Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Cub Fact: Haven't Been No-Hit in 43 Seasons

Did you know...That the Cubs hold the National League record for most complete consecutive seasons without being no hit, a current streak that now stands at 43. The Yankees hold the Major League record, 44 years, which the Cubs are closing in on.

The last time the Cubs were no-hit was at Dodger Stadium on September 9, 1965 and it was not your typical no-hitter. The game story is an interesting one.

The pitcher to turn the trick against the Cubs was...Sandy Koufax, and in fact, he pitched a perfect game. Koufax was spectacular, striking out 14, including the last six Cubs batters. He was dominant, with only six balls reaching the outfield. It was vintage, hall of fame Koufax as the Dodgers topped the Cubs 1-0.

But the overlooked part of the story is the performance of his Chicago mound opponent, an unknown hurler named Bob Hendley. The no-name Hendley matched the superstar Koufax inning for inning. He tossed a one-hitter, giving up only a bloop single to Lou Johnson in the seventh inning. The Dodger's only score was an unearned run tallied without the benefit of a hit. It happened in the fifth inning, when Lou Johnson walked, was sacrificed to second, stole third, and then scored when catcher Chris Krug's errant throw went into left field.

Yes, Koufax was great, but Hendley, who ended his career with a record of 48-52, matched him. The game set a major league record for fewest baserunners, two (Lou Johnson, in the fifth and seventh inning).
Here is the box score for the game.

Five days later the same two pitchers matched up again, this time at Wrigley Field. Hendley gained a measure of revenge as he out-dueled Koufax 2-1.
Here is the boxscore from the rematch. Unfortunately for Hendley, he reverted to his past mediocre form and got shelled his next time out, giving up five runs in two innings to the Mets. He was out of baseball by the end of the 1967 season.

But for one glorious week in September of 1965, Bob Hendley could be mentioned in the same breath as Sandy Koufax.

Topps 1967 Bob Hendley - note how the back discusses the perfect game and rematch.

The Only Baserunner - Lou Johnson, who actually had two tours of duty with the Cubs.

Topps 1960 Lou Johnson

Topps 1968 Lou Johnson - this has to be one of the strangest poses on any card. Why would they use this?

Topps 1969 Lou Johnson - this has to be one of the strangest poses on any card. Why would they use this, AGAIN!!!!!

This is the closest I can come to a Sandy Koufax card. If anyone out there had an extra Koufax lying around, looking for a new home, drop me a line!


  1. It seems like Topps re-used quite a few photos from the 68 set on the 69 cards. Ernie Banks is another one that comes to mind.

  2. The '65 Dodgers were not good hitters, which probably helped Hendley a little, but doesn't explain how L.A. won the Series that year (but Koufax and Drysdale do!)

    I have some Koufax cards (not enough of them). But they're staying with me.

  3. No airbrushing was required to turn that 1968 Johnson Cubs card into a 1969 Johnson Indians card.

  4. You have a great site. i stumbled upon it while trying to find an image of that weird card with Lou Johnson whistling. I got one in a pack of cards when i was in 3rd grade and that image has been ingrained in my mind ever since. i was looking on the internet for the image, just to prove to myself that i wasn't hallucinating. Fortunately, i've had a lot of laughs looking at your site while i was here. keep up the good work.