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It Was Fifty Years Ago Today: Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Saturday 5/15, 12:05 CT

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On May 13, 1960, the Cubs traded second baseman Tony Taylor and catcher Cal Neeman to the Phillies for first baseman Ed Bouchee and righthanded pitcher Don Cardwell.

When first announced, it seemed yet another unremarkable trade of the era. The "centerpiece" of the deal, such as he was, was Bouchee, who had hit 15 home runs in 1959 with an .824 OPS. By today's standards that OPS sounds just good, not great, but in 1959 it ranked 12th in the NL. As was typical of the early 1960's Cubs, Bouchee did so well with the team that he was let go in the 1961 expansion draft.

And then there was Cardwell, a 24-year-old righthander who threw hard and was viewed as someone with a good arm who had little success with some really bad Phillies teams. Two days after the deal, the Cubs started Cardwell in the second game of a doubleheader against the Cardinals.

And on that day, 50 years ago today, May 15, 1960, Cardwell threw a no-hitter. He became the first pitcher to do so in his debut for a team after a trade. He nearly threw a perfect game -- he issued a walk to Alex Grammas, the second hitter of the game, and that was the only baserunner he allowed. In the 9th inning, tiring, Cardwell gave up three long fly balls; the first one, hit by Carl Sawatski, was caught by George Altman against the RF wall. After another fly out, pinch-hitter Joe Cunningham hit a sinking line drive to left field. I'd have posted the YouTube video -- which was online a couple of years ago -- but MLB, in its infinite "wisdom", has had it pulled. I fail to see how posting a 50-year-old video is going to hurt MLB.

Anyway, as a result, all I can post is how Jack Brickhouse called the final out, caught by Cubs LF Walt "Moose" Moryn:

"Watch it now ... Hit on a line to left ... Come on, Moose! ... HE CAUGHT IT! Moryn made a fabulous catch! ... It's a no-hitter for Cardwell! ... What a catch that Moryn made, what a catch he made!"

We look back at the history of that era and see many no-hitters thrown by Cubs pitchers, but at the time it was only the third one in the history of Wrigley Field and only the second since the double no-hitter thrown by Fred Toney and Hippo Vaughn on May 2, 1917. It was a big deal -- and seen by 33,543. That doesn't seem like a huge crowd today, but in 1960 there were only three crowds the entire season over 30,000 at Wrigley.

In the 12 years from Cardwell's no-no through the end of 1972, four more no-hitters were thrown at Wrigley Field (by Jim Maloney, the last man to no-hit the Cubs at Wrigley on August 19, 1965; Ken Holtzman, Burt Hooton and Milt Pappas); Holtzman threw another one on the road, and Sandy Koufax threw his perfect game vs. the Cubs in Los Angeles. They seemed almost commonplace.

And then no Cub threw one until Carlos Zambrano's vs. the Astros in Milwaukee in 2008. Come to think of it, that's about the last time Z looked dominant.

Naturally, as happened with many Cub trades in that time, this one turned sour. Tony Taylor became a solid regular 2B for the Phillies for nearly a decade and had over 2000 career hits. Cardwell didn't throw well the rest of 1960 (7-14, 4.63 after the no-hitter), although he had a decent year in 1961. Two years later he was traded to the Cardinals in a deal that actually brought some value to the Cubs in Larry Jackson and Lindy McDaniel.

But there still hasn't been a no-hitter thrown by a Cub in Wrigley Field since Milt Pappas did it on September 2, 1972. There have already been two no-nos thrown this season. Who knows when it will happen again?

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
vs. Paul Maholm
Paul Maholm
2-3 W-L 2-3
3.44 ERA 4.61
46 SO 23
14 BB 19
6 HR 6
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

2010 - Ryan Dempster 2-3 8 7 0 0 0 0 49.2 39 19 19 6 14 46 3.44 1.07

2010 - Paul Maholm 2-3 7 7 0 0 0 0 41.0 45 25 21 6 19 23 4.61 1.56

Today features a pitching rematch of the game on May 4 in Pittsburgh, where Dempster threw well but Maholm threw better. Or, more accurately, the Cubs left about 400,000 runners on base. In reality, they left 12 runners on that night, but it seemed like 400,000. Over the last couple of years, Cubs hitters have generally hit Maholm hard; Dempster has had pretty good success against the Pirates. Enough of this losing already.

Today's game is on cable only, CSN Chicago and FSN Pittsburgh. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.

Tonight's first pitch thread will be up at noon pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 1, 2 and 2:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.