Hey guys, I don’t know if you heard, but Matt Cain threw a perfect game on Wednesday night. Did you hear about it? Was anybody talking about it?
I think I may have seen a blurb on the professional news talkies about it.
Really, you’d think no one in the history of the San Francisco Giants had never thrown a perfect game before.
Oh. Really? Wait a minute…
Anyway, the complete and total media crush of Matt Cain and his history-making night is suffocating me, so I figured it would be a good idea to change the subject and focus on the only team that really matters.
Yes, I’m still talking about the Philadelphia Phillies.
Did you know the Phillies have thrown TWO perfect games? And did you know they’ve thrown an additional nine no-hitters? And did you see any mention of those contests on the media news broadcasts in the last 24 hours?
Of course not. People always ignore the cool stuff that happens in our lives.
Anyway, just as a reminder, let’s order all 11 no-hitters and perfect games in Phillies history from 11-1. Because really, what else are you going to do? Actually watch Phillies games?
11. Chick Fraser, 9/18/1903 – Surely we all remember where we were when Chick Fraser threw the third no-hitter in franchise history. Or, our great grandfathers all knew where they were when it happened. Probably off fighting a war against Mexico or something. Fraser beat the Chicago Cubs 10-0, the largest margin of victory in any of the Phils’ 11 no-hitters.
10. Red Donahue, 7/8/1898 – Red beat the Boston Beaneaters 5-0 for the first Phillies no-hitter at the Baker Bowl. Red pitched 13 years in Major League Baseball, winning 164 games with an ERA of 3.61, pitching for the Phils, New York Giants, St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Naps and Detroit Tigers. And no, I didnt make up any of those team names. To say Red’s no-hitter was a bit of a shock is probably an understatement, considering that the year before, in 1897, Red lost a league-leading 35 games. Of course, he made 42 starts that year and had 38 complete games, also leading the league, so perhaps had poor run support. Red also was the bat boy, general manager and head groundskeeper at the Baker Bowl, so his plate was full. Red actually had a good career with the Phils, going 72-48 in four seasons with a 3.26 ERA, and is regarded as one of the Top 25 starting pitchers in Phillies history. At least, that’s what some really old dude told me.
9. Johnny Lush, 5/1/1906 – Lush beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 6-0, becoming the first Phillies left-hander to throw a no-hitter in team history. Why does it matter if he was a left-hander? It really doesn’t. So stop bugging me. Lush won 18 games in 1906, the most in any season during his career, and posted a sterling 2.37 ERA. Of course, he only pitched 281 innings that year, so one could argue he was a bit of a nancy-boy.
8. Charles Ferguson, 8/29/1885 – Chuckie pitched from 1884-1887 and was the first person in Phillies history to throw a no-hitter. Of course, in 1885, baseballs were half the size they are now, batter were forced to close their eyes when they swung, and the mound was actually only about 20 feet away from the plate. So, there’s that.
7. Tommy Greene, 5/23/1991 – Finally, we get to some of the no-hitters we actually remember. Greene became the second Phillie in as many years to throw a no-no, this time against the Expos up in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, otherwise known as “The Death Cave.” Not many people remember that Greene just barely missed a perfect game that day. Were it not for the seven walks he issued, perfection would have been his. So close. As it was, Greene’s gem was a terrific moment in what was yet another dreadful season. Oh, and it was the first and only no-hitter thrown by a Phillies pitcher outside the United States. That’s a little Phillies Phun Phact phor ya.
6. Kevin Millwood, 4/27/2003 – This is the one that irks me the most. Here’s why, and I’ll warn you, it’s a personal anecdote that is most likely of no interest to you. It was a gorgeous April Sunday morning with absolutely perfect weather. I was sitting at home at around 11am, and started thinking to myself, “it’s a really nice day to go see a ballgame at the Vet. I wonder if any of my friends are around and want to go to the game.” So, I called up about seven or eight of my buddies, begging someone to go to the game with me. Everyone refused. So, I sat in my parents’ house and watched Kevin Millwood throw a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants, 1-0. And all I can remember is thinking to myself, “I should be at this freaking game.” Why didn’t I go by myself? What am I, the most pathetic person in the world? OK, don’t answer that.
5. Terry Mulholland, 8/15/1990 – Terry Mulholland’s masterpiece was the first truly exciting moment I experienced as a Phillies fan growing up. As Mulholland went for the last three outs, the crowd was going nuts, each pitch was super tense, and the stakes were high. And when Gary Carter lined out to Charlie Hayes, wrapping up a 6-0 win, I imagined that this is what playoff baseball must be like. This is what the rest of the world experiences. For one night, I knew what it felt like to be a baseball fan of a team that wasn’t putrid. Of course, that feeling lasted for exactly one day and didn’t resurface again until 1993. As Wheels always says “the lean years.”
4. Rick Wise, 6/23/1971 – I submit that this performance is the most complete game a baseball player has ever played. Rick Wise not only pitched a no-hitter against the Baby Big Red Machine, he also hit TWO home runs in the ballgame. Think about that again. A starting pitcher threw a no-hitter AND hit two home runs. I mean, the only other thing Wise could have done was make a diving catch in the outfield on a batted ball that he pitched. This is an incredibly underrated game in Phillies history and single-handedly landed the Phillies Steve Carlton as well.
3. Roy Halladay, 5/29/2010 – The first of Roy Halladay’s two no-hitters in 2010, Halladay threw his first career perfect game before a raucous Florida crowd of about 2000 people. Give or take a dozen. But Halladay was magnificent that night. And he had to be, because Florida’s Josh Johnson was also virtually unhittable, giving up only a single unearned run to the Phils. But it wasn’t enough, because Doc was ridiculous. Really, was there any ball hit that night that even remotely seemed like it was going to be a hit? The Marlins had no answer for Doc, and the Phils had the franchise’s second perfect game in its history.
2. Jim Bunning, 6/21/1964 – Father’s Day at Shea Stadium, and Bunning is on the money. The future senator and Hall of Famer blanked the Mets 6-0 to end the longest drought in franchise history between no-hitters. A little known fact about this game, is that it was just Game 1 of a doubleheader that Father’s Day. Me thinks Game 2 was a bit of a let-down after that.
1. Roy Halladay, 10/6/2010 – Doctober. Need I say more?
Hopefully, this has allowed us all to stop thinking about Matt Cain for five dang minutes. Unfortunately, it also made us think about better days, thereby making our present seem all the more bitter.