Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday, April 23.
Though a full slate of games took place yesterday, I’m still marveling over the no-hitter thrown late Saturday night by the Athletics’ Sean Manaea (MaNyeYah) He didn’t just pitch a no-hitter, he no-hit the hottest offensive juggernaut presently prowling major league baseball. The Red Sox were 17–2 as Saturday night’s game began. As they left the San Francisco airport after yesterday’s game they were 17–4.
As the game began, more than 25,000 fans were on hand, and that in itself is unusual for the A’s. They have never drawn well. When Catfish Jim Hunter threw his perfect game on May 8, 1968, which was by the way their first year in the city and novelty alone should have aided attendance, barely 6,000 were there to witness the amazing event. The 25,000 saw Manaea walk just 2 with 10 strikeouts, firing a no-hitter at the Red Sox on a bare 108 pitches. Oddly enough, Manaea had been near the precipice once before. In the Cape Cod League, a summer league for college prospects, Manaea had a gem going through 8. Then the jinx got him. He heard somebody from the opposing dugout yell to one of his comrades “Go break up the no-hitter.” That was that, as Manaea told radio station 95.7 in Oakland following Saturday night’s no-hitter. He said within the next few pitches his Cape Cod league gem was broken up. The big one had got away, or so it seemed. The Red Sox’ Andrew Benintendi, who is as tough to retire as his name is to spell, almost got the better of Manaea leading off the sixth. He apparently beat out a slow Baltimore chop but on review the umpires determined he had left the base lines, and the no-hitter went on. It ended when the game ended, as A’s shortstop Marcus Semien fielded a grounder from Hanley Ramirez and tossed it to second for a force play. It was a no-hitter, making a round dozen for the Athletics’ franchise.
It’s a statistical oddity that only 5 no-hitters were thrown by Athletics pitchers while they pitched in Philadelphia between 1905 and 1954, while 7 have been tossed since the move to Oakland in 1968. None happened while the A’s languished in Kansas City. Some unknowns A’s have no-hitters to their names. Weldon Henley who pitched the first A’s no-hitter in 1905 and Mike Warren who fired a no-no for Oakland were unknowns. Bullet Joe Bush in 1916 became the first of 3 men who both fired no-hitters for Oakland and had classic nicknames-Bullet, Chief Bender and Jim Catfish Hunter. Dick Fowler and Bill McCahan, in 1945 and 1947 were pitchers whose names have not come down to us, but while Connie Mack wore his suit in the dugout those two obscurities pitched no-hitters for him. Another man with a no-hitter on his belt, Dave “Smoke” Stewart went on to a career as a pitching coach. Owing to injuries any pitcher may fall prey to, Dallas Braden who threw a perfect game for Oakland has never been heard of since. In one awful case, a man who climbed to the top twice with two no-hitters, Vida Blue by name crashed and burned in the underworld of drugs that are all too available for celebrities. The best of the A’s who pitched no-hitters are now in the Hall of Fame, namely Chief Bender and Catfish Hunter.
Unlike Rickey Henderson, Manaea is an unassuming fellow, just glad to be the man who has most recently pitched a no-hitter.0