A’s No-Hitter History
When thinking of no-hitters in Oakland Athletics’ history, you can’t forget when the A’s were only in their fourth week of existence in Oakland and Jim ‘Catfish’ Hunter threw a perfect game on May 1968, the first regular season perfect game in 46 years.
Many will also recall the most recent no-hitter for the Athletics was when lefty Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a 4-0 A’s victory on Mother’s Day 2010. It was the 19th perfect game in Major League history and the first of two perfectos thrown that season.
Other prominent no-hit performances were the 1970 no-hitter by ace Vida Blue, who, during his rookie year at the age of 21 in only his fourth MLB start, only allowed one baserunner, a fourth inning walk to Harmon Killebrew. Another: Dave Stewart’s no-hit gem in 1990 in Toronto. Unfortunately, ‘Stew’ would have to share the limelight that day with the Dodger’s Fernando Valenzuela who tossed his own no-hitter in L.A. later that evening.
As the Athletics conclude a dismal 2015 season, this week marks the anniversary of two Oakland Athletics’ no-hitters that not many mention when discussing no-hit feats by A’s pitchers.
Forty years ago, in the final day of the season at the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 28, 1975, the play-off bound A’s, who had clinched their fifth straight Western Division Title, started ace Vida Blue against the beleaguered California Angels. The starting line-up for the last place Angels was filled with many September call-ups, and with no starter hitting above .285. Manager Alvin Dark, preparing for the upcoming ALCS against the Red Sox, kept Blue on a short leash that day.
After five innings of no-hit ball with the only baserunners coming via two walks and a Bert Campeneris error (one of which was erased in a first inning double play), Blue was removed for reliever Glenn Abbott who pitched a 1-2-3 sixth. Southpaw Paul Lindblad followed with his own 3-up, 3-down seventh before turning things over to fireman Rollie Fingers who contributed his own perfect eighth and ninth innings to close a 5-0 victory and the first four-pitcher combined no-hitter in MLB history. (Ironically, the second four-pitcher no-no was also at the Coliseum in May 1991 when the Baltimore Orioles used four pitchers to beat the Oakland Athletics)
September 29 will mark the 32nd anniversary of when, in 1983, then A’s rookie Mike Warren, who was called to the big club that July, waited until his last start of the season in game 159 to no-hit the Chicago White Sox. With the A’s 23 games out of first place and 13 games under .500, they were taking on the AL West first-place Chicago White Sox (who were managed by Tony La Russa). Warren, who would be out of baseball before the 1985 All-Star break, struck out five and walked three in a game where fewer than 10,000 fans were in attendance at the Coliseum.
The season may be all-but-over for the A’s, but history shows a reoccurring theme for Oakland’s pitchers giving fans something to watch as the Athletics close out their final week.