Throwing No-Hitters in 1908
Like the 2010 season, six no-hitters were thrown during the 1908 season. Here is a breakdown of all the no-noâ€™s thrown during that season.
On June 30th, Red Sox pitcher Cy Young, now 41 years of age, would have a renaissance of his youth. It would only take Young two hours to rack up his third career no-hitter against the New York Yankees, having previously no-hitting the Cincinnati Reds in 1897 and the Philadelphia Athletics in 1904, the latter a perfect game. On this day, Young would come close to replicating his 1904 performance despite walking the Yankee leadoff hitter Harry Niles. Niles was promptly caught stealing, and that would be the final base runner New York would have all night. Young sat the next 27 hitters down in an impressive performance, including two strikeouts.
What made Youngâ€™s day even more impressive was the fact he was the most active Red Sox offensively contributing to his cause. Cy had three hits off various New York pitchers and drove in four runs in Bostonâ€™s 7-0 victory.
A few days later, on July 4th, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Phillies met for an Independence Day doubleheader at Polo Grounds. Starting in the sixth inning of the morning game, Giants pitcher Hooks Wiltse received a healthy cheer from the crowd of over 20,000 every time he trotted to the mound. Wiltse had kept all Philadelphia runners off base until that point, and the perfect game continued until the ninth inning, when with two outs, he faced Phillies pitcher George McQuillan.
On a 0-2 count, Wiltse was one strike away from the perfect game. The next pitch was a strike to Wiltse, his teammates, and the crowd. Even McQuillan admitted after the game it was a strike. However, umpire Charles Rigler ruled the pitch out of the strike zone, and with the very next pitch, Wiltse plunked McQuillan to end the hunt for the perfect game. The game would go to the 10th inning, when Art Devlin scored on a single and an error. Wiltse would pitch a perfect 10th to finish with the no-hitter; a perfect game being only inches away.
The next no-hitter would take place on September 5th, this time in Brooklyn, courtesy of Brooklyn Superbasâ€™ pitcher Nap Rucker. After Boston beat his club 3-2 in the first game of a doubleheader, Rucker submitted one of the most dominating pitching performances of the season. He struck out 14 batsmen, a National League season-high. Also, by not walking any batters, Rucker could have had a perfect game had it not been for three fielding errors behind him.
Fans would only have to wait thirteen more days for the fourth no-hitter of the season. The Cleveland Naps, in the heat of the American League pennant race with Detroit, sent right-hander Bob Rhoads to the hill against Boston. Rhoads responded in fine form, pitching the odd no-hitter where a run was given up. Cleveland would win 2-1, the lone run scoring on errors in the second. That win coupled with a Detroit loss allowed the Naps to get within one game of American League lead.
Two days later on the 20th, Chicagoâ€™s Frank Smith and Philadelphiaâ€™s Eddie Plank were locked in a pitching duel. Smith would set the side down in the top of the ninth, keeping the Athletics hitless, however the game remained tied at zeroes. In the bottom half though, Freddy Parent pokes a sacrifice fly into right fielder, giving both the White Sox the win and Smith the no-hitter. It was Smithâ€™s second career no-no, having previously blanked Detroit in September 1905.
The sixth and final no-hitter of the season was on October 2nd and that game was the crown jewel of the pitching duels that season. Addie Joss of the Cleveland Naps would go head to head against Ed Walsh of the Chicago White Sox in front of just over 10,000 at League Park in Cleveland. The Naps were still in the thick of the American League pennant race, sitting just a half-a-game back of Detroit.
Cleveland scored the gameâ€™s first run in the third inning. Joe Birmingham led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on a two-base throwing error by White Sox first baseman Frank Isbell. Birmingham would later score on a passed ball charged to Chicagoâ€™s Ossee Schreckengost. That would be the final run scored in the contest.
Heading into the top of the ninth, Joss had faced 24 batters and none of them had reached base. His opponent, Walsh, had pitched remarkably as well. Through eight innings, Walsh allowed only four hits and had struck out 15 Cleveland batters, including Wilbur Good four separate times. When Joss walked out to the mound for the ninth, Chicago manager Fielder Jones, whose team was still in the hunt for the AL pennant, would send up three different pinch-hitters to try to shake the unbeatable Joss.
The first was pitcher Doc White, who would hit for catcher Al Shaw, who had replaced an injured Schreckengost in the eighth. He was retired by Joss. Then Jones sent up Jiggs Donahue to bat for Lee Tannehill. He too was sent back to the dugout by Joss. John Anderson, batting for Walsh, would be the final barrier to perfection for Joss. Anderson would become the 27th out of the game and Joss would pitch the third perfect game in major league history.
Both Chicago and Cleveland would be on the outside looking in during playoff time, both being beat out for the American League title by Detroit. There would not be another no-hitter thrown in the major leagues until April 20th, 1910, when Joss would again blank the White Sox 1-0. To this day, Joss is the only pitcher to ever no-hit the same team twice.