Cubs pitchers who threw 'all-hitters'

The Athletic published a fun story last month what author Marc Craig called "all-hitters": games in which a starting pitcher allowed a hit to every batter he faced.

Craig said there have been 358 such starts since 1901, with the pitcher facing at least 4 batters in 227 of them.

The most batters faced is 7. The first to give up 7 consecutive hits was Bill Bonham of the Cubs, against the Phillies, on Aug. 5, 1975.

Just over 4 years later, on Sept. 2, 1979, Mike LaCross of the Reds matched Bonham's feat.

No pitcher has done it since.


Craig devoted only 4 sentences to Bonham's game, 2 of them an excerpt from the next day's Chicago Tribune.

He went on to list the 18 pitchers who pitched all-hitters AND no-hitters. They combined for 22 all-hitters, including 3 by Jesse Haines, in the early 1920s, and 2 each by Johnny Vander Meer, in 1949-50, and Milt Pappas, in 1965 and 1968.

Craig then told the saga of Jeremy Hefner, who gave up 6 straight hits in 2012 before walking the seventh batter.

It's a story well worth reading.

But I wanted to know more about Bonham's record-setting game, and about other Cubs who pitched all-hitters. One of them was Vander Meer's 1950 start.


41 OUT OF 907

I also decided to widen the scope to include relievers who allowed hits to every batter they faced, with a minimum of 4.

According to data at, the Cubs have had 41 all-hitters: 13 by starters and 28 by relievers. Each was by a different pitcher.

To put that in perspective, since 1901 the Cubs have used 907 pitchers, who have made 24,630 starts and 25,907 relief appearances.

So their all-hitters amount to 1 of every 1,895 starts, about once in 12 seasons, and 1 of every 896 relief appearances, about once in 5.5 seasons.



The first Cub to pitch an all-hitter was Zip Zabel, against the Phillies, on the sweltering afternoon of July 23, 1914, at the West Side Grounds in Chicago.

Cubs starter Larry Cheney allowed only 1 hit in 3 innings. During a 5-run bottom of third, Cheney singled and "was compelled to race around the bases," James Crusinberry wrote in the Chicago Tribune. "When he got home he was all in.

"The Cubs had the count in their favor, 8 to 0, then, and Young George Zabel was sent to the slab to begin the fourth.

"Magee led off with a single and Luderus drove one into the bleachers for a home run. Martin then singled and Dooin slammed a nasty hopper past Schulte for another home run.

"Four hits and four runs off Zabel before he had retired any one, was all [Manager Hank] O'Day would stand for, so Casey Hageman was summoned to the slab. He stuck to the finish and allowed only four more runs and never was in danger, because his mates were scoring with reckless abandon."

The Cubs won the game, 15-8, for their eighth straight victory.

Less than a year later, on June 17, 1915, Zabel would pitch 18.1 innings in relief against the Dodgers, still the longest outing by a non-starter in Major League history. In that game, he allowed 9 hits to 78 batters.



The Cubs' next all-hitter was their first by a starter. It came on June 10, 1922, when Tony Kaufmann faced the Robins, today's Dodgers, at Brooklyn.

Kaufman, in his first full season, began the day 0-2 with a 5.11 ERA. Four batters later, he was on his way to begin 0-3, 6.20.

The first batter singled. So did the next, putting runners on the corners. A balk scored a run and left a man on second. He advanced to third on a single, then a fourth single drove in another run.


That was the end of the line for Kaufman. His replacement, Tiny Osborne, got 3 straight fly balls, the first of which made the score 3-0.

Osborne eventually yielded 5 runs, on 5 hits, in 3.1 innings, then Buck Freeman allowed 5 more, on 15 hits, in 4.2, as the Cubs lost, 13-0.

"The three Cub pitchers . . . looked like the greenest of semi-pros," the Tribune declared. "The Cubs didn't really have a chance, but doddered along in a half hearted way, and it seemed as if their sole hope was to get the battle over."


Kaufman finished the season 7-13, 4.06, with 4 complete games. In 2 of them, he gave up 4 hits, as many as in his all-hitter; 1 of the 2 was a shutout.

Over the next 5 seasons, he was 55-44, He was 52-41, 3.81, before being traded to the Phillies.



Barely 2 months after Kaufman's all-hitter, on Aug. 23, 1922, Percy Jones followed suit. He also did it against the Robins, but at Chicago.

He was the first Cubs starter to surrender 5 straight hits. As with Kaufman, all were singles, with the third scoring a run and the fifth scoring 2.

After Jones departed, he was charged with a fourth run when a runner stole home on a 2-out double steal. The Cubs went on to lose, 6-0.


Three starters permitted 5 hits to 5 batters over the next 3 decades: Charlie Root, in 1930; Vern Olsen, in 1942; and Bob Rush, in 1951.

Five more were 4 for 4: Claude Passeau, in 1941; Hi Bithorn, in 1943; Bob Chipman and Warren Hacker, both in 1948; and Johnny Vander Meer, in 1950.

Between 1931 and 1967, there were all-hitters by 14 relievers, each of whom allowed 4 straight hits.


On Aug. 18, 1970, Roberto Rodriguez became the first reliever to give up 5 hits.

During the sixth inning of a game at home against the Padres, Rodriguez nearly pitched for a cycle: triple, RBI single, 2 more singles and a grand slam that made the score 11-1.

Dave LaRoche and Bob Locker matched Rodriguez's futility in 1973, 22 days apart. LaRoche was ripped for 3 singles, a double and a single on June 15 at Atlanta; Locker, for 5 straight singles, on July 7, at San Diego.



Locker did not retire a batter, but managed to get 2 outs.

