EDITOR’S NOTE: I have written a number of articles about various events in Cubs history that can be updated and published whenever a Cub does something historic — a no-hitter, for example.
While baseball is on its mandated hiatus due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, I thought it would be fun to take a look at these slices of franchise history.
Yesterday, we took a look at the 15 no-hitters that have been thrown by Cubs pitchers. Today, here are the seven no-nos that have been thrown against the Cubs. That’s been a fairly rare event through baseball history; it’s happened just twice since 1965 and of the “Original 16” MLB franchises, only the Yankees have been no-hit fewer times (six).
September 18, 1903: Chick Fraser of the Phillies no-hits the Cubs 10-0 in the second game of a doubleheader at West Side Grounds. No boxscore link is available for this game, which came with just seven games left in a season where the Cubs went 82-56 and finished third. Fraser was a middling pitcher who went 12-17 with a 4.50 ERA that year. The kicker: In January 1907, the Cubs acquired Fraser from the Reds and he pitched (and pretty well) for both the Cubs World Series champion teams of 1907 and 1908 as a reliever/spot starter (though he didn’t pitch in either World Series).
June 13, 1905: Christy Mathewson of the Giants no-hits the Cubs 1-0 at the Polo Grounds in New York. Mathewson, who was one of the greatest pitchers of his time (if not of all time), didn’t walk anyone in this no-hitter. The Cubs had two baserunners, both of whom reached on errors. One was erased on a double play. The Cubs were 28-25 after that no-no and went 64-36 the rest of the way, finishing third behind the Giants and Pirates, and won consecutive pennants in the three seasons that followed.
May 2, 1917: Fred Toney of the Reds throws a 10-inning, 1-0 no-hitter against the Cubs at Wrigley Field (then called Weeghman Park). This is the famous “double no-hitter.” Jim “Hippo” Vaughn of the Cubs threw nine no-hit innings, but lost his no-no in the 10th when Larry Kopf singled. Two outs later, Jim Thorpe drove him in with the only run of the game. It would be the last no-hitter the Cubs would be involved in, for or against, for 35 years. Vaughn’s nine no-hit innings are no longer recognized by MLB as an official no-hitter.
June 19, 1952: Carl Erskine of the Dodgers no-hits the Cubs 5-0 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. The Cubs were actually decent this year, 77-77, the only non-losing year between 1946 and 1963, but on this day, starter Warren Hacker was knocked out in the second inning. That’s key because the man who relieved him, Willie Ramsdell, drew a walk in the third. He was the only Cubs baserunner. Ramsdell pitched in only 19 games for the Cubs that year, at age 36, and only eight more after this one.
August 19, 1965: Jim Maloney of the Reds no-hits the Cubs 1-0 at Wrigley Field in 10 innings. I’ve written about this game before, but the summary is: Maloney issued 10 walks, the most in any no-hitter, and yet the Cubs could not score. They hit into only one double play and left 10 men on base. Maloney’s no-no, the last at Wrigley by a visitor until Hamels, is also the last complete-game, 10-inning no-hitter. Incidentally, in the second game of that doubleheader, the Cubs came back from a 4-0, eighth-inning deficit to win on a two-run walkoff homer by Don Landrum. Billy Williams had hit a three-run homer in the eighth to pull the Cubs within one before Landrum’s blast.
Here’s the last out of Maloney’s no-no with WGN-TV’s Jack Brickhouse on the call:
September 9, 1965: Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers throws a 1-0 perfect game against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. You’ve all likely read a lot about this game; Cubs starter Bob Hendley gave the Dodgers only one hit, and this game stands as the lowest-combined-hits game in major-league history. And the run had nothing to do with the hit — the Dodgers scored in the fifth on a walk, a sacrifice bunt, a stolen base and a throwing error. Here is audio of the last inning of this game, called by the incomparable Vin Scully. Know why that exists? There was a 19-year-old Dodgers fan who had been stood up on a date that night, and instead stayed home to listen to the game on the radio (the Dodgers didn’t televise many games in that era). He decided to record the game on his then technologically-advanced open-reel tape recorder. That’s why we have this record of a perfect game from 50 years ago. And an even cooler fact about that story? That 19-year-old kid was David Smith — who now runs Retrosheet, the site dedicated to eventually getting a play-by-play record of every game in history. Lastly, Hendley was able to get a measure of revenge on Koufax. Five days later, the two pitchers matched up at Wrigley Field, and Hendley threw a four-hit complete game as the Cubs beat the Dodgers 2-1.
July 25, 2015: Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies no-hit the Cubs at Wrigley Field, snapping a streak of 7,920 consecutive games in which the Cubs had at least one hit, dating back to Koufax’ perfect game nearly 50 years earlier. It was just the third no-hitter thrown by a visiting pitcher at Wrigley Field, and the first since Maloney’s, also almost 50 years prior. It’s one of just 18 no-hitters in major-league history where a pitcher struck out 13 or more hitters, and one of just three against the Cubs where the score was larger than 1-0.
The Cubs nearly broke up Hamels’ no-no on the very last play. Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera stumbled while going after Kris Bryant’s long fly ball, which nearly dropped for a hit, but Herrera recovered to make the catch [VIDEO].