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A Game From Cubs History: June 3, 1971

Cubs lefthander Kenny Holtzman made some club history in Cincinnati on this date.

Courtesy Mike Bojanowski

Leo Durocher was entering his sixth year as Cubs manager in 1971. Think about that for a moment: besides Durocher, since Frank Chance (who managed the best seven years in team history), just one other man has managed the Cubs for at least six seasons. That's Charlie Grimm, who had three separate stints totaling nine full seasons and parts of five others. (Since Durocher, the longest Cub managerial career belongs to Jim Riggleman: five seasons.)

Durocher had been brought on board to win. He hadn't, and grumbling was beginning from players, fans and media about him. By August, there was full-fledged mutiny:

Before the game on August 23, 1971, Durocher was ripping Milt Pappas for making a bad pitch the night before, and Joe Pepitone came to his defense. Pappas and Holtzman also chimed in. Durocher responded by ripping everyone on the team, even the team captain Ron Santo. He called Santo a "malingerer" and said that Santo had insisted on a Ron Santo Day for himself, which led Santo call Durocher "a liar" and they almost got into a fist fight. Santo's teammates had to hold him back. (The Cubs lost 16 of their next 21 games after that -- Durocher had lost the team.)

Owner P.K. Wrigley took out a full page ad in all four Chicago papers supporting Durocher and blaming the team, and that only made matters worse.

Imagine the post and discussion here about something like that happening today! Before all that happened, though, Kenny Holtzman made some history for the Cubs June 3 in Cincinnati. George Langford's Tribune article has the details:

Ken Holtzman, relying almost exclusively on his fast ball the last five innings, became the first Chicago Cub pitcher in the modern history of the team to hurl two no-hit games when he stopped the Cincinnati Reds tonight, 1 to O. 

The 25 year old left hander, who produced a similar classic, Aug. 19, 1969 in Wrigley Field when he defeated the Atlanta Braves, 3 to O, permitted four base runners, all on walks, allowed two runners past first base, and retired the last 11 Reds in order.

Holtzman, who did not strike out a batter in his gem two years ago, fanned six tonight and after the game was presented a new contract by John Holland, the Cubs' vice president and general manager, calling for a $1,5OO raise.

"I feel about the same way I did after the first one," sighed Holtzman, who improved his record to 3-6. "I'm kind of in a state of shock and I'm tired."

A couple of notes about the quote from Langford. "Modern history" refers to post-1900 baseball; Larry Corcoran, a 19th-Century Cubs pitcher, threw three no-no's, in 1880, 1882 and 1884, when baseball had quite different conditions and rules than it does today. Also, you'll note that for the first time, the word "Field" is capitalized after "Wrigley"; Tribune style was beginning to change.

In addition to throwing the no-hitter, Holtzman also scored the only run in the 1-0 win when he reached base on an error, advanced to second on an infield out, and raced home on a single by Glenn Beckert. At 25, you'd have thought Holtzman had many more years to be successful for the Cubs, but he demanded a trade after the season (his worst as a Cub), and Holland accomodated him by sending him to the Oakland Athletics for Rick Monday. Monday had five good seasons as a Cub, but that deal helped the A's reach the World Series three straight years.

Such is Cubs history.

Here's the full 1971 scorecard image; as in 1968, the artwork includes some iconic imagery of Wrigley Field, this time the scoreboard and bleachers.