No Hits, No Jinx, No Humor, No Bobby

How many teams can see their ace carry a no-hitter into the 8th and still create a handful of controversies out of it?

Firstly, the question about pulling CC Sabathia out of the game at the end of the inning whether he had the no-hitter going or not, was academic. It assumes that with his rising pitch count, Sabathia was going to throw 10 to 25 more pitches without losing enough on them to give up a hit (which obviously he did anyway). Secondly, why on earth did Joe Girardi say anything about it – it had already happened and all he could possibly do was deflate Sabathia after a thrilling day and great game. Thirdly, no, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver did not cause Sabathia to lose the no-hitter by saying the word “no-hitter” 224 times. I have a tape of the famous 1969 Tom Seaver game where he lost a perfect game in the ninth courtesy an obscure Cubs’ utilityman named Jimmy Qualls. The Mets’ radio announcers meticulously avoided ever saying “no-hitter” – and he still lost it.
Remember my speculation last week that there was something wrong with the baseballs? The covers were too slick, or the stitches too high, or something that was causing pitchers and fielders to have trouble with gripping it, and led to them sailing it, sometimes as hilariously as Carlos Zambrano? Garrett Mock of the Nationals complained about it Friday night, and Mets’ scout Bob Melvin mentioned to me yesterday that he’d seen and heard about it too.
“In spite of the cover blurbs from well-known baseball personalities trumpeting how howlingly funny the book (The Bullpen Gospels) is,” writes Chaz Scoggins of the paper in Lowell, Mass., “I found it tolerably droll. ‘Ball Four,’ now that was hilarious.”
This must be taken in context. Years ago, Mr. Scoggins thought it would be really hilarious to invite me to host the annual Boston baseball writers’ dinner – without telling me that I was going to have to personally present an award to another baseball figure with whom I was having a very public feud (who, me?). This was a variation of the original plan in which I was to merely introduce whoever was to present the award. I found out as we all walked out to the dais. “Surprise!,” Scoggins said to me (conveniently the other figure skipped, possibly because he’d found out I was presenting). So, in short, Mr. Scoggins does not have an adult sense of humor.


Thought this might be a treat. Three seldom-seen items from the collection, pertaining to the soon-to-retire skipper of the Braves, dating from the opposite end of his career. In fact, they all are from a time before I knew Bob. We met in Spring Training of 1978 – if you can believe that – when I was the most fledgling reporter imaginable, and he gave me a very cordial and respectful interview even though I was, in short, a moron. This first image is from his two-year career in the Yankee infield, as the starting third baseman for much of 1968, and then as a utility guy in 1969. It’s an unused photo from the files of the Topps Company and is theirs, please, with copyright and everything. He’s younger, but you can see he already looks like the manager he was to become.
Below is a card from a beautiful set from Venezuela and the once dominant winter league there, in 1967-68. Kind of formal with the third baseman’s first name.
Coxy’s ascent to management was far more rapid in Venezuela than the U.S. By the winter of 1974-75, the card of Mr. Cox of the Lara Cardenales showed him as the manager. Maybe more importantly, it showed him as…Roberto?



    Hi Keith, I don’t know if my Mets vision is to blame, but looking at young Roberto gives me the willies. Oh, and thanks for unintentionally reminding me that my team hasn’t recorded a no hitter yet. Ugh! Ray


    Ray – don’t feel bad, I’m a Padres fan – no cycle & no no hitters there either.

    Keith, just finished reading Bullpen Gospels and wrote my review here:

    Thank you so much for the recommendation!! Best book I’ve read all year and I honestly don’t know how anything can top it for awhile. If that guy didn’t laugh then he is seriously missing a funny bone for sure! And I’m a girl so some of that humor could have been…well…a little under my radar eh? But it was so well written that there was no way to NOT giggle while picturing the conversations and antics. And then he would make me cry. Argh! I love books that leave me feeling highs and lows like that.

  3. hartbreak

    I’m so glad to see someone with authority on the sport defend Joe Buck et al for supposedly ruining a no-hitter. It would’ve been cool if he’d pulled it off, though.

  4. pepefreeus

    Pete Van Wieren conducted a career-long crusade against that particular superstition, with frequently hilarious results.

    The whole thing reminds me (just a little) of the stoning scene in “Holy Grail.”


    Keith, every time you blog about Dirk Hayhurst’s The Bullpen Gospels, I feel downright queasy that I don’t have a copy of it my hot little hand, as yet. Never fear, I will tame a copy of that book and read it from cover to cover.
    How could I not? According to the raves, I’m fully expecting to cry over it until the printing on some of the pages is illegible, and in other parts, I’m expecting to laugh until I cry (again) Let’s see. :O
    Having read the user comments on, there is no way I’m going to miss out on the octopus-copping-bagpipe episode, which left one Amazon reviewer laughing so hard he was barely able to catch his breath. Is there any better recommendation than that?
    Well, yes, there is. I greatly look forward to Hayhurst’s much trumpeted ?gifted? writing as a diarist, having been a diarist myself for more years than I’d care to remember.
    As far as Chaz Scoggins’ seemingly humor-challenged review . . . boys sometimes stay boys.


    Keith, this is one of my favorite posts of yours. I found all four sections to be very interesting.
    Umm…..the Scoggins thing……lol…..people are strange. Made me think of Seinfeld….and just things I’ve frequently witnessed in life…..and things that have happened to me.
    Anyway, LOVED this post.


    Mock Court and T. Rex…

    Obviously these two phenomena are related. Those round leathery objects aren’t baseballs…they’re eggs.

    That creature in the photo has simply adapted to her man-made environment, and found a cunning method to disperse her offspring. With any luck, some of those “balls” will be given a place of honor in warm, cozy homes. Unwitting fans (who foolishly scrambled to catch a fly ball) won’t realize what a horrible mistake they’ve made until the household pets start to disappear.


    That creature in the photo has simply adapted to her man-made environment, and found a cunning method to disperse her offspring. With any luck, some of those “balls” will be given a place of honor in warm, cozy homes. Unwitting fans (who foolishly scrambled to catch a fly ball) won’t realize what a horrible mistake they’ve made until the household pets start to disappear. Online nursing degree | master degree

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