Just one season after the Major Leagues saw opponents no-hit each other when Gaylord Perry and Ray Washburn pulled off the trick during the “year of the pitcher”, the improbable happened when two pitchers managed to do the very same in 1969, Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Reds and Don Wilson of the Houston Astros.
Here’s a 1979 “Turn Back the Clock” celebrating that feat:
On April 30th,
Reds fireballer Jim Maloney pitched what was considered then his third
career no-hitter, beating the Astros 10-0 after striking out Doug Radar
for the last out & his 13th strikeout of the day.
This was an Astros team that had Joe Morgan and Jimmy Wynn in the
line-up, so it wasn’t exactly a piece of cake, though Maloney was
credited with facing only 26 official batters after the Reds pulled off a
double-play to erase of of five walks the hurler issued that game.
Now, years later in 1991 when baseball changed the rules, Maloney had
one of his no-hitter taken away when it was now not considered a no-no
if you eventually gave up a hit in extra-innings, which is exactly what
Maloney did against the Mets in June of 1965 when Johnny Lewis tagged
Maloney for a homer in the 11th inning of what was, up to that point, a
Nevertheless, Maloney went down in history as a two-time no-hit pitcher,
three if you want to count that Mets game, and wouldn’t you know it,
the very next day the Astros would send to the mound a guy who would
also end up with multiple no-hitters during his strong, though tragic
career, Don Wilson.
Facing a strong Reds line-up that included Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and
the eventual N.L. batting champ that season, Pete Rose, Wilson would fan
13 and walk six, but keep Cincinnati hitless for the no-hitter, and
baseball history in the Astros 4-0 win.
Wilson would also finish his career with two no-hitters, famously losing
a possible third when his manager, Preston Gomez, took him out for a
pinch-hitter on September 4th 1974 with the team trailing 2-1 to the
very same Reds, eventually losing the no-hitter and the game.
Sadly, however, just a few months later on January 5th 1975, Wilson was
found dead behind the wheel of his car in his garage, overcome by
exhaust fumes, which also tragically killed his five-year-old son who
was sleeping in a bedroom above the garage.