Sunday June 21, 2020
As member of SABR, I get daily trivia questions, called “horsehide trivia,” which, weekly, add up to a particular theme. Last week, for example, some of the answers included: Nolan Ryan (Monday's answer), Bob Gibson (Tuesday‘s), Dick Bosman (Saturday) and Bob Moose (Sunday). What do they have in common? They all pitched no-hitters, sure, but it’s more than that. They all pitched no-hitters against that year's eventual World Series champion. Yes, you‘ve got to get pretty deep in the weeds.
Daily is a better fit for me. I think I got Ryan here on first glance:
Q. Who is the all-time career leader in fewest hits allowed per nine innings pitched?
Hint: He received a highest Hall of Fame voting percentage in the twentieth century except for that of an old teammate.
Hint: He was the first player to suit up for all four of the original expansion franchises.
Hint: In fact, those were the only ones he suited up for.
From the first hint you go “Seaver,” so Mets, Reds or White Sox. Second hint means Mets. Also means he played for Angels, Astros and Senators/Rangers. So ... Ryan. And yes, he didn’t give up many hits. Walks, yes. Hits, no.
The dailies are tougher when the answer isn't such a well-known player, of course, but I was tickled by this final hint on the Bosman question: “On another occasion he became the fourth of the five pitchers to have their no-hitters broken up by a lone Cesar Tovar hit.” I was tickled more by the way they answered it the next day:
“In an utterly unimaginable defying of the odds, Venezuela's uniquely versatile and ultra-durable Cesar Tovar had the lone hit five different times, ruining no-hitters for Barry Moore on 30-Apr-1967, Dave McNally on 15-May-1969, Mike Cuellar on 10-Aug-1969, Bosman on 14-Aug-1970 and finally Catfish Hunter on 31-May-1975. Somebody above my pay grade would have to calculate the odds of that happening.”
The picture below, with Billy Martin, is from 1969, the year he stopped the two Oriole no-nos:
Bosman's true no-no, by the way, came in ‘74 against the past and future world champion Oakland A’s.