The leadoff batter of the inning singled, then was caught stealing. The fourth single, with runners on first and third, was misplayed by the center fielder. The runner from first tried to score and was thrown out at home.


Four other Cubs got 1 out in their all-hitters.

Vern Olsen, in his 1942 start, yielded 5 singles in a row. On the last, a runner was thrown out at third. (Olsen's replacement gave up a single and home run to the first 2 hitters he faced!)

Barney Schultz, relieving in 1963, gave up a leadoff single that the batter tried to stretch into a double, but was tagged out. Back-to-back home runs and a single followed.

Wayne Schurr, in 1964, entered with the bases loaded and 2 out. He surrendered 4 singles, which scored 5 runs. A runner was thrown out at third on the final hit.

Jeff Fassero, in 2002, was battered for a single, double, single, double and single. A tag at third ended the bombardment.



On Sept. 23, 1973, Rick Reuschel posted the first all-hitter by a Cubs starter since 1951, serving up 4 consecutive singles at Philadelphia.

The following spring, on April 29, Burt Hooton gave up 5 in a row, in relief. Hooton had thrown a no-hitter a little more than 2 years earlier, on April 16, 1972. This time, he allowed a single, 2-run homer, single, single and RBI double. The 2 runners on base when he was lifted ultimately scored, too.

Hooton's was the Cubs' 30th all-hitter. All paled in comparison to the 31st, Bill Bonham's unprecedented, still unsurpassed performance at Philadelphia on Aug. 5, 1975.



"If Bill Bonham didn't set a major league record here Tuesday night," Richard Dozer wrote in the Tribune, "it was only because they don't keep tabs on such things.

"If they did, the record would be safely his -- at least until another Cub pitcher might challenge it.

"Bonham surrendered seven consecutive hits in Philadelphia's first turn at bat. The deluge equaled 15 total bases without anyone being retired.

"Bonham faced seven men simply because Manager Jim Marshall has no relief pitchers he cares to utilize."


Dave Cash began the assault with a single.

Larry Bowa singled Cash to third.

Garry Maddox slammed a 3-run homer.

Greg Luzinski singled.

Jay Johnston doubled, Luzinski stopping at third.

Tom Hutton singled, scoring both runners.

Mike Schmidt homered.


Seven batters: 2 homers, 2 doubles and 3 singles, with all 7 scoring.

"Finally, there was no recourse but to tap rookie Ken Crosby for his first major league appearance," Dozer wrote. "And this young man, who has surfaced with the Cubs at age 27 after failing with the Yankees and Cardinals, was ground up in the same Philadelphia mixer.

"Crosby yielded the last three runs of the 10-run first: three singles, three walks and a balk. That, of course, was the ball game, and all that was left was the necessity of seven and a half innings more to an embarrassing 13-5 rout of the dreadfully unbalanced Cubs."



In the 46 years since Bonham's disaster, only 1 Cubs starter has pitched an all-hitter while facing at least 4 batters.

On May 28, 2010, Randy Wells started at home against the Cardinals. He departed after yielding a single, a double, a 2-run single, another single, an RBI singles and a 2-run double -- 6 straight hits, after which he was removed, 1 batter short of tying Bonham's dubious record.


About 2 months later, on July 30, at Colorado, reliever Andrew Cashner gave up 6 in a row, too.

He took over in the eighth inning after the Rockies had scored 4 runs off Sean Marshall, all after 2 were out, with the last 3 batters smacking an RBI single, an RBI double and a 2-run double.

The first 4 hitters against Cashner went RBI triple, 2-run homer, single and RBI double. The fifth clubbed a 2-run homer; the sixth, a single.

Brian Schlitter then replaced Cashner and gave up a single and a 2-run double, making it 11 consecutive Rockies with hits! Schlitter ended the streak by issuing a walk, then another, before getting a fly out to conclude a 12-run onslaught.



Shawn Camp is the only Cubs reliever to give up 7 hits in a row. He did it on Aug. 1, 2012.

The Cubs trailed the Pirates by only 2-1 and had just stranded a runner on third when Camp began the eighth inning.

A single, a double and a single produced 2 runs. Another single set the stage for a 3-run homer. A fourth single followed, then a fifth, tying the record of 7 uninterrupted hits.

Camp was not given the opportunity to make it 8.



That remained the last game in which any Cubs pitcher fashioned an all-hitter for more than 9 years, until Sept. 25 of this year.

Codi Heuer turned a 4-2 lead over the Cardinals in the top of the eight into a 4-4 tie when he yielded a double, a single and back-to-back RBI singles. After he was removed, a sacrifice fly put St. Louis ahead, 5-4, and the Cubs wound up losing, 8-5.



7 hits: Bill Bonham

6 hits: Randy Wells

5 hits: Percy Jones, Vern Olsen, Charlie Root, Bob Rush

4 hits: Hi Bithorn, Bob Chipman, Warren Hacker, Tony Kaufmann, Claude Passeau, Rick Reuschel, Johnny Vander Meer



7 hits: Shawn Camp

6 hits: Andrew Cashner

5 hits: Jeff Fassero, Burt Hooton, Dave LaRoche, Bob Locker, Roberto Rodriguez

4 hits: Hal Carlson, Juan Cruz, Vern Fear, Kevin Foster, Chuck Hartenstein, Codi Heuer, Dan Larson, Bill Lee, Dutch Leonard, Gene Lillard, Jakie May, Lindy McDaniel, Jeff Pico, Clyde Shoun, Barney Schultz, Wayne Schurr, Sterling Slaughter, Bud Tinning, Hy Vandenberg, Michael Wuertz, Zip Zabel

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