EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another in a series of Cubs spring training history articles I wrote when it appeared the lockout could cancel more spring games.
Now, of course, we have baseball — today! — but by gum, I wrote these so you’re going to get to read them, even on game days. This is the second of five Spring Training “Today in Cubs history” articles. Hope you enjoy.
There’s a terrific website called “No No-Hitters” which was originally started to keep track of the New York Mets’ lack of such games. Over time, and especially since the Mets’ first (and still only) no-no thrown by Johan Santana, the site has evolved to keep track of many things regarding no-hitters. One of those pages is a list of all spring training no-nos, now numbering 42 since the first recorded one in 1906.
Spring training no-hitters are rare, largely because there are so many different hitters and pitchers involved and at least in recent years, winning the game is secondary to working on various things to get ready for the season.
Of the 42 spring no-hitters listed on the site, the Cubs have been involved in only one.
It happened Monday, March 17, 1952 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, and the Cubs were no-hit by two New York Giants pitchers in a 10-0 rout. Irving Vaughan of the Tribune recapped the game this way:
The Cubs performed today as if they were in dire need of more spring training. Either that, or the sight of gentlemen attired in New York Giants baseball uniforms scared them stiff, just as the same sight did them last season. Either way, the Chicagoans not only took it on the chin, 10 to 0, but were unable to produce even one base hit in their nine round exhibition against the National league champions before 2,139 in Wrigley field.
Hitting against Jim Hearn and Monte Kennedy was just one of the things about which the Cubs appeared to be confused. They also perpetrated three errors, exclusive of a wild pitch and passed ball. And, by way of making it a complete flop, neither Bob Kelly nor Bob Rush could display either deception or control. Kelly was so wild that he walked six, the generosity causing him to be yanked in the fourth, whereas he was ticked for a five inning stint.
The reference to “last season” against the Giants, who as noted were defending league champions, was to the fact that the Cubs went 7-15 against them in 1951. Jim Hearn had a 13-year career for the Cardinals, Giants and Phillies from 1947-59 and, in fact, was a NL All-Star in 1952. Monte Kennedy (listed as Monty Kennedy in baseball-reference) pitched for the Giants from 1946-53.
The Cubs actually had a decent year in 1952, starting out 34-19 and finishing at .500 (77-77), their only non-losing season between 1947 and 1962. They were no-hit again in 1952, in a game that counted, by Carl Erskine of the Dodgers June 19 at Ebbets Field.
The spring training no-hitter by the two Giants hurlers happened 70 years ago today, March 17, 1952.