Phillies: Looking back at Rick Wise’s no-hitter 47 years ago

Exterior of Veterans Stadium (Doug Pensinger /Allsport)
Exterior of Veterans Stadium (Doug Pensinger /Allsport) /

One of the greatest feats in Phillies history happened today in 1971

There have been 13 no-hitters in Phillies franchise history, and while no one will forget the two no-hitters in 2010 by the late Roy Halladay, perhaps the greatest overall game by a pitcher in club history was the no-hitter by Rick Wise.

On June 23, 1971, Wise was dominant on the mound and supplied the bulk of the offense.

The 1971 Phillies were in the midst of a five-year stretch of futility, finishing last or next to last each season.  The accomplishment by Wise against the Reds, albeit having a subpar season, was remarkable.

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Cincinnati was one of the powerhouses in the league for many years. The “Big Red Machine” had a potent lineup featuring Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, George Foster and Tony Perez.

Wise, who was in seventh Major League season, all with the Phillies, was having the best of his career. Making his first All-Star appearance, Wise had a 17-14 record, 2.88 ERA, 17 complete games and four shutouts.

On that particular day in June, Wise had a game that others can only dream of. He allowed just one base runner, a walk to Dave Concepcion, while striking out three.

At the plate, Wise belted not one, but two home runs and drove in three of the four Phillies runs.

Wise was truly a one-man show on this historic day.

The last out would not be easy, facing perennial All-Star Pete Rose, who hit .304 that season for Cincinnati. In typical Rose fashion, he hit the ball on a line, but right at third baseman John Vukovich, and history was made.

Ironically, the strong pitching by Wise was instrumental in leading the Phillies to their glory days of the later 1970’s to early 1980’s. However, Wise was not a part of that success, as he was traded following the season to the Cardinals for Steve Carlton.  We all know the rest of the story, as Carlton and his four Cy Young Awards anchored the team that featured fellow Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, to their first World Series in 1980.

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Wise went on win 113 more games before retiring in 1982 with a career record of 188-181 with a 3.69 ERA. He will forever be remembered for one of the most remarkable single-game performances by a pitcher in baseball history.