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.