Was I the only the one surprised about Wade Miley’s no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians last Friday night?

C’mon, be honest. Real honest.

For sure, Miley was having a good season so far. He was better than I expected. He is a reliable starter for the Reds, someone we were learning to count on. Someone we needed if we’re going to contend in 2021.

But a no-hitter? Are you kidding me? And against the Indians to boot?

I don’t care if there’s a rash of no-hitters being thrown and I don’t care about anything else. It was the 17th no-hitter throw by a Cincinnati Reds pitcher and no-hitter history is filled with Reds pitching even if Cy Young Awards are not.

The only pitcher to throw back to back no-hitters in baseball history is Johnny Vander Meer—a Cincinnati Red.

The only pitcher even to come close to replicating that incredible feat is Ewell Blackwell—a Cincinnati Red.

So in a tribute to Wade “No Hit” Miley, here are the highlights of other no-hitters spun by Reds hurlers.

Toughest No-Hitter: No doubt about this one. It was Jim Maloney’s 10-inning no-hitter over the Cubs in 1965. Maloney threw 188 pitches in striking out 12 Cubs and walking 10. The Reds didn’t score a run until Leo Cardenas smacked a home run at Wrigley Field in the 10th inning. And Maloney wrapped up his no-hitter with a double play off the bat of Ernie Banks. The surprising thing about this game is that the 1965 Reds were a good hitting team, very much better than the pitiful .212 batting Reds of 2020. Deron Johnson had a career year. Pete Rose batted over .300. Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson were still playing. So this gem by Jim Maloney was very definitely earned.

No Surprise No-Hitter: Tom Seaver in 1978 against the Cardinals. Every time Seaver took the mound, it seemed he was capable of throwing a no-hitter. He wasn’t overpowering against St. Louis but got the job done and was caught that night by little-known catcher Don Werner. Seaver had previously lost two no-hitters, one a perfect game, in the 9th inning.  Sidebar— I talked to Jimmy Qualls who broke up Seaver’s gem in 1969 at Shea Stadium. Seaver had retired the first 25 Cub batters when Qualls, a reserve outfielder, strolled to the plate. Shea was sold out. The Mets and Cubs were in the middle of a heated pennant race. But on the first pitch, Qualls hit a clean single to left-centerfield. WGN cameras caught Nancy Seaver crying in the stands. “Just another one-hitter,” said a defiant Cubs skipper Leo Durocher after the game. “Just another one-hitter.” I met Qualls in Warsaw, Illinois at a camp near the base of the Mississippi River over a campfire. No one there seemed to know about that history. “I was looking for a fastball, something hard,” said Qualls. He later played at Reds Triple A Indianapolis but found himself lost in a deep outfield pool. “Sparky [Anderson] liked Foster and Griffey. I didn’t get noticed much.” Qualls later played in Japan and is now

Most Rain at a No-Hitter: It wasn’t Miley’s but instead the one that Mr. Perfect threw in 1988 against the Dodgers.  Tom Browning sat out a 2 ½ hour delay but disposed of the Dodgers in a quicker fashion (less than two hours) and became the only Reds hurler to throw a Perfect Game.

The 1-run no-hitter: George Culver no-hit the Phillies but thanks to two errors and a sacrifice fly, Philadelphia scored a run and took a 1-0 lead that the Reds eventually won 6-1`. Dick Allen hit a grounder that bounced off third baseman Tony Perez and shortstop Woody Woodward threw wildly allowing Allen to second. After advancing on a ground out, Allen scored on a sacrifice fly by Cookie Rojas.

Fewest Fans at a No-Hitter: Culver’s no-no was the second game of a DH (double-header, for you young guys) which didn’t start until 10:30 at Connie Mack Stadium. “By the time the game ended most of the fans gathered around the dugouts and cheered me on,” said Culver. “I’ll never forget that.”

Double No-Hit Homer: During Homer Bailey’s two-year peak (2012 and 2013) he pitched a pair of no-hitters and a great playoff game (Game 3 against the Giants in 2012). Only Vander Meer and Jim Maloney could match that and Maloney lost one of those games, 1-0, to the Mets on a Johnny Lewis home run in 11 innings.

The Catchers: Three Reds catchers have caught two no-hitters: Heinie Peitz, Ernie Lombardi and Ryan Hanegan.

The Easiest No-Hitter: There isn’t such thing as an easy no-hitter but in terms of no pressure it was probably Jim Maloney’s 10-0 win over the Houston Astros in 1969. He got a ton of offensive support and was caught by the Greatest Catcher of All-Time in Johnny Bench. Bobby Tolan drove home four runs and even Darrel Chaney drove in two (but struck out three times.)

There was also one near-miss that needs to be mentioned: On May 2, 1988, Ron Robinson retired the first 26 Montreal Expos. He was one out away from a perfect game. But Wallace Johnson got a two-out hit in the 9th inning to spoil it.

Here’s to the True Creature: a great nickname for a righthander who came close to pitching history.

6 Responses

  1. Ryan

    All-time favorite Reds pitcher? Jim Maloney!

  2. Frankie Tomatoes

    For me the Tom Browning one was the most surprising. The reason is simple.

    I went to bed thinking that there was no way the game was going to be played and if it did happen it would go too late for me to listen to so I went to bed so I could get enough sleep for work in the morning. Talk about a surprise the next morning! We wasted a lot of time at work talking about it that day.

  3. Tom Mitsoff

    John, wasn’t Wallace Johnson’s hit a homer? Or maybe I am mixing that up with some other distant memory from decades ago. 🙂

    • Ian Winton

      Johnson singled followed by a Tim Raines home run before John Franco came in to get the final out.

  4. Redsfan4life

    Didn’t razor shines break up a no hitter or am I thinking of Wallace Johnson?
    Jogging George Hendrick was the last out of Seaver’s no hitter. But he spoiled soto’s no hitter shutout all in one swing in the 9th with 2 out.

  5. Earmbrister

    Great writing, thanks John. That Jim Maloney 188 pitch/10 walk no hitter is impressive.