has happened in baseball history.
It took all of the first six pitches to know that Humber would not duplicate his perfect game of Saturday as he walked Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles leading off the game. It was eight more pitches and the suspense of a second no-no was gone when Dustin Pedroia had an infield single to third.
Well it set me to thinking about all the No-hitters pitched by Red Sox pitchers at Fenway Park. There have been eight of them with the first two coming within two months of each other in the World Championship season of 1916.
George “Rube” Foster pitched Fenway Park’s first no-hitter on June 21, 1916, a 2-0 win over the Yankees. He walked three and struck out three.
A couple of months later on August 30th, Dutch Leonard beat the St. Louis Browns 4-0 at Fenway walking two, striking out three and surrendering no hits!
The most interesting no-hitter in Fenway Park history took place on June 23, 1917 and it involved these two Red Sox pitchers,
Ernie Shore and Babe Ruth.
Babe Ruth started the game, the first of a slated double-header with the Senators. The lead off hitter was Ray Morgan and Babe threw only four pitches to him, all balls. Not particularly enamored with umpire “Brick” Owens perception of the strike zone, an argument led to Babe throwing a punch, being ejected from the game and being subsequently suspended. Red Sox manager turned to Ernie Shore who had pitched two days earlier. Morgan attempted to steal second and was thrown out. Shore then retired the next 26 batters in a row completing the most unusual perfect game in baseball history, for the game was not perfect, Babe certainly was not perfect but Ernie Shore sure was perfect!
It would be 39 years before Fenway Park would see another Red Sox pitcher hurl a no-hitter. It came on July 14, 1956 against last night opponents, the Chicago White Sox.
Mel Parnell walked two and struck out four in a 4-0 no-hitter. He is one of the greatest left-handed pitchers in Red Sox history, holding their record for most wins by a lefty in a season, 25 in 1949.
Six years later, on June 26, 1962 at Fenway Park, Red Sox pitcher Earl Wilson became the first black pitcher in American League history to pitch a no-hitter. It came at the expense of the Los Angeles Angels and Wilson hit a home run in the game. He is one of only three pitchers to throw a no-no and homer in the same game.
Wilson beat the Halos 2-0, walking four and striking out five.
In September of 1965, Red Sox phenom Dave Morehead no-hit the Cleveland Indians 2-0, striking out eight of them and walking only one. A second inning walk to Rocky Colavito is all that stood between Morehead and a perfect game.
Morehead’s no-hitter was one of the most dominant pitching performances in Fenway Park history.
Three and a half decades passed before Fenway Park saw another Red Sox no-hitter and then they came in bunches;
Derek Lowe no hit the Tampa Bay Devil Rays April 27, 2002 winning 10-0 striking out six and walking one. A third inning walk to Devil Ray second baseman Brent Abernathy kept Lowe from being perfect.
Clay Buchholz pitched a Fenway no-hitter in just his third big league start. It came on September 1, 2007 against the Orioles.
Buchholz won 10-0 walking three and striking out nine on his way to Fenway immortality.
Jon Lester, the Red Sox current lefty ace, was the last pitcher to throw a no-hitter at Fenway. He did it on May 19, 2008 against the Kansas City Royals.
Lester walked two and struck out 10 Royals in a 7-0 win.
A few interesting meaningless notes about Fenway Park no-hitters.
They came against eight different teams and seven different organizations: the Yankees, Browns, Senators, White Sox, Angels, Indians, Devil Rays, Orioles and Royals. The St. Louis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954, hence seven different organizations.
Two of them were spun by southpaws, Parnell and Lester.
Lester and Buchholz had the most strikeouts in their Fenway no-hitters, both fanned nine.
One came in April, one in May, three in June, one in July, one in August and one in September.
There have been eight Fenway Park no-hitters in 100 years, that is an average of one every 12 1/2 years. That means that we can expect the next one on October 19, 2020. Hey that would mean it would be in the World Series! I like that!
As for last night, the Red Sox roughed up Humber for eight hits and nine runs in just five innings as they won their fourth straight 10-3. They remain in the cellar in the AL East, three and a half games out. One hundred years ago today they beat the Philadelphia Athletics 6-5, running their record to 8-3 good enough for second place, one half game out of first.
And so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, no hitter time!