Sunday, April 12, 2009
Sunday Cubs Fact: No HItter in First Game
This has happened only once in the modern era (1900+) of major league baseball, a pitcher throwing a no hitter in his first appearance for a team.
The man to accomplish it was the Cubs Don Cardwell, on May 15, 1960.
Two days earlier, the Cubs had obtained Cardwell, along with my pal Ed Bouchee, in exchange for Cal Neeman and Tony Taylor. As a Phillie, he had an unspectacular 17 - 26 record over 3 1/2 seasons. I guess the Cubs figured he had potential and so they made the deal.
Cardwell's first start was the second game of a double header against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. In the first inning, he retired the leadoff man, then walked the second batter, Alex Grammas. That would be the only runner for the Red Birds. Cardwell retired the next 26 in a row, striking out seven along the way.
The final out was dramatic, as left fielder Moose Moryn made a diving catch of a sinking liner off the bat of Joe Cunningham. You can hear the catch as called by Cubs radio announcer Jack Quinlan here (it begins at the 24 second mark).
The back of Cardwell's 1961 card mentions the no-hitter,
Topps 1960 card of Moose Moryn. I wonder who had the idea to use that pretty shade of pink? Do any of this year's Heritage cards have the same shade?
Unfortunately, the no hitter didn't propel Cardwell onto greatness. He went 7-14 the rest of the year with the Cubs. His best season was 1961, when he went 15-14 for the Cubs. He slumped in 1962 to 7-16.
Traded after the 1962 season, he bounced around with the Pirates, Mets, and Braves. His career won loss record was 102 - 138. But on an exciting day in May, 1960, he did something no other major league pitcher can claim. And that has to be worth something.